Would you like to study Sciences in the UK? Join us to hear about Dr Mill’s research on the impact conservation initiatives have on the environment and people. Hear why some initiatives have world-wide success, whilst others fail, and how her discoveries are applied by practitioners and policy makers.
About Dr Morena Mills
Dr Mill’s research on the impact conservation initiatives have on the environment and people, has been applied by practitioners and policy makers. Now she is preparing the next generation of practitioners, by directing the Masters in Conservation Science Course at Imperial. Join us and learn more about her experience in working in the UK.
What inspired you to become an Environmental Social Scientist?
I believe understanding human behaviour is critical to solving environmental challenges. People threaten the environment through overconsumption and land use change, but they also protect the environment. We need insights from environmental social science to understand what motivates people to adopt more sustainable behaviours.
What are you working on at the moment?
I am investigating what, how and why biodiversity conservation initiatives spread around the world and what impact they have on the environment and people. Billions of people depend on nature for their livelihood, food security and wellbeing. Unfortunately, we are currently living through a climate and biodiversity crisis jeopardizing nature and the services it provides. My lab’s work seeks to understand why some conservation initiatives have reached scale (i.e. been adopted by hundreds or thousands or people and villages), while so many others have faltered. Understanding these characteristics is critical to ensure practitioners and policy makers can develop initiatives that have a positive impact on people and nature and that reach scale.
What is the part you enjoy the most about your profession?
I love the opportunities to meet and work with brilliant people of all walks of life. This week I met with Chief Raoni Metuktire and Chief Megaron Txucarramãe, two chiefs of the Kayapo people, a tribe which was only contacted by white people in the mid twentieth century. We discussed how science and technological advances could help improve their wellbeing and protect their forest.
What do you consider your biggest achievements?
The first is having my science applied by practitioners and policy makers. I have collaborated with government and NGOs around the world to inform their strategies and practice. These collaborations involve a lot of work, but they are also very satisfying because you can see the impact of your science soon after you finalize the results. The second is engaging in education of either the next generation of conservation science practitioners, by directing the Masters in Conservation Science Course at Imperial, or children. I’ve helped develop two environmental education programs. One in Brazil called Agua focused on the importance of aquatic ecosystems and one in India called Wild Shale focused on the relationship between people and local wildlife.
If you had the chance to give advice to your younger-self, what would that be?
Work hard for what you believe in.
What skills and abilities do you consider important for women to develop?
I would encourage women to seek leadership skills, including public speaking, negotiation, facilitation and conflict management. We need more women in leadership roles.
What advice would you give to women who are thinking about studying in the UK?
London is an amazing city and full of opportunities. I am inspired by diversity, energy and new ideas.