Published 10 February 2020
“For me, SEI is a figurehead in this battle to restructure our relationship with the natural world, targeting all involved parties at state, institutional and community levels.”
Could you tell us about your background and previous work?
Just when I thought I had escaped university, it decided to suck me right back in. Luckily this was an exciting return, a chance to cross campuses and to inform my friends I was Hogwarts’ newest employee. Having recently graduated from a Bachelor of Communications at the University of Technology Sydney, I said farewell to my old Jenga block home and hello to the sandstone castle of the Sydney Environment Institute’s headquarters.
Like most people in their 20s, my early professional life has been an eclectic mix of experiences as I try to navigate the professional world. I’ve directed short films, assisted in organising Sydney’s largest film festival, travelled around NSW teaching school kids about the vitals of colour coding notes, managed the PR for the International Grammar School, adopted the khaki shorts as a zookeeper at Taronga Zoo and can make a mean piña colada, always topped with a little umbrella of course.
Coming from a background in film and journalism, I have always leant towards more creative communication mediums. Starting off the new decade with SEI, I hope to bring some of my video production skills and visual thinking to the team and work with them to help bring to life these fascinating research projects in new creative communication ways.
What inspired your interest in working with the SEI?
At the end of last year my life was confronted by two horrors – figuring out how to be an “adult” after finishing university and of course the devastating bushfires that continue to still burn today. Safe to say this sobering reality check of choking skies, charred landscapes and singed carcasses of Australia’s beloved national icons, led to me spiralling into a nihilistic rut. This coupling of a quarter-life crisis and the Earth’s cries for help culminated in a fortunate career and life change. For years I had written journalistic stories about species extinction, the lingering feeling of eco-anxiety, and community upheaval due to fossil fuel companies and natural disasters. The films I had made always revolved around some connection to the natural environment, an attempt of trying to capture its natural beauty through a camera lens. So when the opportunity to join SEI’s team came about, the timing couldn’t have been better. At SEI, now I can channel this anger and despair into something more constructive, something that will lead to tangible and necessary change. For me, SEI is a figurehead in this battle to restructure our relationship with the natural world, targeting all involved parties at state, institutional and community levels.
“I’m very excited for what’s to come this year and for the opportunities to engage with the public in developing constructive solutions to our environmental crisis.”
What are the environmental issues or problems that most interest you?
Growing up on Sydney’s northern beaches I’ve always had a strong connection to the ocean and its turbulent tides. It wasn’t until 2016, that I got to witness first-hand the environment fighting back and reclaiming its stolen land. Neighbours’ backyards were washed into the ocean and supermarket carparks became new homes for the marine life of Narrabeen’s Lagoon. After this shocking event my relationship with the environment changed into one of action and intrigue. I wanted to understand how society’s relationship with the environment had turned into one of hostility and conquest. And how we can motivate people to restore the balance. For me I’m particularly interested in eco-anxiety and the recent emotional responses to climate change enhanced natural disasters, as well as understanding the social structures and economic systems that have fuelled this entitled greed and pillaging of the land. I’m also interested in how to implement technological solutions to the climate crisis through the community level such as solar micro-grids and waste management solutions whilst reshaping school curriculum so as to prepare and educate our youth to become leaders in the fight against climate change.
Genevieve Wright has recently graduated from a Bachelor of Communications majoring in both Media Arts and Production and Journalism at the University of Technology Sydney. With a keen interest in the psychological responses to the climate crisis, Genevieve hopes to imbue her creative film background into community programs that centre on transforming school curriculum and empowering communities to lead the way to a renewable future.