Welcome to the blog of the Department of Environmental and Geographical Sciences at the University of Northampton. This will keep you up to date with both student and staff activities.

The Department of Environmental and Geographical Sciences includes staff with interests in biological sciences, conservation, ecology, environmental sciences, environmental statistics, geography and waste management. We offer a range of degree programmes and have a number of postgraduate research students. For more information about studying with us please visit http://www.northampton.ac.uk/.

Monday, 21 July 2014

School of Science and Technology attend Prestige lecture given by Dame Ellen MacArthur

Dr Waleed Montasser and Nicholas Head from the School of Science and Technology attended the Ellen MacArthur Prestige lecture at Cranfield University on 26th June 2014. Ellen MacArthur (DBE) is best known for her yachting achievement, but has also gone on to establish the Ellen MacArthur Foundation with significant buy-in from large corporate bodies such as Kingfisher Group and Unilever. 

Ellen has given impassioned keynote addresses at prestigious global events such as the World Economic Forum in Davos. She has also been interviewed on numerous media outlets including BBC Radio 4, Channel 4 News and Newsnight. In addition, the Ellen MacArthur Foundation has been working in partnership with the Schmidt Foundation and has awarded fellowships to aspiring students in various fields in order to examine opportunities for innovation in design, engineering and materials usage.

Ellen spoke of the importance of the circular economy model in offering us an opportunity to harness innovation and creativity to facilitate a sustainable and restorative economy. A circular economy is restorative by intention - it aims to rely on renewable energy, eliminate the use of toxic chemicals and eradicate waste, through careful design of products and services as well as through a more fundamental redesign of current production and consumption systems.

Ellen began the lecture with an informative and engaging discussion of her sailing achievements which were truly inspirational. She succinctly described the need for self-reliance and an ability to manage finite resources in the context of both sailing single-handedly around the world and from an economic perspective at the local and global scales.

Perhaps the most important message which came across from the lecture was the message that the economic model we currently follow is fundamentally flawed and the need for a more circular model will become increasingly observable over the medium term. We are faced with a choice: either take action now to build in resilience for the economy and move towards a sustainable position or be forced in the not too distant future to make some uncomfortable decisions.

The lecture was attended by high profile academics and industry CEOs as well as government agencies including WRAP and members of the CE100.

The CE100 is an initiative between the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, the global accounting and auditing firm McKinsey & Company, and includes the government backed Circular Economy Taskforce.