Sustainability in Action

A photography exhibition

Celebrating 30 years of the MSc Sustainability and Environmental Studies at the University of Strathclyde (1992-2022)

We are celebrating with a selection of 34 photos showcasing how alumni from this degree are contributing to "Sustainability in Action" in a variety of jobs globally.

This exhibition, curated by Dr Elsa João, is a joint initiative between the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and the University’s Centre for Sustainable Development.

Click on each image for the story behind each photograph and a higher resolution image.

Sustainable stems

Carol Finch, MSc Sustainability and Environmental Studies. Graduated 2019

Using low-impact silviculture, this Douglas Fir woodland has captured carbon, as well as supporting biodiversity and Scotlands economy for 100 years. My work at Forestry and Land Scotland involves improving the national estate for the benefit of all, now and for the future. From woodland creation to peatland restoration, nature-based solutions are vital to tackling the climate emergency.

The art of environmental awareness

Anna McLauchlan, MEnvS Environmental Studies. Graduated 2004

This is the inside of Inshriach Bothy, Cairngorms, during my live/work artist residency in March 2019. It has an outdoor compost toilet. Light is from solar power. Water is a 20-minute round trip away. To cook and for warmth you must split wood and then set the stove. Showering happens under a bag hung up outside. My research found that these conditions, in tandem with the setting, enhance resident artists environmental awareness.

Full circle

Callum Blackburn, MEnvS Environmental Studies. Graduated 2007

When I finished my Masters in 1997 my main interest was in ecology. However, I became a pioneer in the circular economy movement and helped establish Zero Waste Scotland and draft Scotlands first circular economy strategy. Now, 25 years on, I have come full circle and am involved in ecology again, as a pioneer in the rewilding movement. I help restore native woodland through a new business model that makes rewilding financially viable.

Promoting biodiversity

Eddie Dunn, MEnvS Environmental Studies. Graduated 2003

A career highlight occurred in 2013 when working at the Shaybah Wildlife Sanctuary in the Rub al-Khali desert, on behalf of Saudi Aramco. This 637 km2 fenced sanctuary protects dozens of native plant and animal species including a total of 130 Arabian oryx, 120 Arabian sand gazelle and four red-necked ostriches. I am now based in Australia having worked with KPMG since 2018.

The net-zero time machine

Geraldine Boylan, MEnvS Environmental Studies. Graduated 1998

At Mabbett, where I am director, we deliver improvements to the circular economy and net zero to make a bigger, faster dent in the climate crisis. I talk about the time machine concept – what would our future selves advise us today from 2050, 28 years in the future? The message was clear 25 years ago in the Masters; all the improvements count, but the rate of change must ramp up; to support progress, business must look to engagement around climate opportunities.

Mair clean air

Giorgia Bow, MSc Sustainability and Environmental Studies. Graduated 2015

Promoting active travel is a key to improving the air quality in our cities. This information board outlines an active travel project I am working on for the University of Strathclyde. The aim of the project is to rebalance the built environment to make it less car centric. I am a principal transport planner at Stantec and the focus of my career has been the design of greener, better connected, more accessible and more sustainable places.

From coal to wind in Mongolia

Greg McAlister, MEnvS Environmental Studies. Graduated 2003

Since graduating I have specialised in renewable energy. I was environmental advisor on Mongolias first windfarm 60km south of Ulaanbaatar, one of the worlds most polluted capital cities. The photo was taken of me on the site of the first wind turbine and marked the change from coal to wind-generated power.

Greening cities for nature and people

Hugh Kippen, MSc Sustainability and Environmental Studies. Graduated 2011

Nature can provide important improvements to our day-to-day lives. Green infrastructure is imperative to tackle chronic and expensive problems in towns and cities, like flooding, air pollution, extreme heat and drought. To make sure nature is included in new development, I help measure its benefits in ways that mean something to decision makers, engineers, architects, construction teams and everyone in-between.

Running on hydrogen

Jude Balfour, MSc Sustainability and Environmental Studies. Graduated 2012

Since 2012 I have worked with First Bus, encouraging sustainable transport and introducing zero carbon vehicles into the First UK Bus fleet. The year 2021 was exciting, seeing the first hydrogen fuel cell double decker bus in Aberdeen and also the purchase of 148 electric vehicles and infrastructure for Glasgow.

The future in our hands

Karen Dickson, MSc Environmental Studies. Graduated 2008

Becoming a parent has given me an even stronger motivation to create a sustainable world for future generations, especially the most vulnerable. This shapes my work in Energy and Climate Change at the Scottish Government. As my children grow, I will help them to understand why we must protect our planet, and inspire them to act for the greater good.

