Dr Rebecca Pearce
Postdoctoral Research Fellow
Amory Building, University of Exeter, Rennes Drive, Exeter, EX4 4RJ , UK
I am an environmental and social scientist with interests in human-environment interactions and more specifically extreme weather events, and human behaviour and how we can make sustainable living achievable for everyone. I joined Exeter in 2010 to complete an ESRC-funded PhD research project primarily designed to reveal publics perceptions of droughts and climate change and have since gone on to join the national RCUK-funded Drought and Water Scarcity Programme for which I am currently compiling a database of historic drought information incorporating a large collection of new oral testimony recordings.
Before joining Exeter I had spent the majority of my 25-year career managing community sustainability initiatives in the UK, driving down food miles, increasing organic production, popularising eco-tourism, separating waste streams, promoting cycling and walking, designing safer streets, shining a spotlight on the unacceptable trade in tropical hardwoods, monitoring air, water, and noise pollution, helping households to increase their energy efficiency, and fiercely protecting and enhancing urban green spaces as valuable urban ‘lungs’ and essential wildlife refuges. I have designed a number of public parks and sensory and wildlife gardens and was Principal Environmental Advisor at the Royal Horticultural Society for three years.
Seventeen years ago, I picked up a voice recorder for the first time to make short environmentally-themed packages for a weekly news and current affairs programme on local radio. Ten years later, the recorder came out again, to capture memories of the impacts of the 1976 drought. This has now grown into a national collection of drought and water scarcity recordings intended to add detail to the historic weather record and provide a more reliable social data source for climate models and forecasts.
I passionately believe that we can all substantially reduce our ecological footprint but to do it we need to learn how to live better with nature. I live with my husband in a Passive House we designed and built together, which I use as a laboratory to explore zero energy and waste living. It’s surprisingly luxurious.
Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society
Broad research specialisms
Environmental Oral History
Classic Grounded Theory
Meteorological extremes; Droughts and Floods
Water management and water efficiency
PhD Human Geography (Exeter) 2014
MSt Community Enterprise (Cambridge) 2004
Diploma Science Communication (Birkbeck) 2000
BSc (Hons) Environmental Science (Plymouth) 1998
Drought and Water Scarcity
Water Resources Management
Environmental Oral History Collections
Zero Energy Living
RCUK Drought and Water Scarcity Programme
Historic Droughts and Water Scarcity
A systems-based study of drivers, impacts and their interactions
ENDOWS: ENgaging diverse stakeholders and publics with outputs from the UK DrOught and Water Scarcity programme.
External Engagement and Impact
Social Science Co-ordinator for the RCUK Drought and Water Scarcity Programme
Secretary to the Oral History Society Environment and Climate Special Interest Group