Humans of Oxford Net Zero: Dr Jessica Omukuti
The Humans of Oxford Net Zero was led by Charmian Love, a Social Entrepreneur in Residence at the Skoll Centre for Social Entrepreneurship, Saïd Business School, University of Oxford.
'I did my bachelor's in meteorology and being trained as a climate scientist brought me into the real world. My work in Sub-Saharan Africa helped me understand how we're doing development was disjointed from what people actually needed. And I needed to learn more about how to do development in a way that was in alignment with the needs and priorities of people’
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.
Learn more about the people behind Oxford Net Zero at netzeroclimate.org.
Interviewee: Jessica Omukuti, Research Fellow on Inclusive Net Zero Institute for Science, Innovation and Society in The School of Anthropology and Museum of Ethnography, University of Oxford
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 Jessica go as a source of energy and inspiration?
Jessica enjoys hiking and travelling, getting out and going to new places to enjoy the scenery and the landscapes. It helps remind her of home and all the people who made her who she is today which she finds a good source of motivation for her work and reminds her of why she is doing it!
What big questions is Jessica exploring?
Jessica is interested in understanding how we can deliver climate justice to countries, communities, municipalities and households in the global south - especially those who are poor and marginalised. She believes one way to deliver climate justice is ensuring that they have the capacity and resources they need to respond to climate change risks.
Jessica’s work is focused on how we can make net zero more inclusive; how to bring global partners in and make them part of the conversation on power so we can all transition towards a more sustainable future.
How would Jessica like to see businesses engage in climate?
Jessica believes businesses are critical in the transition and that learning about what inclusiveness means will help them map the path to net zero. She said, ‘they are important to this work because if they get it wrong it means a lot of people will be stuck in systems that are not aware of their needs, or systems that do not cater to their priorities.’
What advice does Jessica have for students?
- Reach out to people. Email them! There are a lot of people out there who are happy to engage on these topics.
- Find energy amongst your peers - form groups to talk about the issues you care about and how to take ideas forward.
- Take your ideas and energy to COP26 - find ways of getting engaged.
Interested in learning more about Climate Net Zero? Check out the Climate Neutrality Forum; led by Oxford Net Zero.