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One Planet Living – Playing Jenga with Nature

Professor Darryl Newport

Thursday, 7 July 2022,
18:00 to 20:00
Location: 
Waterfront Building, Ipswich

Lecture

Are we truly aware of the dangers that we face if we continue down our current unsustainable path?

Unsustainable exploitation of the natural world threatens food and water security of billions of people. Affluence has continuously increased resource use and pollutant emissions far more rapidly than they are being reduced through better technology or process.

Environmental efficiency cannot mean simply getting more from less, as this may still exceed the ultimate limits of the earth’s carrying capacity, especially as the World population grows. We need fundamental shifts in production and consumption patterns, careful attention to value and supply chains, and the fostering of circular resource use and circular economies. There is a clear need to look at decarbonising material extraction and use, whilst moving to a fully net zero economy.

In addition, the environmental pressures on individual species due to climate change and overuse of the world’s natural resources, whether renewable or not is irreversible. The rate of species extinctions is accelerating, with ever increasing detrimental impact on people around the world and this is happening now. The planet’s ecosystems face several thresholds or tipping points that if passed, would seriously threaten the capacity of nature to provide the support for human societies that we take for granted.

Darryl will discuss how continuous extraction of the world's limited resources and heavy carbon industry will have a catastrophic effect on biodiversity and the future of humanity and show, through his research, the opportunity to make dramatic change to material use and carbon reductions within the built environment.

Biography

Darryl Newport (Professor of Energy and Sustainable Development) is the Director of the Suffolk Sustainability Institute at the University of Suffolk. He is adjunct Professor of Sustainable Materials Engineering at the University of East London. He has a wide research interest, working in a wide range of interdisciplinary areas including those relating to Infrastructure, resource management and the Built Environment with a focus on renewables and low carbon energy solutions. The overarching aim of his research is to develop practical decarbonised solutions which can be delivered rapidly to enable effective mitigation of climate change. He has been highly successful in his field winning national and International multi-million-pound grants in a range of projects (FP7, Horizon 2020, ERDF and InnovateUk). He is keen to develop collaborative opportunity with both internal and external academic colleagues and external agencies and businesses e to enable swift and effective responses to current and future industry and societal challenges, improve collaboration between academic research and the business community, making sure that research outcome can be exploited for the benefit of Society.

Professor Newport is developing several living laboratory demonstrator solutions to enable research that will provide quantitative analytical models and tools in real-time.. One example is the work he is doing with the Digitech Smart House (DiSH) Demonstrator a collaborative, research facility that aims to demonstrate the regional capacity for the design, build and occupation of sustainable homes. The project will address two of the most pressing concerns that we face: climate change and the impact the construction industry has on quality low carbon affordable homes. The Facility will be used as a ‘living laboratory’ and demonstrator by the Institute and a range of third-party innovation partners. Adaptability is an important feature of the design, with space likely to be used by multiple researchers/ departments testing a variety of infrastructure, materials, methods, and equipment.