Hello! I’m Rachel, and the newest recruit to the CO2balance projects team.
I bring with me several years of academic research experience in biofuels and chemical applications of CO2 from Imperial College London, as well as field experience of project management in sustainable development. I’m looking forward to marrying this unlikely combination of experience in this new chapter with CO2balance.
Prior to joining CO2b, I worked in a myriad of roles, from volunteering environmental consultancy to various charitable organisations, tutoring teenagers in maths and science to directing a small NGO working in sustainable development and humanitarian aid in Vanuatu (the South Pacific). I was also closely involved in an organisation called ClimateKIC – a pan-European network of climate change academics and entrepreneurs – which I fell into during my Green Chemistry masters at Imperial College London. This provided many valuable educational and training experiences across aspects of climate change and sustainability, and furnished me with a tantalizing glimpse into the future of CO2 mitigation. I am keen to apply this knowledge of the EcoTec and climate innovation scenes in my hunt for CO2balance’s next big carbon project; perhaps one day, these entrepreneurs will be CO2balance’s next partners!
My long-term, and sometimes long-distance, relationship with Vanuatu is perhaps my real USP. I’ve intermittently lived and worked in Vanuatu going back 14 years. In the first instance, I found myself teaching A Level maths and science at a boarding school on the remote Pentecost Island – to students not much younger that I was myself. This led to the forging of many lifelong friendships, and the opportunity to explore many of Vanuatu’s most remote villages – never visited by tourists.
It was in 2015 that this really came to head, when Tropical Cyclone Pam, by all accounts an event of generation-shaping and record-breaking proportions, decimated many of Vanuatu’s pristine islands. I found that my local knowledge was useful to other organisations, and a fundraising campaign I set up took on a life of its own and quickly attracted a great outpouring of both interest, and, fortuitously, donations. In order to spend this money in an accountable and transparent way, the campaign morphed into a fully fledged charity – the UK’s only one entirely focussed on sustainable development and disaster relief in Vanuatu. These days, we’ve been totally grounded by the coronavirus pandemic, but we’re hoping to resume projects in 2022 or 2023 once restrictions lift.
In the meantime, I’m excited to be putting my energy into another aspect of climate change mitigation with CO2balance – and who knows, perhaps lead CO2balance into the unexplored frontiers of Melanesia and the South Pacific. It’s a real privilege to be joining this group of friendly and knowledgeable people, and I feel deeply humbled to have the opportunity to be part of an organisation with such an impressive track record of making a tangible and important difference to quality of life for thousands of people across the globe. It’s also immensely exciting to be working in a field that has a burgeoning role to play in the ongoing saga of Man vs Climate Change. Let’s hope we’re on the winning side!