Dr Ryan Pereira and the Lyell Centre
The importance of community and empathy in Earth and marine sciences
My vision for the future is to live in our environment sustainably, which will only be possible if we, as a society, develop a fully integrated “systems thinking” approach to our development. To achieve this, we need to incorporate many different perspectives of people, cultures, and geographies into global, regional and local policies that are inclusive and find a balance between need, growth, and aspiration. In essence, what can we do to help others realise what it’s like to walk in another person’s shoes?
No one tool or approach exists that will enable our society to be successful in this goal. To this end, we use a blend of new technologies and approaches combined with systematic laboratory studies, environmental data, and simulations at the Lyell Centre.
It is my belief, that we all have a part to play, but we need ways to engage and feel like our actions make a real and tangible difference. Yes, it’s a collaborative approach that is led by individuals that we can follow, but without key mechanisms or messages that we can really bite into then positive energy quickly turns into frustration, helplessness, disinterest, and individualism. In my work, I aim to use images to translate concepts of a key science message that are positively disrupting the outdated ways of working and hopefully inspire others to engage.
Understanding the mechanisms that control the transport and fate of carbon and nutrient fluxes in Earth’s biogeochemical cycles is a global challenge underpinning the UN’s sustainable development goals (SDGs). Much of my work and the Carbon-Water Dynamics team aims to advance the understanding of how carbon and nutrient are transported between the land, ocean, and atmospheric.
Being able to identify and quantify the magnitude, timing and potential fate of carbon flowing between Earth’s carbon reservoirs is fundamental to underpin global economic growth through ecosystem, carbon and water-based services. Unfortunately, no one tool or approach exists that will enable our society to be successful in this goal. To this end, we use a blend of new technologies and approaches combined with systematic laboratory studies, environmental data, and simulations at the Lyell Centre.
The Lyell Centre and GRID
The Lyell Centre with its state-of-the-art facilities brings together the research excellence of Heriot-Watt University and the British Geological Survey to create impact within Earth and marine science and technology.
An important emerging collaboration with the Global research, innovation and discovery centre (GRID) at Heriot-Watt has further enabled the ability to 'walk in another person’s shoes', developing immersive, interactive and gamified experiences that help to bring system thinking into our society. While one aspect is to deliver the core messages of our science, we aim to build a sense of community and belonging regardless of individual circumstances.
Therefore, the call to action for all of us is to ask is 'How can I engage with you, a research institute, university, or another entity to modify the way we work for the positive change?'
I believe, that your question will never go un-answered by those who are enthusiastic and committed to this new world.