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#CabotNext10 Spotlight on Environmental Change

 

Dr Alix Dietzel

In conversation with Dr Alix Dietzel, co-theme lead at the Cabot Institute

Why did you choose to become a theme leader at Cabot Institute?

It is important to me to have diverse voices within the Cabot Institute, which has typically been focused around the work of scientists. It has become increasingly clear that although the science around environmental change is definitive, policy makers are not taking radical enough action. Social scientists and those from the Arts faculty specialise in areas like justice, policy making, social change, creative engagement, and history of activism.

These areas are critical for tackling environmental change – and it is my mission to ensure their voices are heard. I have already invited three more people from these disciplines onto the steering group.

I am also keen to work with the city of Bristol - for the Cabot Institute to have a role to play in local environmental policy making, but also to elevate the voices of those most vulnerable to environmental change in our city. We hold a lot of power in the institute, and we need to use this for good, helping those with less power be heard and seen. Their lived experience is important to me, and I aim to ensure we pursue a just transition that is socially inclusive for all in the city of Bristol.

In your opinion, what is one of the biggest global challenges associated with your theme? (Feel free to name others if there is more than one)

Climate change, biodiversity, just transition.

As we are looking into the future, what longer term projects are there in your theme?

We have over 200 members working in various areas, but we all share a common goal – to influence policy makers to make the right decisions and protect vulnerable populations across the globe.

Across the portfolio of projects in your theme, what type of institutions are you working with? (For example, governments, NGO’s)

A mix – local and national governments, the MET office, NGOs, etc.

Please can you give some examples and state the relevant project.

I am currently working on research on a just transition in Bristol, working together with the Bristol Advisory Committee on Climate Change, the One City Boards, the Mayor, the Bristol City Council and community groups including Livable Neighborhoods and the Black and Green Ambassadors.

What disciplines are currently represented within your theme?

We are very diverse! A heavy STEM population but with many social scientists and artists beginning to come along as well.

In your opinion, why is it important to highlight interdisciplinary research both in general and here at Bristol?

Because we cannot solve complex environmental problems from one perspective alone – these are issues that will need insight from many different disciplines. In addition, we thrive when we work together, inspiring one another to leave our comfort zones and try something new.

Are there any projects which are currently underway in your theme which are interdisciplinary that you believe should be highlighted in this campaign?

Waves of change.

Is there anything else you would like to mention about your theme, interdisciplinary research and working as part of Cabot Institute?

We are keen to influence policy at the University, city level, and globally – so please come and speak to our experts if we can help!

For more information, visit Environmental Change.

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