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News > School News > Roedean's Climate 'Heroes'

Roedean's Climate 'Heroes'

Our recent student-led Chapel service focused on 3 ORs who since leaving Roedean, have been 'Climate Heroes': Nathalie Walker, Natasha Grist and Lady Dido Berkeley.
1 Dec 2021
School News

Matilda (Y12) introduced our first 'Climate Hero' Nathalie Walker (No. 4, 1989-91):

Nathalie Walker was a Roedean student in House 4 from 1989-1991. Despite only spending 3 years here she says they were amongst the happiest of her life, with wonderful memories of laughter and fun with like-minded women, many of whom are still her friends today.

At School, all she ever wanted to be was a conservationist, protecting rainforests and she also had big dreams of managing a National Park in the Tropics.

Today, she has a PhD and is a senior director of International Wildlife Conservation, with over 30 years experience in the field of research and stopping drivers of tropical deforestation. This has involved working with organisations on corporate responsibility, particularly focussing on deforestation, and associated climate and social harm.

Maria (Y12) added that; As well as her work in Wildlife Conservation, Nathalie Walker also works for the Global Canopy Programme and the Department for International Development at Oxford. Her day-to-day work sees her connecting her efforts with research institutions around the world with an aim to conserve forests that are at risk of deforestation. There are many products we use everyday such as palm oil, beef, leather, and cocoa, which come to us as a direct result of deforestation. Natalie is working with Governments around the world, including the UK, to develop regulations stopping these goods from entering our country. She recently attended COP 26 and shared some very interesting insights on her social media. 

When recently questioned by Roedean students about what she is most proud of, she said that she is privileged and proud to be playing a small part in a huge movement and that she was particularly honoured when she was present for the signing of ‘The Paris Agreement’ at COP 21, which was a legally binding treaty on climate change. This was the first time all nations became bound in agreement to undertake actions and efforts to combat climate change.

Jemma (Y13) then shared Natasha Grist (No. 2, 1985-92)'s inspiring career:

Natasha Grist joined Roedean in 1985 and was a member of House 2. Since leaving Roedean in 1992, Natasha has dedicated much of her life to the climate change movement. She has a Masters degree in Agriculture, Environment and Development, as well as a PhD in Rural Development in Amazonia which she completed in 2005, and now specialises in climate change, farming and food systems.

Natasha spent 10 years at the Overseas Development Institute and the Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership, where her research centred around agriculture. She has focused on how to improve livelihoods through new technology, and looked into how to reduce the effects that farming has on climate change. She has also spent time on clean development projects, researching how to reduce poverty whilst building in a manner that minimises carbon emissions.

Her work has been recognised for positively contributing to 4 different Sustainable Development Goals agreed by UN member states in 2015. These goals include no poverty, zero hunger, affordable and clean energy, as well as climate action.

She is currently working as a university lecturer in Climate Change and International Development, along with being a Sustainability Advisor. I hope we can all take something away from her brilliant work and inspiring devotion to the planet.

And finally, Athena (Y7) spoke about Extinction Rebellion member Lady Dido Berkeley (No. 2, 1955-60):

Lady Dido Berkeley is an environmental activist receiving media attention for her aristocratic status. She uses her platform and resources to raise awareness about climate change, having receptions in the House of Commons as well as a team of lawyers. In 2000, she ran the Thamesbank campaign group and ran for the Green Party candidate for the Greater London Assembly.

Last year, Lady Berkeley was arrested for lying down on the road during an Extinction Rebellion protest. She said she took the action as she felt it was the 'only option left for her' after writing to the government about climate change.

These inspiring women have used their talents and skills to make a positive impact on the world through conservation or raising awareness of climate change and we could not be more proud of what these women are achieving.

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