“I'm a community organiser, so I always think about people first.”
Oxford Net Zero is an interdisciplinary research initiative based at the University of Oxford’s Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment (SSEE). It is embedded within the ecosystem of research on climate neutrality. Their research fellows, recruited from partner institutions from around the world, are working to accelerate the transition to a net zero future.
In this series of conversations, you’ll hear about the work these experts are focused on and how their research can be applied to business. You’ll also get to hear their personal stories and achievements you wouldn’t otherwise read in their bio, where they get their inspiration and even what kind of music is on their playlist! Tune in to this series if you’re looking to be inspired, excited and hopeful about the important research underway at Oxford in creating a net zero pathway for the world.
Interviewee: Emily Kibbe, Research Associate at Oxford Net Zero
Interviewer: Charmian Love, Social Entrepreneur in Residence at the Skoll Centre for Social Entrepreneurship, Saïd Business School, University of Oxford
Key takeaways from the conversation
Where does Emily go as a source of energy and inspiration?
Emily is inspired by the people she works with. She also spends time with movements in the art world - those working on climate and social justice themes. She has friends who work in climate that were also trained in singing and dancing and she believes these two things don’t need to be separate.
Emily’s favourite music include classics of the 60s and 70s. She is a big Joni Mitchell fan, especially popular songs like California and Big Yellow Taxicab. Emily encourages you to listen a little deeper and hear that they're obviously climate justice songs.
What big questions is Emily exploring?
Emily is clear that we can't just say net zero and hope everyone knows what it is. What’s needed is to make sure it is clear what net zero looks like at a human level.
The human level shows up in how Emily thinks about how we get to net zero. She asks ‘should we get to net zero quickly? Or compassionately? Should we get there as fast as we can and just leave people behind? Because we know scientifically that we've got to reduce emissions as soon as possible? Or should we do it in a way that keeps people first?’
How would Emily like to see businesses engage in climate?
Emily is interested in industries and businesses that are connected to the ‘big emitters’; the agriculture and food systems. She believes it’s essential for those industries to get to net zero. But it's also because they are very unique industries – ‘agriculture isn't just emitting carbon dioxide, it has a different mix.’
Emily also thinks that there's a lot of space for creativity in these industries. Food justice is deeply intersected with climate justice, with environmental justice, with gender justice – ‘ultimately people need to be able to eat at the end of the day.’
What advice does Emily have for students?
Connect with Oxford climate justice campaign - be part of holding the University accountable.
Check out micro internships to help you understand pathways to net zero.