The Burntwood Lecture 2019 with Professor Sir Ian Boyd
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The Burntwood Lecture 2019 with Professor Sir Ian Boyd

When: Tuesday, 19 November 2019
18:15 - 21:30
Where: Institute of Physics
37 Caledonian Road
London N1 9BU
United Kingdom

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Due to step down from his position in October after seven years of service, Professor Sir Ian Boyd will share his extensive knowledge and experience of working in the UK government at this critical time. 

Sir Ian will discuss the structure of three dominant discourses about the future of the environment and why these are foundational to the future health and wellbeing of people. It will examine each in turn and suggest that we need to recognise their existence against a background of the reality of thermodynamic change which defines the arrow of time. Slowing time represents the slowing rate of thermodynamic change and this translates into the rate of dissipation of resources to higher entropy states. We need a set of policies which explicitly slow this process. This means re-balancing two major trade-offs; material consumption-waste production and land consumption-biodiversity loss. To achieve this, our economic thinking and actions need to shift substantially towards demand-side solutions.

Our speaker

Professor Sir Ian Boyd is a biologist based at the University of St Andrews who has spent much of his career researching marine and polar science. He described the functional relationship between the rate of marine resource consumption, by fisheries for example, and the impact on ecosystems. His research also extended to the effects of specific human activities like oil and gas development and anti-submarine warfare on the marine environment.

Sir Ian spent seven years as the Chief Scientific Adviser on food and environment in the UK, based in Defra. In this role, he produced a number of influential reports on waste and resources and the future of the seas. He was also responsible for leading the re-design of the science advice process within Defra and played a pivotal role in the response to the nerve agent attack in Salisbury in 2018.

He has been highly recognised for his achievements throughout his career and awarded the Bruce Medal for polar science in 1995, the Scientific Medal of the Zoological Society of London in 1998, the Polar Medal by the Queen in 2017 and most recently received a Knighthood as part of the Queen’s Birthday Honours in June 2019. His current interests lie in developing models of sustainability to support new policies.


Jill Rutter, Senior Fellow at the Institute for Government, will Chair this year's Burntwood Lecture.
During her career, Jill has been a senior civil servant within Defra, No.10 and the Treasury. She is currently a Senior Fellow at the Institute for Government where she has directed the Institute's work on better policymaking, including the use of evidence and science advice on government. Within this role she has also overseen the Institute's Brexit programme and work on Arm's Length Bodies (ALBs). 

The Burntwood Lecture is returning to London on the 19th of November. This flagship event provides an opportunity for an eminent speaker to talk on a current, critical and often controversial environmental theme. The invited audience, numbering around 140, come from the environmental professions, universities and government. The evening includes canapés, drinks and plenty of opportunities to network.


18:15 - Registration and drinks
19:00 - Welcome from the IES Chair 
19:10 - Welcome from the evening's Chair
19:15 - The Burntwood Lecture
20:00 - Q&A Session
20:20 - Canapés, drinks, mingle
21.30 - Close


To find out more and book your place, please click here


The Institution of Environmental Sciences (IES) are a professional body licensed by the Society for the Environment to award Chartered Environmentalist (CEnv) and Registered Environmental Technician (REnvTech) status 


Professional bodies licensed to award the Chartered Environmentalist registration:

Society for the Environment
EC1.1 Enterprise Centre, Puma Way 
Coventry, West Midlands CV1 2TT.
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