Words by Kendrix Murray, young IB student and IBWSC attendee

A word to describe my experience at the IBWSC at UBC? Perfect.

The International Baccalaureate World Student Conference is a conference that brings all IB or soon-to-be IB students from around the world in a single place whereby they are engaged in discussions, activities and interactions which share a common theme. This year, the IBWSC is held in the University of British Columbia, Vancouver BC, and it revolves around the theme of sustainability.

I think the choice of the location is fitting to the theme as UBC is one of the greenest places in Canada and it has one of the greenest buildings in North America; the Centre for Interactive Research (CIRS) building. The amount of research and development which gives rise to the CIRS building must be staggering. It is truly a magnificent piece of architecture.

CIRS building: The only building in UBC that is capable of sustaining itself and the adjacent buildings around it.

One thing that stands out to me during this conference is the talk about self-sustainability, presented by James Tansey – a professor at UBC. I have always thought that sustainability applies to the bigger picture like the environment and the economy, but never have I ever thought that all those begin with self-sustainability. If you can’t sustain yourself, how do you sustain the environment? It was very inspiring and to a certain extent, life-changing. I have always believed that our environment, or rather our ecological system, requires saving but I never know how I to begin or where do I play a part in it. I have never put myself into the perspective that I can bring about change because I have never seen myself in that perspective before. It has always been unimaginable.

Now, it is different. I finally know where to begin. I know how I fit into this grand picture. I know how I can bring about change. Right after the conference, I was so inspired that I drafted a vision of change in my mind and was ready to implement it in the comforts of my home. I want to be the starting point that brings about a ripple of change that inspires the people around me to open their eyes and see that our beloved system is dying. We should all act now or perish together with the environment.

Sam Harrison is a 16-year-old youth activist who is one of the speakers during the conference. He says, “From the way I see it, there are only two options of the future. Either that my kids will thank me for the resources that we will continuously have in the future or that they will hate me for destroying their future for them and I rather choose the former.” I believe that the future that Sam talks about – where his kids will love him for his actions – is possible but it must begin with self-sustainability within everybody. When that happens, we will have a future worth fighting for.

Us with Oxford Study Courses’ Jeni Williams, the person that made all of this possible.