Cleaning up contaminated land

Kate Nicholson, MSc Sustainability and Environmental Studies. Graduated 2021

Contaminated land and groundwater can result from historic industrialisation. The projects I have worked on since graduating have been varied but the main goal is to ensure clean and safe land for human health and the environment. I was also involved in creating a sustainable remediation toolkit. This is particularly important with current goals and targets linked to the climate crisis.

Save our oceans!

Katrina Walker, MSc Sustainability and Environmental Studies. Graduated 2021

Oceans breathe as gases move in and out of the water across a tiny surface membrane called the sea surface microlayer, which is the focus of my research at Heriot-Watt University. Organic matter in this layer affects how well oceans absorb gases like carbon dioxide, and it is my job to understand how this process changes over time. This is critical to understanding the effects of climate change on our oceans.

Inclusive island communities

Lewis Cowie, MSc Sustainability and Environmental Studies. Graduated 2021

The view of Kintyre from the Isle of Gigha. Island communities have priorities and challenges distinct to mainland areas. As a graduate analyst at Zero Waste Scotland, my role has included learning about Island Community Impact Assessments. These are a tool to ensure that island communities in Scotland are supported and integrated with fairness, inclusiveness, and environmental protection in mind.

Vital natural capital

Peter Phillips, MSc Environmental Studies. Graduated 2007

Natural capital is a concept that recognises the role of our natural environment as an asset providing vital benefits to society and economy, such as clean air, wonderful biodiversity and climate resilience. I work with stakeholders and partners to ensure that natural capital is embedded in Scottish policy and planning decision-making, providing benefits to nature, people and the economy.

Wildlife ebike safari

Rachael Iveson-Brown, MSc Environmental Studies. Graduated 2010

As passionate naturalists, my husband and I created Wild Discovery for those who want to do more than just watch wildlife. Our ethical wildlife watching tours around Scotland connect guests with nature, the landscape and the conservation heroes working to protect animal and plant species. We enjoy offering unique, immersive wildlife experiences in a sustainable manner.

Winds of change!

Robert Beck, MEnvS Environmental Studies. Graduated 1999

This turbine is part of the Novar Wind Farm in the Highlands for which I supported an extension-of-life application. As an Environmental Impact Assessment practitioner, I have worked on more than 60 wind energy developments totalling approximately 500 MW with enough electricity to supply the equivalent of half a million UK homes.

Making sandcastles last forever!

Marcella McIlroy, MSc Sustainability and Environmental Studies. Graduated 2018

Sand can be turned into sandstone using bacterias ability to precipitate polymorphs of calcium carbonate. My research at the University of Strathclyde was inspired by the superior mechanical properties of molluscs, exploring the interaction and incorporation of additives. This provides the first steps towards a new generation of biominerals which could be modified for specific roles in engineering.

The pathway created!

Alejandro Mar Morales, MSc Sustainability and Environmental Studies. Graduated 2020

COP26 in Glasgow in 2021. The road to net-zero has been set and is up to us to achieve the targets! For my part, I have supported research studies towards decarbonisation and carbon capture at the University of Strathclyde. I have also worked with private companies to help reduce their current carbon footprint, and advise on carbon reduction in construction developments in the UK

No place like home

Amy Chambers, MSc Sustainability and Environmental studies. Graduated 2020

Emissions arising from commuting and homeworking are classed as scope 3 emissions and do not have to be reported. However, it is important to take responsibility for these emissions. While working at Arup, I developed a methodology to account for these emissions which can be included in annual carbon footprint disclosures and allow place-specific emissions to be reduced.

Light it up

Anna MacDonald, MSc Sustainability and Environmental Studies. Graduated 2020

Tiny plastic particles, when stained with a dye, will glow under a certain light. With a microscope these otherwise undetectable particles are made visible. My research at the University of Strathclyde measures the microplastic content of the air to understand human exposure and environmental pollution. This helps highlight our growing plastic problem.

Leaving our mark

Caroline Scott, MSc Environmental Studies. Graduated 2007

Generations of children queued outside Govanhill Baths on Glasgows Southside, a long-empty building currently being refurbished as a community wellbeing hub. As they waited impatiently, the kids screwed their coins into the sandstone, leaving their mark. My own childhood coin-print is among them. For the last ten years Ive provided constituency support to the MSP for Glasgow Southside as she helps with community renewal such as that in Govanhill.

Improving infrastructure

Danny McCluskey, MSc Environmental Studies. Graduated 2009

A site visit to inform the design of Scotlands largest flood protection scheme. Inspired by COP26, I have been making the case to civil engineering colleagues and local authority clients to adopt PAS 2080 aligned carbon management plans. Responding to the climate emergency and putting net-zero policy into action is a duty we all have to realise before its too late!

