“I was on Lantau Island in Hong Kong,” she explains. “We went out to the beach and you couldn’t walk without wearing shoes because there was so much debris from the ocean. There were a lot of dead fish, as well, and it solidified why I wanted to study sustainability. You may not want to recycle that bottle, but if everyone has that same philosophy, it impacts our world.”
Sarah had traveled more than 7,500 miles to participate in ASU’s urban sustainability initiative abroad, part of the Global Sustainability Studies Program.
Through a combination of lectures from industry experts and field trips that included visits to major landfills, students who participated in the rigorous two-week program had the opportunity to witness firsthand the serious sustainability issues facing such a large city. With a population of more than 7 million people packed into an area of roughly 420 square miles, such issues can be severe.
“It’s amazing to think that 17,000 people live per square mile,” Sarah says. “Everything is vertical, and almost everyone lives in the sky. With the way our population is increasing, that’s the way we’re headed.”