Irene Manton Linnean Society Annual Lecture 2022– ‘Can Democracy Save us from Climate Change?’
The Faculty hosted its 8th Irene Manton Lecture in December, in partnership with the prestigious Linnean Society of London. The event was delivered in person and streamed online via the Faculty’s YouTube channel.
The lecture celebrates the significant contribution made by women to the Natural Sciences and is named after British botanist Irene Manton who, as well as being the first female president of the Linnean Society, studied for her PhD here at the University.
This year’s guest speaker was Rebecca Willis, Professor in Energy and Climate Governance at Lancaster University. Rebecca’s talk highlighted how the only way to steer humanity through the climate change crises ahead, is to restore and rebuild democracy by finding new ways to involve everyone in a collective effort to safeguard the planet that we all call home. Rebecca’s talk was critical of current climate governance but also demonstrated that if everyday people are given a platform to discuss climate change issues, they can generate solutions.
Speaking about the future Rebecca said: “I am not hopeful or optimistic. Like Irene Manton, I am determined. If there’s one thing that unites all of the women I have spoken about today, it is of course determination.”
The evening was an enormous success with a diverse audience watching live in-person and online, including Linnean Society members, University colleagues, sixth form students from schools across the UK and members of the public.
During the events Q&A session, our panel was met with a plethora of questions, prompting valuable discussion. It was particularly rewarding to see students engaging with the discussion, as the lecture aims to inspire those interested in a career in the Natural Sciences.
One audience member was highly praising of the event “One of the best Climate Change lectures I have ever listened to. I deeply congratulate Prof. Willis for a super-articulated speech and insightful engagement.”
Attendees were also asked to describe the event in one word, responding with positive descriptors such as “Determined,” “Goal setting,” “Introspective,” “Thought-provoking,” “Excellent,” “Motivating,” “5/5”, “Inspiring”, “Important” and “Wisdom”.
Robbie Blackhall Miles, Vice President of the Linnean Society and one of the events panel members commented: “As a Vice President of The Linnean Society I recently had the privilege of co-hosting the 2022 Irene Manton Lecture at The University of Manchester. This fascinating, inspiring, and eye-opening lecture by Rebecca is now online. It really is worth a watch.”
Previous speakers have included:
- Dr Kat Coyte, Presidential Fellow at The University of Manchester, with her talk entitled ‘Worlds within our Guts ‘. Watch the event recording here
- Dr Eleanor Drinkwater, PhD student, University of York with her talk ‘Metamorphosis: a 300-year story of intrepid women, rainforests, and butterflies’ (blog article 2020) Watch the event recording here
- Professor Jan Bradley, University of Nottingham with her talk ‘From Man to Mouse’ (blog article 2019)
- Dr Sandra Knapp, President of the Linnean Society of London with her talk entitled ‘Fieldwork in fancy dress? A natural history of women in the field’ (blog article 2018)
- Dr Anna Gilchrist with her talk entitled ‘I’m a butterfly… get me out of here’ (blog article 2017)
- Professor Sheena Cruickshank with her talk entitled ‘On you, inside you: the amazing and horrible world of parasites’ (blog article 2016)
- Professor Dianne Edwards, President of the Linnean Society (2012-2015), with the inaugural talk entitled ‘In the footsteps of Manton: Spores and early land plant evolution (blog article 2014)’