Skip to main content


Loading content
Dr Rebecca Pearce

Dr Rebecca Pearce

Postdoctoral Research Fellow

 Amory C255


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
Archive research
Classic Grounded Theory
Meteorological extremes; Droughts and Floods
Water management and water efficiency
Behaviour change
Sustainable living


PhD Human Geography (Exeter) 2014

MSt Community Enterprise (Cambridge) 2004

Diploma Science Communication (Birkbeck) 2000

BSc (Hons) Environmental Science (Plymouth) 1998


Research interests

Drought and Water Scarcity

Water Resources Management

Environmental Oral History Collections

Zero Energy Living

Research projects

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

Committee/panel activities

Social Science Co-ordinator for the RCUK Drought and Water Scarcity Programme

Secretary to the Oral History Society Environment and Climate Special Interest Group


Supervision / Group

Back | Edit Profile