Green.Org sat down with Rebecca Bristow, Ecological Surveyor and PhD student, to chat about her goals for a sustainable future.
Tell us a little bit about your background.
I’m obsessed with all things natural (especially if they crept, crawled or swam) I grew up respecting and enjoying my relationship with the natural world. I ended up doing a BSc in Environmental Science, and an MSc in Sustainability, Entrepreneurship, and Design. I am now about halfway through a Ph.D. in business and marketing (looking at consumer perceptions of fine jewellery and sustainable alternatives). I have worked in waste management, field-based ecology, and multiple laboratories over the years, but my favourite type of work is definitely teaching. I teach my own Sustainability, Business, and Environmental Science courses with The Brilliant Club during Kings College University Summer Schools (K+ programme) and tutor A-Level students in sustainability throughout the year who may not have had a consistent engagement with education.
What would you do with $1 billion dollars?
I would create a ‘pick and mix’ sustainability start-up programme that had options that could be applied all over the world. Sustainable business options for all climates, social structures, cultures, and land types are backed by funding to start implementing them. If communities can start satisfying human needs by incorporating and improving the environment around them, then I think we might still have a shot at turning climate change around—or at least find a way to survive what we’ve done so far. Also, maybe buy a white German shepherd called Calypso…..
Why do you think sustainability is such an important topic today?
It’s so important because, whether we like to acknowledge it or not, it is already changing our world. The effects we’re seeing today are like a delayed consequence of what has already been thrown into (and extracted from) our atmosphere, our water, and our soils. We aren’t changing business quickly enough, in my opinion, and people suffer all over the world from issues that can be alleviated by a better relationship with nature. So that’s another reason why I love teaching. Hopefully, if we start teaching children about sustainability and circular processes, we can inspire the next generation of business leaders.
What do you envision your industry looking like in ten years?
At this point, it’s hard to tell. We have a huge issue with AI and how that will impact us. Plus, the issue of population growth and political instabilities will have an effect. How the world works together for the greater good is, at the moment, questionable. Another reason sustainability is so important is because it would bring some stability to such an unpredictable future!