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Sustainable Nation

The Sustainable Nation Podcast delivers interviews with global leaders in sustainability and regenerative development three times a week. Our goal is to provide sustainability professionals, business leaders, academics and anyone interested in joining the sustainability revolution, with information and insights from the world's most inspiring change-makers.

Nov 12, 2019

As UT Arlington's first Chief Sustainability Officer, Meghna works collaboratively to foster partnerships among academic, research, and operational departments at UT Arlington. She leads institutional sustainability efforts in support of the UT Arlington 2020 Strategic Plan- Bold Solutions | Global Impact that is enabling a sustainable megacity that centers on four themes: health and the human condition, sustainable urban communities, global environmental impact and data-driven discovery.

She also works to address opportunities to promote sustainability in several areas energy efficiency, resource conservation, waste management, transportation, education, outreach, community engagement, supporting and encouraging student initiatives, and implementing an interdisciplinary and sustainability-focused curriculum. She also teaches courses related to Sustainability to graduate and undergraduate students at UTA.

She has spearheaded launching a Regional Center of Expertise for Education in Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in North Texas, a program of the United Nations University, and the Institute for Sustainability and Global Impact at UT Arlington. 

Meghna Joins Sustainable Nation to Discuss:

  • How academic/educational institutions can work towards advancing the UN Sustainable Development Goals
  • Approaches to engaging with youth and students to educate and create awareness about sustainability
  • Importance of food sustainability programs and initiatives
  • Examples of public-private partnerships with UT Arlington
  • Advice and recommendations for sustainability leaders

Meghna's Final Five Question Responses

What is one piece of advice you would give other sustainability professionals that might help them in their careers?

I believe that sustainability is a word of the young generation because they are going to live in this world. What we do now matters to them, so I realized that in order to communicate with the students on campus, or other sustainability folks, you really have to be true to yourself. That authenticity in communicating your vision and values is important in showing these people that you really do care and are not doing this just because it's your job. Sometimes I think that blending those values with the unique goals and ambitions that you have, and even qualities like empathy, can be very motivating to others. I believe that leadership for a sustainability professional should live at the intersection of that spark and your values. You have to be true to yourself and you have to believe in what you're doing to make that connection with others.

What are you most excited about right now in the world of sustainability?

Probably the UN SDG's are something that I'm really excited about because they were adopted in 2015 and the last four years I have seen how people are passionate. Of course, it has its own challenges and disadvantages and there's always something to criticize. But I do believe that they offer this global framework for people to pursue their sustainability goals. They give guidance in terms of the indicators on the goals the United Nations have put forward. It could be your small office, your small campus, small city or even on a regional scale. I feel they are amazing and I think everybody should start adapting them and using them for their sustainability initiatives and program because they have such global implications.

What is one book you would recommend sustainability leaders read?

I don't know how much time you have to read, but I don't get to read much. But I listen to a lot of podcasts. I'm an avid podcast listener and one of my favorites is called How I Built This. The host talks to these founders of amazing companies on how the company came about. A couple of months ago, I listened to this podcast by Alice Waters who, in 1960, went to France and learned all about food sustainability and how healthy food choices affect you personally and professionally. She came back to Berkely and started this amazing restaurant. Her story resonates with me because I focus on food sustainability and give it a lot of importance. Listening to her story about her struggles of launching a restaurant in Berkeley in 1971 where she was using locally sourced, organically grown food to come up with the restaurant menu options was just amazing. I would highly recommend listening to that podcast on NPR.

What are some of your favorite resources or tools that really help you in your work?

I go to the AASHE website a lot. All universities that are AASHE members have access to the portal. So every time you are trying to implement a project or have some information that you want to share, or you need some information to help out with whatever it is you're doing, I always go to the AASHE portal to check out the information that others have shared. I really like the SDG Explorer, which is a tool for implementing SDG's in operations. I think on campus you do have to interact with students in a language that they understand, so a lot of newsletters, social media and trying to engage with them on a personal level. Those tools have been very useful to me.

Where can people go to learn more about you and the work you're leading at UTA.

We have a very good, robust website at: We post all the information on all our projects. People can go there or they can email me at They can follow me on Twitter at @meghnatare.

About Sustridge

Sustridge is a sustainability consulting firm providing consulting in sustainability strategy development, sustainability reporting, GHG emissions calculating and management, zero waste planning and guidance in TRUE Zero Waste, B Corp, LEED and Carbon Neutral certification.