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Christian Pollard (King's) talks about 4th year

A day in the life

Christian Pollard (King's) talks about 4th year


I’ve always been an environmentalist – when I was a kid, The Lorax was my favourite Dr. Seuss story.


Combining journalism and sustainability

Toronto-native Christian Pollard says his appreciation for the environment goes back to grade school. “I remember going on earth walks and having ‘wasteless’ lunches – things like that.”

When it came time to decide what to study in university, however, Christian's first choice was journalism. Then, browsing Dal’s academic calendar, he spotted a course called Environmental Problem Solving: “The name caught my eye. Then I realized there was a whole major, and it all just fell into place.”

“I’ve taken some really interesting courses,” he says, noting that many, from Philosophy to Contemporary Studies, “fit well” into the themes and subjects presented in ESS classes.

This only underscores the necessity of taking an interdisciplinary approach: “It’s important that moving forward, sustainability is something we’re working on together,” says Christian.

The SUST 2001 course provided an opportunity to do hands-on group work, as students participated in a simulated UN-style negotiation.  

“It was very fun and engaging,” he says. “It gave a lot of insight into why it’s so hard to draft international, or national or local policy, when you have so many conflicting stakeholders. Doing something through practice is so much more powerful than being told about it.”

Now that he’s in fourth year, his course load is “entirely journalism.” But that doesn’t mean he’s left “sust” behind: “Almost all the stories I’m doing are sustainability focused,” he says. “I believe that quality environmental coverage is crucial … and I have faith in journalism’s ability to make tangible change.”

Reporting on sustainability issues

Sustainability issues, he says, are “so important and so complex. And sustainability is almost the perfect journalistic task – there are so many conflicting stakeholders, so many conflicting viewpoints, it can be hard to know who to trust. So, I think the two subjects fit really well together.”

Christian has done stories on topics as diverse as If You Build It, a local group interested in solar power; Nova Scotia’s Community Feed-in Tariff program (COMFIT); and cuts to research programs investigating climate change. “Things like that are important and interesting. It’s good to get practice explaining them.”

All this practice will come in handy as he starts his career: “I’m going to Washington, D.C., to work for Jeremy Rifkin,” Christian says.

After reading Rifkin’s book, The Third Industrial Revolution, Christian contacted him and ended up doing an internship with him in summer 2012. “They want to hire me back,” he says.

“I get to step into his office and apply what I learned from both sides of my degree. It’s exciting,” he adds.

Though taking the job means sacrificing previous travel plans, Christian says, “I get to immediately apply my university education to the real world. I don’t have to wander around wondering what to do with all these things I’ve learned.”