‘Next generation’ student environmentalist selected for prestigious lecture

‘Next generation’ student environmentalist selected for prestigious lecture

A University of Cumbria student touted as ‘the next generation of speakers’ has been selected to give a microlecture on adventure and discovery at the Royal Geographic Society (RGS).

Originally from Norfolk, Taylor Butler-Eldridge, 25, will share his experience of working with Surfer’s Against Sewage inspiring school children in Cornwall and educating them about the impact of plastic pollution on marine ecology.

The ‘Ocean School’ programme was an immersive, hands-on educational experience, jam-packed full of beach-clean investigations, rock pool explorations and empowering discussions on the actions humans can collectively take to protect our beaches and oceans.

Nearly 500 pupils graduated from the programme; an incredible feat which put Taylor’s finely tuned teaching skills to the test.

Alongside this, and with the help from other students at the University’s Cumbria’s Ambleside campus and Students’ Union, Taylor carried on this work by organising his own clean-ups in Cumbria, responding to the issue of plastic debris accumulating on the shores of Lake Windermere.

Taylor will share his story with an audience at RGS headquarters in London, where he will be one of six speakers who have just 10 minutes to share their inspiring journey in an illustrated short talk with a geographical focus. 

The evening with be hosted by broadcaster and anthropologist Mary-Ann Ochota.

Talking about how he feels to give a lecture, Taylor said:“I’m still quite surprised to have been selected as I designed the talk the night before the audition. It will certainly be a test having not spoken to an audience of that size before.

“However, I feel inspired by Greta Thunberg, the 16-year old Swedish climate activist who instigated a school strike for climate which has since become a global phenomenon”.

He continued: “whilst there remains a heightened public awareness surrounding the impacts of plastic pollution, sometimes we all need a gentle reminder that we’re never too small to make a difference.”

Taylor’s interest in environmental education came after previously undertaking a digital design course which he found unfulfilling and spending some time out travelling.

Luckily for him, he found a new direction and returned to education as mature student on the BSc (Hons) Outdoor Adventure and Environment programme in Ambleside.

“My journey has been transformational. Throughout the course, I have been exposed to an overwhelming number of different experiences, but most importantly, I have learnt the power of sharing knowledge and learning by doing.”

Taylor’s talk on micro-plastics, micro-scientists and micro-adventures: the value of exploring your doorstep at RGS, will take place on Thursday 14 March, 7-9pm.

The event happens during British Science Week, 8-17 March, a ten-day celebration of science, technology, engineering and maths.