10 changemakers creating a more sustainable world

15 Feb 2021

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As part of Siliconrepublic.com’s Sustainability Week, we want to direct your attention to a few people fighting for a more sustainable world.

Read more Sustainability Week stories on Silicon Republic.

While individual action around creating a more sustainable world can feel like an uphill battle a lot of the time, creating social norms and standards around sustainability is where the power truly lies when it comes to effecting change.

When individuals in society raise their expectations for governments, businesses and corporate leaders and demand action, it will force them to start making the bigger changes needed to make a real difference.

Many people around the world, from academics and scientists to consultants and business leaders, are already making waves in the sustainability space. Siliconrepublic.com has rounded up 10 of these changemakers that you should know about.

Anja Murray

Anja Murray is an ecologist with a background in environmental science. She is also an environmental policy analyst and advocate, highlighting the importance of protecting the natural world, wildlife and ecosystems.

Murray has worked on both Irish and European environmental policy. She also presents the environmental television programme Eco Eye on RTÉ and presents a radio series called Nature File on Lyric FM.

Ian Caveney

As the head of Tech for Good at BT, Ian Caveney leads the company’s strategy for developing breakthrough tech that can help fight against the climate crisis and provide support to vulnerable people.

This includes examining how 5G and smart cities can help lower carbon emissions and how AI and connected devices can support the health and wellbeing of the world’s ageing population. Before his current role, Caveney was head of sustainable business at BT.

Cara Augustenborg

Dr Cara Augustenborg is an environmental scientist and a fellow in environmental policy at University College Dublin. She was appointed as an adviser to Ireland’s Environmental Protection Agency in 2016 and to the first National Dialogue on Climate Action in 2017.

Augustenborg conducted her doctoral research at Ireland’s agriculture and food development authority, Teagasc. She also presents Down to Earth on Newstalk FM.

Kim McClenaghan

Kim McClenaghan is director of advisory energy and utility practice at PwC, playing a key role in the firm’s low-carbon emissions strategy and policies. McClenaghan is a leading expert in the role of energy in the transition to a low-carbon economy.

McClenaghan was also the co-author of the BITCI and PwC Low Carbon Pledge report released last year, and said that “harsh lessons” have been learned from the Covid-19 crisis that could likely accelerate efforts to reduce carbon emissions across industries.

Ilona Kickbusch

Prof Ilona Kickbusch is a German political scientist best known for her contribution to innovation in global health and health diplomacy.

She is the founding director and chair of the Global Health Centre at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva and has had a distinguished career with the World Health Organization and Yale University.

Kickbusch has contributed in a number of ways to the discussion on the interface between sustainable development and health promotion, particularly in terms of the world’s sustainable development goals. She was named a global health reformer by The Lancet in 2017.

Daniele Novara

Dr Daniele Novara uses his BSc and MSc in energy engineering, along with his PhD in civil engineering, to focus on hydropower energy recovery. He is originally from Italy but is now based at Trinity College Dublin, where he is the managing director of university spin-out Easy Hydro.

In a Start-up of the Week profile, Novara told Siliconrepublic.com that Easy Hydro “designs and supplies an innovative renewable energy technology consisting of low-cost and durable water turbines”.

Gabi Zedlmayer

Gabi Zedlmayer is a social innovator who has been working with global organisations on solving social and environmental issues in collaboration with NGOs, governments and companies.

She previously worked as chief progress officer for HP and HPE, leading a global team of experts focused on solving social issues and driving sustainability programmes. Zedlmayer is now a member of several advisory boards and an international speaker on sustainable management, social innovation and the future of work.

Brian Ó Gallachóir

Prof Brian Ó Gallachóir is professor of energy engineering at University College Cork. He is also director of SFI research centre MaREI, where projects include transitioning to a low-carbon economy, leading action against the climate emergency and harnessing energy from marine and coastal resources.

Ó Gallachóir’s research has underpinned significant policy developments including Ireland’s Climate Action and Low Carbon Development Act 2015. At the 2020 Science Foundation Ireland Awards, he took home the Best International Engagement Award.

Tara Connolly

Having previously worked for Greenpeace as the EU climate and energy policy director, Tara Connolly now works for Global Witness, an international NGO that aims to stop the exploitation of the planet’s natural resources.

Connolly obtained a BA in European studies from Trinity College Dublin and an MSc in sustainable development from TU Dublin.

Conor Linehan

As the head of William Fry’s environment and planning group, Conor Linehan’s work covers pollution control licensing, habitat and protected area controls, environmental impact assessment, the legal aspects of waste management, contaminated land issues and land-use controls.

He is the Irish Government appointee to the international panel of environmental law expert arbitrators at the Permanent Court of Arbitration in the Hague, working on the resolution of environment and natural resource disputes. He is also a vice-chair of the International Bar Association president’s task force on climate change justice and human rights.

Jenny Darmody is the editor of Silicon Republic