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Spotlight on Gender

A key part of the UK’s commitment to an inclusive COP, the programme of events on Gender Day (9th November) will address not only the ways in which women, girls and marginalised people are disproportionately impacted by climate change, but also the importance of their leadership and participation in driving solutions. Gender Day will demonstrate that through working collaboratively, governments, civil society and businesses can advance gender equality in climate action and finance, helping us to deliver on the goals of the Paris Agreement.

Today, we’re putting the spotlight on women in the North East, celebrating their roles within the fight to tackle climate change through research, art, collaboration and public engagement.

Professor Hayley Fowler

Hayley Fowler is Professor of Climate Change Impacts in the Water Resource Systems Engineering Group in the School of Engineering. Hayley Fowler is a hydro-climatologist with >15 years of experience in analysing the impacts of climate change and variability on hydrological systems and has published more than 90 ISI-cited articles since 2000. She has a large research group – currently 7 post-docs and 5 PhD students.

She specialises in the analysis of the impacts of climate change and variability on hydrological and water resources systems, in particular examining recent trends in extremes and future projections and their impacts on flood and drought risks. She has also been instrumental in the analysis of climate model outputs and the development of new downscaling techniques, in particular the use of probabilistic methods and weather or rainfall generators, to bridge the gap between climate modellers and users of climate information.

Her current funded research includes four main themes:

i) improving projections of extreme rainfall change by developing high-resolution regional climate models to understand convective processes;

ii) examining climatic changes in the Karakoram Himalaya and their impacts on hydrology and water resources;

iii) producing new downscaling methods to enable improved climate information services for Europe; and

iv) developing web-based tools to allow downscaling methods to be used for climate change impact assessments outside academia.

Dr Helen F. Wilson

Helen Wilson is Associate Professor in the Department of Geography at Durham University.

I am a cultural and social geographer interested in the geographies and politics of embodied difference – both human and non-human. I joined the Department of Geography in 2017 following a Senior Lectureship at the University of Manchester, and previous positions at the University of Hull and Durham University. I completed a BA, MA, and PhD (2011) at Durham University.

My work is focused on the geographies of encounter; urban life and living; how embodied difference is negotiated, contested, and supported in times crisis, and/or contestation; and manifestations of conflict that fold in questions of race, culture, and species. 

My research interests include: encounterable life; difference; affect and emotion; cultural theory; animal studies; geographies of education; race and racism; multiculture; urban life and living; and the politics of tolerance. My current research explores the fraught politics of coexistence through the case of urban kittiwakes in both the UK and Norway. 

You can read more about Helen’s research of urban kittiwakes in our case study here.

Photo credit: Alan Hewitt, Wildlife Photographer

Dr Henna Asikainen

Henna is a Finnish artist, based in the UK. Her artwork is concerned with human’s complex relationship with nature and its intersections with social justice, migration and notions of belonging. The work has developed alongside increasing scientific, social and political concern for the habitability of the planet and the possibly permanent damage that our current economic system is causing to both our own and the habitats of all other living things, as well as the more immediate impact of climate change on how we live and where we live.

Between two shores examines the interrelated issues of climate change and especially climate induced migration, its human rights implications and the climate injustice at its roots.

The project is grounded in the environs of Lindisfarne and the Lindisfarne National Nature Reserve – an environment accessed by an intertidal causeway which is threatened by sea level rise and which is marked by refuge towers for those caught out by the rising waters.

Visit Henna’s website Henna Asikainen – Artist Portfolio

Carol Botten

Carol is CEO of NEECCo and an experienced leader of cross-sector partnerships. Appointed as CEO of VONNE (Voluntary Organisations Network North East) in September 2018 following four years as Deputy CEO. Carol has worked in the VCS sector for the best part of her professional life of nearly 25 years, with a specific background in development within the cultural and voluntary sectors, with previous roles focusing on management, business development, fundraising and communications. At VONNE, Carol leads on external policy work with the NE Local Enterprise Partnership and the North of Tyne Combined Authority on skills, employability and inclusive growth. In addition, Carol is a member of Board of the North East LEP, Northern Powergrid’s Social Issues Expert Group and Stakeholder Panel, the NE EU Exit Implementation Group and the Cabinet Office’s National Leadership Programme.

Carol is also the Chair of the VONNE Climate Action Alliance (VCAA) – a key member of NEECCo. They recently launched Going Green Together, a project which supports organisations within the voluntary sector to start their journey towards Net Zero. You can read more here.

Carol’s passion and energy for a greener future within the North East is endless. Her efforts in bringing all sectors together in the united mission of making the North East England’s Greenest Region is an aspiration to all.

You can watch Carol’s presentation on the work of NEECCo so far here.

Alison Smith

Alison is a Town Councillor in Hexham and an independent shop owner. Matthias Winter sources and sells a range of eco-products, ethical gifts and has a refill station for a range of products including oat milk, hand wash and laundry detergent to reduce single-use plastic waste. She also runs schemes to recycle crisp and biscuit packets which accrues points that are then turned into a monetary donation to Pennines Wildlife Rescue. She is an advocate for environment initiatives within Northumberland.

During COP26, Alison has been working with Northumberland County Council and international artist, Carl Von Weiler to create a natural public art installation to mark the climate conference. From Sunday 31st Oct when the COP conference begins until Friday 12th Nov when it ends members of the public, families, schools, community groups and anyone else who is interested will be able to contribute to the tree using fallen leaves and other natural finds from gardens, woodland or the local area. The tree will be left to grow and evolve organically from the centre outwards during the period of the conference then dismantled and returned to nature leaving no impact at the end. “We are recommending that leaves are attached using spent matches pushed firmly through the leaf into the ground but as long as it’s natural and not dangerous you can be as creative as you like. I am hoping that by contributing to this art installation people will feel a sense of wellbeing, belonging and community. Please do come along, contribute to the tree and maybe reflect on nature and how by showing responsible guardianship of it we can create a better world for us all to live in.”

COP26 Tree on The Sele, Hexham

Lynne Sesinye-Samwinga

Lynne has written a children’s book which considers the different ways children can look after the environment. To stay within the 1.5°C temperature increase and halt the most catastrophic consequences of climate change, the average child born today must emit 8 times less carbon dioxide (CO2) than their grandparents. With these increasingly alarming reports, it’s no surprise that Climate Anxiety is a real issue, especially amongst children. In a survey for the BBC, 2,000 young people aged 8 to sixteen were asked their opinions on climate change with 73% saying they’re worried about the state of the planet right now and 1 in 5 saying these concerns have affected their eating and sleeping habits.

Lynne’s book, ‘MY ENVIRONMENT: Ways I Look after My World’ is written for children aged 3 – 9 and is aimed to help children become engaged caretakers of the environment. An informative and easy read for children to understand the dynamics of caring for the world.