Ana Caterina Barbedo
After leaving EEB2, I studied Economics and Politics at the University of Warwick, followed by a Masters in Environmental Economics at the London School of Economics. My thesis interest was about justice and fairness in climate policies – more specifically, analysing the relationship between fuel poverty in the UK and household’s sensitivity to energy price changes.
I am currently working at Vivid Economics, a consultancy that advises governments, companies, and other institutions on complex policy questions. They work on issues in economics and development that are also in the public interest, and therefore have a strong environmental portfolio and perspective.
Since the Eco Group, I have participated in various environmental movements. I see greatest potential in mass mobilisation movements at ground level and in targeted movements aiming at changing party policy.
I hope to see the political willingness and courage needed to undertake bold and (occasionally) costly measures to tackle climate change and other pressing environmental issues. I believe there is a great need to identify and discuss the ways the cost of these policies may fall more heavily on marginalised groups in society, in order to ensure that the climate transition is fair.
Since leaving EEB2 I’ve become a graduate of the University of Manchester with a BSc in Geology with Planetary Science. This degree has taught me a lot about climate change – with modules in meteorology, atmospheric physics, earth resources, energy resources (including nuclear power, renewable energies, igneous petrology, etc.), and many more readily available.
Being repeatedly shown negatively trending graphs in each individual module demonstrated the abuse the planet has received in recent years on a global scale, and across its four interconnected spheres. In planetary science, this hasn’t gone unnoticed. Scientists have already started clearing space junk and have developed a planetary protection programme to ensure other planetary bodies don’t get damaged by our reckless behaviour.
Increasingly, newfound dire complications appear in all fields of Earth Science, and there will most likely be both a shortage of graduates and a sudden increase in demand in these fields. Making young people aware of climate change must be a priority, and we ought to get them engaged as soon as possible.
I am currently playing in a rock band called “Basic Human Instinct” and have been going around England doing gigs. However, I am now trying to find a new job and work part-time. Ultimately, my future career aim is to move into a role in environmental sciences, either completing a master’s degree or going into a fulltime job.
I graduated with an MEng in Civil Engineering at University College London this year (2019). My decision to study civil engineering was motivated by a desire to apply environmental issues in a practical way and I have focussed my studies as much as possible on sustainable engineering and green building practices.
I have also taken an interest in more radical alternative approaches to the built environment such as natural building, which I took a course and volunteered at a permaculture farm in rural Portugal and which I believe could be incorporated into mainstream projects.
The Eco Ethics program at EEBII was integral to inspiring this purpose and has served me well in gaining a broader understanding of the socio-political as well as the scientific context of the current environmental crisis.
I have recently been offered a job and so will be starting as a Sustainability Modeller/Analyst for Foster+Partners at the end of October 2019. I was going to pursue an MSc in Building and Urban Design in Development but I decided to take this opportunity instead, principally because of the strong environmental focus of the practice and their commitment to incorporating climate change objectives such as the Paris Agreement – which was the focus of our campaign while in the eco ethics program – in every project.
I would like eventually to do policy and developmental work such as environmental disaster relief but feel I should gain skills and experience in the workplace first in order to be able to contribute more meaningfully to these fields
I took a sabbatical year after I left school in which, amongst other things, I attended the COP21 conference in Paris as well as studying for three months at the International Peoples College in Helsingør, Denmark. In autumn 2016 I began my three-year undergraduate course at Sussex University in Brighton studying a joint honours in Human Geography and International Development. In 2019 I’ve embarked on a one-year Master of Science degree at the University of Oxford studying ‘Nature, Society and Environmental Governance’.
Since early 2017 I’ve worked closely with Plan B Earth – a legal charity focused on holding power to account for climate breakdown through the sharp edge of climate litigation and mobilisation. Working at the frontier of grassroots British climate litigation, I became a claimant in a lawsuit against the British government which attempted to compel it to rectify the UK’s Climate Change Act (CCA) to be commensurate with the objectives of the Paris Agreement. Our lawsuit played a significant role in compelling the British government to commit to the new 2050 CCA target.
My role in mobilising people around our lawsuits, meeting MPs, giving presentations at universities and speeches at public events earnt me the position of trustee to Plan B Earth. Our second lawsuit, which presents similar environmental claims in an attempt to prevent the expansion of Heathrow airport was initially unsuccessful. However, it has been granted appeal and will be heard at the Royal Courts of Justice in London during a week-long hearing in October 2019.
In 2017 I also founded and coordinated Climate Action Movement – a Sussex University society composed of weekly 1 ½ hour discussions, workshops and presentations on the theme of climate change and environmental degradation. Meetings bring together 30 to 40 students from Undergraduate to Masters to Ph.D. level.
Since leaving school, I achieved my bachelor’s degree in Philosophy at the University of Warwick, undertook funded academic research in Morocco and worked as a trainee in the European Commission DG for Climate Action. I have just started a masters in Political Science at Université Libre de Bruxelles.
Throughout my studies, I was loosely involved with grassroots environmental movements, including People & Planet’s Fossil Free campaign and Plan B’s legal action for judicial review of the UK’s inadequate climate change act. I wrote a few articles, co-organised some talks and participated in events and fundraisers – mostly with Ana Barbedo, another Eco Ethics’ alumni! I studied a philosophy and critical theory-based module called Climate Change and the Law in my final year. This reinvigorated my sense of urgency and motivation to contribute to the deep reform (dare I say revolution?) that I believe is necessary to prevent catastrophic global warming – a feeling that had been somewhat eroded by final year pressure to find a job and the lure of stable, corporate graduate schemes.
