Meet the winner -Will Moody
Hi, my name is Will and I am a third year PhD student at Queens’ College studying tumour immunology. I am passionate about tackling the climate emergency, and over the last year I have been engaged in projects aiming to raise the profile of these issues at the university, and more widely across Cambridgeshire.
One of my main focuses this year has been the founding and running of the Cambridge Carbon Literacy Project. I strongly believe that education is not only critical to understanding the world we live in, but also one of the most important gateways to a sustainable future. Only when people appreciate the enormity and complexity of the challenge facing us can they be inspired to take action. And only through education, can they turn this inspiration into action, and feel empowered to drive meaningful change.
The Cambridge Carbon Literacy project reflects this, and is a course that not only provides a scientific introduction to the climate emergency, but also empowers participants to take significant action on both a personal and institutional level. I was keen for the project to be driven by the guiding principle that being certified is the start, not the end, of the participants journey with Cambridge Carbon Literacy. As a result, despite the difficulties posed in the last year, we have been able to create an online network of alumni, who we keep engaged through regular posts on Slack, and also by offering the opportunity to become trainers themselves. Over the past two terms we have trained 89 students, with pledges following the collaborative webinars saving an estimated 86 tonnes of CO2e, and 91% participants likely or very likely to recommend the course to others. We have one more training session planned this May for an additional 45 students, and have secured funding for the project to continue next academic year for anyone interested in joining!
I have also been fortunate to work collaboratively with other highly engaged students on a range of environmental projects, reaching beyond the University and into Cambridgeshire more widely. Firstly, with Cambridgeshire County Council as part of the CUSPE policy exchange programme, developing policies to increase the engagement of young people in local climate issues. As part of a team of early-career researchers, we designed online focus groups and surveys to reach over 650 young people across Cambridgeshire. From this research, we then devised a rage of policy recommendations for youth engagement, which was unanimously accepted by the Council for implementation. Currently, I am working with a group of PhD students as part of the ThinkLab programme. We are in the process of trying to improve on-the-group delivery and uptake of the NHS Net-Zero agenda in Addenbrookes and NHS trusts across the county. To achieve this, we are investigating practical policies that could lead to long term behavioural change from both a top-down and bottom-up perspective. Finally, I have also aimed to engage others through writing poetry and short prose as part of the Sustainable Futures Academy online showcase and helping organise and co-host the Cambridge Climate and Sustainability Forum 2020 which following a transition to an online format was able to reach over 200 people.
I am extremely grateful for all the opportunities I have had over the last year to get engaged with social and environmental issues. They have really helped me develop a range of transferable skills whilst also allowing me to meet lots of inspiring people that I wouldn’t have otherwise met, along the way! I certainly feel a lot more confident in my ability approach environmental challenges, and work collaboratively with others to develop practical solutions. Overall I feel the programmes I have been engaged with have enhanced my university experience, and offered me access to opportunities that wouldn’t have been available my studies alone!
I am very honoured to have been nominated for a Vice-Chancellor’s Award this year, and I hope this recognition will help to raise the profile of the causes and projects I have been working on even further. Particularly, I hope that this journey inspires anyone out there who may be contemplating getting involved, or sitting on a social or environmental idea they would like to implement, to reach out and try and make it happen! There are so many incredible and generous people at the University, and it is through cohesion, communication and collaboration that we will begin to tackle the climate crisis, and start to drive meaningful change.