4.00pm Sun 28th
On the surface, renewable energy appears to be a no brainer, with 82% of Brits support its use. However, all forms of renewable energy carry with them some kinds of environmental impact.
From damage to landscapes and natural environments of wind farms, resources mined to produce solar panel materials & batteries to the growing issues of nuclear waste particularly with Sizewell C’s proposals, this event discussed the pros and cons of renewable energies and explores the long term solutions. We had some great discussions with green energy expert Georgina King, renewables PhD student Inne Withouck, and our very own Sophia Bolton - earth scientist and Siren Digital organiser!
Session host: Russell Arnott
I studied languages at Cambridge University and during the summer before my final year I became aware of plans to build off-shore windfarm on-shore substations in a village near where I live in Suffolk. The idea of destroying the countryside in the name of “Green Energy” seemed hypocritical to me so I started working with a few neighbours to draw attention to the plans and investigate alternatives. Two years down the line and the plans are being challenged by the UK planning inspectorate and hearings are ongoing. Off the back of my campaign work I landed my current job at a small bank where I head up the environmental strategy and I hope to help set an example for other financial bodies.
I’m a PhD student based in Shetland researching the siting process for renewable energy developments at sea, with a focus on interactions with fisheries. Growing up I had a great interest in the sea and, in the holidays and weekends, I always wanted to be underwater as much as possible. But I also had a really enthusiastic geography teacher in high school, so I went on to study geography for my undergrad. I then combined this with a masters degree in marine conservation and biodiversity to learn more about the science behind this underwater world that has always inspired me. After some work experience where I helped monitor marine species in a Dutch wind farm, I found a PhD in Shetland about marine spatial planning where I could combine my interest in both maps and the sea. Through my PhD and through living in Shetland I’m learning something every day about the maritime sector, which is an underwater world more difficult to see when snorkelling! I graduated from the University of Leuven (Belgium) in 2014 with a BSc in Geography, specialising in environmental sciences. I then went on to join the EMBC+ programme (International Master of Science in Marine Biodiversity and Conservation) from which I graduated in 2016.
Sophia is not only organiser of Siren Digital but is also a Geography/Geology graduate currently studying environmental management. Her academic interests focus on climate change during the Quaternary, deep sea sediments and tephra. As Vice President at Royal Holloway SU she led on climate justice lobbying both on campus and nationally. Currently working towards a level 5 qualification in social media marketing, when she’s not telling you to like, follow and subscribe she can often be found in the dance studio (oh yes, she's also training as a dance instructor). She's a force of nature!