Enhancing biodiversity

Doug Dyche, MSc Sustainability and Environmental studies. Graduated 2013

A bee in action, highlighting one of the many symbiotic relationships around us. My work on Environmental Impact Assessment involves understanding these relationships so we can focus on avoiding, minimising, restoring, or offsetting potential impacts of projects. Plus exploring opportunities to deliver biodiversity net gain.

Recycling the non-recyclable

Elisa Marchesan, MSc Sustainability and Environmental studies. Graduated 2019

These small plastic granules are manufactured from consumer waste in Italy. Here I have been helping my company develop innovative circular solutions to recycle multilayer and mixed plastic packaging materials that would otherwise be incinerated or landfilled. Some of our most innovative solutions contribute to decarbonisation and emission reduction.

Climate fighting cocktails

Fiona Inglis, MSc Sustainability and Environmental Studies. Graduated 2021

Cocktail created by one of the restaurants participating in Plate up for Glasgow. This hospitality-led food waste campaign, that I helped set up, was developed and launched in the run up to COP26. The campaign challenges venues to create a low-waste dish or drink. This cocktail features beetroot powder and pineapple shrub, turning leftover fruit and veg destined for the bin into something delicious. Cheers to that!

Small atoms, saving the world!

Fionah Mukondwa, MSc Sustainability and Environmental Studies. Graduated 2021

The journey towards sustainability begins: a simple atom, bumps into another, producing nuclear energy that can light up several households! But the story doesnt end there. These atoms also have the potential to significantly reduce the carbon footprint associated with the energy industry. As a structural engineer currently working on one of Europes greatest nuclear power plant construction projects, it is an exciting challenge to brainstorm innovative designs that contribute to the sustainable construction, operation, maintenance and decommissioning of nuclear power plants.

There are Co2nsequences

Gary Donaldson, MSc Sustainability and Environmental Studies. Graduated 2018

Artwork created by local schoolchildren for COP26 highlights various environmental issues and messages. Sustainability is multi-faceted. Since joining the environmental team at Transport Scotland I have worked on various transport projects covering topics of air quality, climate change mitigation, adaptation and resilience.

Eagles and energy

Hannah Lane, MSc Sustainability and Environmental Studies. Graduated 2020

This bronze Golden Eagle statue above a Hydro Electric Dam pays tribute to the Hydro Electric workers who built the dam, and looks onwards to the turbines of a nearby windfarm. My work is directly related to sustainability in action through the production of Environmental Impact Assessments for wind farms and other renewable energy projects promoting clean energy and climate action.

A sustainable COP26!

Joe Nisbet, MSc Sustainability and Environmental Studies. Graduated 2020

The Scottish Event Campus during COP26 in Glasgow. Through my work at Arup I was one of the sustainability consultants for COP26. This included looking at ways to reduce the events emissions, minimise resource use and waste generation, deliver sustainable catering, and create a lasting legacy for Glasgow and the UK.

The balance of power

Mark Barnard, MSc Environmental Studies. Graduated 2008

Hydropower projects are sustainability in a microcosm and present significant challenges to environmental practitioners. I worked on the Shuakhevi Hydropower Plant in Georgia from development to operation. I supported the integration of environmental and social policies into design, construction and operational practices, and undertook monitoring compliance.

Surviving sea level rise

Maud Serrand, MEnvS Environmental Studies. Graduated 2005

This urban coastal area in France will be subject to sea level rise over the next 100 years. For the MISEEVA research project in 2011, I worked collaboratively with different experts in social, economic and environmental studies. It was rewarding to guide local stakeholders to establish adaptation strategies to cope with the effects of climate change.

Circular thinking for everyday

Oihana Hernáez Lizarazu, MSc Sustainability and Environmental Studies, Graduated 2017

Working in Spain as a strategy consultant specialised in sustainability, I have the opportunity to support companies to be more sustainable. Among other activities, this involved the creation of innovative training materials, especially on the circular economy. This picture presents some products resulting from eco and circular design.

Keep on going ...

Paul Adderley, MSc Environmental Studies. Graduated 2006

Beyond Green, the company I founded in 2008, became a B Corp in 2018 with a mission to make positive change easier by inspiring everyone to create a sustainable world. I am passionate about items not going to waste when they can have good alternative uses. In the photo I am handing over our already refurbished computers to People Know How, a charity that helps children be connected to the digital world.

Peat action

Our Sustainability Policy Team collaborated to restore peatland in East Dunbartonshire, including dam construction at Lenzie Moss near Glasgow. This effort supports carbon sequestration, flood risk mitigation, and habitat enhancement.

Sylvia Gray, MEnvS Environmental Studies. Graduated 2001, Niall Urquhart, MSc in Environmental Studies. Graduated 2010