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Event: Green Futures Conference Day 2

12 June 2021 | 10.00-15.00

Published May 5, 2021

The University of Exeter is home to a wide range of environment, climate and sustainability experts working on solutions to address the environment and climate emergency.

Listen and engage with world-leading researchers and teachers as they host a series of talks and conversations about how we can build a fairer, greener future.

Speakers include our top UK climate scientists and topics such as building a circular economy, the role of space in supporting environmental intelligence, creating positive tipping points and food security.

G7 policy priorities linked to the day include: Tackling climate change and preserving the planet’s biodiversity and Promoting future prosperity by championing free and fair trade.

Watch a live stream of the event


10.00 - 10.05 Welcome to the Green Futures Conference
Professor Patrick Devine-Wright – Professor in Human Geography
10.05 - 10.30 Plenary - Creative tension in the environmental movement: Beyond the factions of deep and shallow ecology
Professor Clare Saunders - Professor in Politics
10.30 - 11.15 Plenary - Tackling climate change and preserving the planet's biodiversity
Professor Patrick Devine-Wright - Professor in Human Geography
Dr. Stacia Ryder, Research Fellow, Department of Geography
Doug Eltham, Environment and Sustainability Policy Officer, Devon County Council
Dr. Alice Moseley, Senior Lecturer in Politics
11.15 - 12.30 Special Interest Sessions - Choose your event

Option A

The Environment & Sustainability Institute (ESI)

The Environment and Sustainability Institute (ESI) is an interdisciplinary centre leading cutting-edge research into solutions to problems of environmental change. Based on the University’s Penryn Campus, in Cornwall, the world class research and education is enhancing people’s lives by improving their relationships with the environment and creating greener, fairer futures for communities in Cornwall and around the world.

Professor Jane Wills, Director of the Environment and Sustainability Institute and Professor of Geography.

Option B

Towards a Greener Future: Natural Capital and the Role of Rural Areas

Rural areas have a huge amount to contribute to the challenge of combatting climate change and creating a greener future. However currently, in policy terms rural locations are highlighted more for their amenity value than for the natural capital and sustainable resources that they have to contribute. This Institute of Cornish Studies / Environment and Sustainability Institute event aims to demonstrate how rural and peripheral areas can be at the leading edge of the move to more suitable lifestyles and practices.

  • Dr Joanie Willett – Co-Director Institute of Cornish Studies
  • Professor Jane Wills – Director Environment and Sustainability Institute
  • Nick Woolgrove – Britain’s Leading Edge and PhD Student
  • Tess – Britain’s Leading Edge
  • Eilish Calnan – Researcher, Institute of Cornish Studies
  • John Provo – Director, Centre for Economic and Community Engagement, Virginia Tech USA
  • Madeleine Eriksson – Associate Professor, Umea University, Sweden
  • Dona Picard – Rural Sociologist, Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, Institute of Philosphy and Sociology

Option C

Geo-resource solutions to global challenges

Achieving carbon targets will require rapid increase in the use of low-carbon energy technologies such as wind turbines, solar panels and electric vehicles. The volume of these technologies required will need huge quantities of metals, including some which have not previously been mined in significant quantities. Cornwall’s rocks are still home to potentially significant mineral wealth – lithium offers the greatest immediate prospects, but tungsten and remaining deposits of tin may also be economically worthwhile to extract. Other metals such as copper, zinc, lead, cobalt and indium are known to be present in the ground too, and may become viable if prices increase or mining technologies develop sufficiently.

Mining the resources needed for a sustainable future must be done in a socially and environmentally responsible way – minimising waste, maximising co-production of resources, and listening to communities to sensitively address tensions between economic and environmental priorities at the planning stage, among other considerations. Cornwall’s mining expertise and heritage positions it ideally to lead the way in this.

Option D

Arts Solutions to Planetary Problems: Poetry, Fiction and Criticism in an Age of Environmental Crisis

Arts and humanities researchers explore how artistic practice and research interacts with ecology and science to help to connect people with nature, and why the contribution of the arts and humanities is more vital now than ever as we face up to the climate and ecological crisis.

Chaired by Dr Kate Next Senior Lecturer in English, the discussion introduces projects by three Exeter academics:

  • Red River, an AHRC- funded project by Dr. John Wedgwood Clark, poet and Senior Lecturer in Creative Writing
  • Experiencing Air Quality in Performance by Dr. Chloe Preedy, Senior Lecturer in Shakespeare & Renaissance Literature.
  • Stepping Stories, a literary audiowalk project by Dr. Ellen Wiles, novelist and Lecturer in Creative Writing

12.30 - 12.35 Plenary - An Agenda for Resilient and Mobile Futures
Professor Neil Adger
Dr Maria Franco Gavonel - Research Associate
Dr Ricardo Safra De Campos - Lecturer in Human Geography
12.35 - 12.55 Plenary - The Glass Cliff - women appointed to precarious leadership positions
Professor Michelle Ryan - Professor of Social and Organisational Psychology
12.55 - 13.20 Plenary: Oceans and Human Health
Professor Lora Fleming
13.20 - 14.00 BREAK
14.00 - 15.30 Special interest sessions - choose your event

Option E

Solutions to benefit nature and human health

The European Centre for Environment and Human Health (ECEHH) is celebrating their Tenth Anniversary and a decade of discovery. The team will explore the mutual benefit of communities, environment and health coming together, identifying what decisions need to be made, and why this is important for local, national and international policy-making.

A panel discussion will look at 4 main themes:

  • Antimicrobial Resistance;
  • The importance of Blue and Green Spaces to Mental and Physical Health;
  • Healthy communities, looking at Sustainable Food Systems and Sensing the Environment;
  • The overarching issue, which influences every area, the impact of Environmental and Climate Change on our Health and Wellbeing.

Option F


Tevi supports businesses to be more efficient with their use of natural resources and minimise their waste and contribute to the transition towards a circular economy. Here they present two films on how growing the environment means growing the economy and why knowing more about the environment supports a more circular economy.

Option G

Youth Voice for Global Change, Emily Stevenson

Emily Stevenson, marine biologist and co-founder of Beach Guardian, shares her experience of working as part of the the inaugural Youth Forum for the official youth engagement group for the G7; the Youth 7 (Y7). Emily gives insight into some of the key areas of importance for young people across the globe, emphasising that it’s all our responsibility to empower young people to have a voice.

Option H

Net-Zero: A Reality Check

Dr James Dyke and Professor Steffen Boehm explore the world’s climate change strategy and the role of governments, businesses and citizens. They provide a reality check of the ‘net-zero’ pledges that have been being made by many countries and large organisations. If, as they argue, it is now unlikely that we are able to meet the 1.5 0C Paris Agreement target, what do we need to do in order to bring about radical reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, and what has the COVID-19 pandemic taught us about how this can be achieved?

Option I

Circular Food: Towards regenerative practices in the agri-food sector

Professors Steffen Boehm and Stefano Pascucci discuss ‘circular food’ and the urgent need to transition towards regenerative practices in the agri-food sector.