Meet the Acclimatise team ft. Erin Owain

Meet the Acclimatise team ft. Erin Owain

1) What is your role at Acclimatise? What does/will your typical ‘work day’ look like?

I am a Climate Risk Analyst working as part of the Advisory team at the Cardiff Office. The nature of my work varies from day to day from analysing data and statistical testing to analysing and evaluating climate risk and resilience for various international projects. My role allows me to use my previous experience working at a water consultancy to build fluvial and coastal hydrological models and carry out flood risk assessments from the perspective of climate risk and resilience.

2) What inspired you to work on climate issues? 

Born and bred with rolling green hills and iron age hill forts right at my door step, I inherently developed an appreciation for the diversity of plants and animals, the complex geological forms and structures, and for the rich history of the people of Wales. Learning in school that the equilibrium of life was broken, the secure paradise which I so readily took for granted was under threat, inevitably led me to pursue my passion in environmental sciences and on to a career tackling climate change. The sense of belonging and the firm roots which my country continues to give me is an integral part of my life and I wish nothing more than to share this gift with future generations.

3) If you could have dinner with anyone (past or present), who would it be and why?

I would have dinner with my Taid (grandfather), who passed away a month after I was born, as he lived a very interesting life. He was a chemical scientist who was sent to work at the nuclear powerplant Windscale during the second world war as he was a pacifist. He wrote a book similar to that of Geogre Orwell’s “1984”, were the characters in his book avoided being conditioned by the Big Brother by speaking a language that the Big Brother couldn’t detect, Welsh. He wrote scientific articles foreseeing an environmental dystopia, the mass extinction of plant and animal species and the rise of a monocultured, coca-cola world. And he was the founder of the Cymdeithas yr Iaith Gymraeg, a direct action pressure group in Wales campaigning for the right of Welsh people to use the Welsh language in every aspect of their lives. Over a hearty homemade Sunday Roast, I would enjoy nothing more than to discuss science, politics and the question of globalism v nationalism with him.

Welsh Valley, CC BY-SA 2.0

4) Three things on your bucket list:

a. Firstly, I would love to experience the immensity and the tranquillity of the Himalayas in Nepal and then, in contrast, travel down to experience the colourful, hectic cities of India. 

b. Secondly, I would love to hike or cycle the entire border of Wales, along the coastal path and the Offa’s Dyke between England and Wales.

c. Finally, I would love to see a zero-carbon Wales and play a part in developing a flourishing green-economy.

5) What developments in climate science, policy, or public perceptions – or lack thereof – have surprised you the most?

Two things stand out to me when I think of the recent wave of change in public perception over recent years.

The first is the David Attenborough Effect – the religious practice of watching Planet Earth every Sunday evening, the entire family mesmerized at the richness of the natural world and empathising with the human-qualities of the animals as portrayed by the narratives.

The second is how technology has changed our perception of the world. We’re witnessing the world from different angles; a GoPro strapped to the head of a dog to see the world from the dog’s perspective, aerial shots of meandering deltas and crests of dunes taken from drones, to photos and videos taken from under water thanks waterproof cameras.

I believe that both of these have changed the placement of the individual within the world and has led to a growth in awareness of our role within nature. Some might say that Charles Darwin and his Theory of Evolution caused a cataclysmic change in people’s relationship with nature, but I also believe that technology, which is so readily available to us all today, has caused another wave. Platforms such as Instagram are enabling us to view the world through a completely different lens, a creative lens. This is encouraging a new sense of respect and duty to protect both the natural world and the family of the human race.

6) What can’t you live without?

My memories. And my walking boots of course! 

Visit Erin’s team page here.

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