Working for the people who propose the EU’s climate policy was an exciting, enriching and sometimes frustrating experience. My main project concerned the importance of making the transition to a green economy just and fair, focusing on the social justice dimensions of climate change in a policy sphere that too often sacrifices the welfare of the most vulnerable people in favour of protecting corporate interests and economic growth. I hope the EU takes the concept of just transition more seriously in the future. I would also like to see: stricter, enforced and loophole-free demands on corporations to decarbonise; transparency regarding outsourcing to developing countries, fossil fuel subsidies and emissions counting; and environmental policies that have an equalising socio-economic effect on society and leave no one behind in the transition to carbon neutrality.
After leaving EEB2, I went on to study General Science at Trinity College Dublin and ended up specialising in Environmental Science in my last two years.
I am now doing a Masters in Science Communication at the University of Edinburgh and hope to move into a career focused on engaging the general public with the science they believe “isn’t for them”. I believe that clearing up misconceptions and addressing the issues that are keeping people from appreciating the urgency and the reality of climate change is vital, and making complicated science more accessible to the public is something I feel very passionate about.
I have taken part in a number of marches for science and against climate change since I left school, but the more I have talked to people about my studies, the more I have felt that it is the people who don’t engage with the fight against climate change that needs to be reached out to most, because by and large they don’t engage with it because they don’t understand it. Therefore talking to them, and having reasonable, non-antagonising discussions with them is incredibly rewarding. At the same time, there are many people who do engage with it to a certain extent, and who also have little conception of what actually needs to be done to address this gargantuan storm inching ever nearer.
The world is facing so many problems all at once, and it’s easy to see why it’s hard for people to focus all of their attention on this one issue of our changing climate, but I’m terrified of where we’ll be heading if we don’t start making the protection of the environment a primary focus as soon as possible, and so I’d like to play a small part in bringing it to the forefront of attention by finding new ways to force people to engage with it and really understand the severity of the situation we’re facing.
I graduated from the European School of Brussels in 2015. I then spent four years at the University of Surrey, studying International Business Management. This included a placement year, during which I had the chance to work for the Global mobile Suppliers Association (GSA) as an “Internet of Things” project coordinator. I also spent 6 months studying abroad at the University of Queensland, Australia.
During my time at university, I qualified as a gym instructor and personal trainer. In my final year, I was working part-time as a PT and teaching BodyPump and spin classes. I also became vegetarian and fell in love with cooking plant-based meals. I graduated with a First-Class Honours degree in July 2019 and am now working for the GSA foundation as an Insights Analyst in the Mobile for Development Utilities team. We work in partnership with DFID and USAID to invest in companies that provide innovative water, energy and sanitation solutions in emerging economies to achieve the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals 6 & 7.
I believe that humans have the ability to change and adopt sustainable behaviours that ensure the protection of this planet. They just have to find the will to do so. I have attempted to incorporate sustainable practices in my life by eating more plant-based meals, going to waste-free shops and farmers’ markets, and only buying clothes from charity shops. However, I am only little, and the world is in need of broader change and adaptation, or else we won’t live to see another tomorrow. I strongly believe that, along with a shift in thinking and social behaviours, technology is a key catalyser of sustainability, and this is why I invest my time working with innovative practices.
Since leaving EEB2, I have completed a Bachelor's Degree in Artificial Intelligence & Computer Science, and I am now studying for a Masters in Design Informatics at The University of Edinburgh.
I have been involved as a participant in the Edinburgh Future Institute's Utopia Lab pilot, which explores the definitions and roles of utopia, and I have spoken in various games-adjacent spaces about personal game development. My interest lies in decentralised, healthy technologies that enable communities by encouraging creativity, play, and experimentation. In my work, I wish to empower people to explore the ways we relate to the technologies we use. I am also interested in exploring visions of a sustainable future, and the steps we can take to get there.
I am looking forward to seeing the shift towards more socially conscious technology, where technologists are aware of their impact on society and the environment, and continuously strive to make this impact a positive one.
I was a member of the eco ethics group at EEB2 during the last two years of school. I thoroughly enjoyed the experience and relished the opportunity to learn more about climate change, engage in debates and question my own values and views as I feel that this is not encouraged and nurtured enough in the current education system.
After leaving EEB2 in 2015 I went on to do an integrated master’s in Neuroscience at the University of Manchester. My degree was great for so many reasons – I learned about the intricacies of brain diseases, I ran my own research project for 10 months looking at the effect of prenatal exposure to viruses on the neurodevelopment of offspring, and met loads of really inspiring people. It also allowed me to take optional modules that I could tailor to my interests – for example, I chose to do some optional modules related to climate change and biodiversity.
During my time at University, I became fascinated by science communication – by how we need transparent and accurate access to information and how currently there is a complete disconnect between scientists, journalists and the general public which leads to all sorts of problems in our society. This interest meant that I went on to work as a science tutor at schools in deprived areas of the UK, helped to organise science talks, wrote science articles for the student newspaper and worked part-time with the University’s press officer to increase engagement with current research.
I graduated in 2019 and have just started a job as a Medical Writer at a medical communications company in London. I’m interested in pursuing careers in science journalism, communications, public health, and policy. I still follow climate science, attend talks and have been to an Extinction Rebellion march. Being part of the eco group not only increased my understanding and interest in climate change but also helped me to form opinions, speak my mind and highlighted the importance of science communication in a time of misinformation.