Professor Cox, Martin Wright and student Laura Daniels at the panel discussion

Students and alumni tackle Big Dilemmas

A group of Exeter students have presented their findings on ‘The future of renewable energy in the UK’ to an audience of over 100 academics, other students and community stakeholders.

The event was organised by the ‘Big Dilemmas Project’, and made possible thanks to alumni donations to the University’s Annual Fund. The Project is in the middle of its three-year lifespan, tackling complex sustainability issues by bringing together a think-tank of students, academics and stakeholders.

Keynote speaker and alumnus Martin Wright (Politics 1980), Associate Director of the influential Forum for the Future and Editor in Chief of Green Futures, spoke on the current political landscape with regards to renewable energy and energy security.

He also reflected on the mindset required to work towards a sustainable future: ‘When I was a student at this University 30 years ago, I was an angry environmentalist, painting 'doom and gloom' scenarios and pointing my finger accusingly at people who wouldn't take action. But if the last three decades have shown us anything, it's that sending people on guilt-trips just doesn't work.

“If we want to move towards a sustainable society, we need to win hearts and minds. We need to change the narrative and promote optimism, entrepreneurship and innovation. The students who are participating in this project are doing just that.”

Drawing lessons from the recently ‘shelved’ Severn Barrage tidal energy project, the presentation included the themes of ‘Energy Policy & the Business Case’, ‘Ecosystem Services’ and ‘Public Engagement’.

The Big Dilemmas project also marks the first official curricular collaboration between students from Falmouth University and the University of Exeter.

The project will continue next year focusing on a different sustainability dilemma. For further details, please contact: h.sjerps-jones@exeter.ac.uk

Date: 29 March 2011

Read more University News