the teachers pdf

Ruth Oettle,
Environmental Science Graduate,
University of Lund

The Environment for Sale?

My love of science started from early age. I was member of CSIRO’s Double Helix Science Club for many years, and was involved in the Double Helix Drama Club, presenting science theatre around Tasmania as well at the Australian Science Festival in Canberra and also at the APEC Youth Science Festival in Seoul, South Korea.

After finishing school at Friends’ and a year on a Rotary exchange in France, I went to the University of Tasmania and studied a combined Bachelor of Arts and Economics degree, majoring in Environmental Studies and Analytical Economics. After finishing my undergraduate studies, I thought postgraduate study in another country would be a pretty cool thing to do, and I was lucky enough to be accepted into a Masters program in Environmental Studies and Sustainability Science at Lund University in Sweden. This was a very competitive process – 300 applicants around the world applied for just 35 places in the course – I couldn’t believe that I got in and that I was the only Australian accepted!

The Environment for Sale?

My thesis topic combined my interests in the environment and economics – I looked how at market based incentive schemes (like carbon trading) could be used to protect biodiversity. I analysed five different schemes from Australia and the USA and looked at which ones were working best and why – and what we could do in the future to provide financial incentives to preserve biodiversity in fragile areas.

Having finished my studies, I’m now back in Australia and have applied for several graduate positions. I’ve worked at CSIRO Education as an education officer, as a tutor in Economics and French at Jane Franklin Hall, and a research assistant dealing with the public in Sweden, and I think these experiences really improved my communication skills. In the long term, I hope to work in an area where I can really make a difference!

In my spare time I like reading, bushwalking, playing the guitar and learning other languages. I hope to be able to speak five languages well enough to understand the jokes!

The thing I like about science and its related study areas is there is so much to learn and so much we don’t know, that it is an area which is never boring, always changing and really, really interesting! I believe science communication is also really important as being able to tell someone about what you have discovered is essential!

Find out more about economics and the environment with well-known environmentalist Tanya Ha – Tanya is visiting Launceston during National Science Week (16 – 17 August) and talking about how science can be used (and misused) to sell us stuff.