A year with the Global Systems Institute

By Darcy Howle, GSI Student Intern 2021-2022

It is coming to the end of my year long placement at the Global Systems Institute (GSI) and I wanted to reflect on my experience of what a fantastic year it has been.

Although there is a sense of hopelessness when it coming to the unscalable issue of sustainability, the academics, and other members of the GSI remain positive at their outlook on the future. Working for the GSI has given me a glimpse of how academics are able to collaborate with artists, social scientist, policy makers, the community and other stake holders to create and implement solutions on a regional and global scale. It is remarkable to watch projects such as Global Carbon Budget Office, OPALS and the GSI policy network develop over the course of my year placement.

The concept of systems thinking, a focus of the GSI, has really opened my eyes to the importance of transdisciplinary research. It is the idea that all things are interconnected therefore to solve an issue sustainably all aspects of the system involved need to be considered. Moving forward, I aim to implement this this concept into my future work.

I thoroughly enjoyed my time working with the wildfire lab. It exposed me to an area of research that I hadn’t experience before. Working towards a tailored UK fire danger rating system built on my previous lab and fieldwork experience.

Over the course of COP26, the GSI received great media coverage and I was given the opportunity to help with the campaign.  This showed me how important it is to communicate with the public and share our research to create the greatest impact possible. By doing this more people will act against the climate crisis and help secure a flourishing future.

I want to thank the members of the GSI for being friendly and welcoming to me. I was fortunate enough to be given the responsibility of organising the 3-day GSI Retreat where I was able to meet the 50 core members of the GSI community. Everyone was open to listen to my ideas and input despite how new I was to the team and how early I am on my academic journey. In particular, I want to thank Andy Richards and Anne Nicholls who I have worked closely with over the past year and have made my experience so positive.