Our latest recruit, all the way from Australia, for the Landscape Innovations team…
Name: Alan Sargent
Job title: Consultant
Qualifications: BA in Liberal Arts and Sciences – Governance (Albert-Ludwigs Universität Freiburg); MSc in Nature, Society and Environmental Governance (University of Oxford)
Welcome to 3Keel! How has your day been so far?
Engaging work-wise and also quite social; it’s wonderful to be able to meet new colleagues at the office. This morning I drafted a proposal structure for a project summary report, and then had a call with a colleague to update the 3Keel website. As I am now answering these interview questions, it has been quite a varied day!
You’ve joined 3Keel completely remotely because of the Covid-19 pandemic. How have you found it so far, and how do you stay connected to the team? instead of Welcome to 3Keel! How has your day been so far?
I think the rise of remote working driven by the pandemic has had both positive and potentially negative impacts on my time at 3Keel so far. Although I started working online, fortunately the team has been very kind and always open for introductory chats, making my induction smooth and enjoyable. I have also found that the online project work can help facilitate communication, allowing for a pretty dynamic working experience – especially in terms of the range of client interaction you can have in one day. Now that we are working on a hybrid system, I like to come into the office a couple of times a week to catch up with the team.
What have you started working on so far?
As a consultant in the Landscape Innovation practice area, I have been working on a number of Landscape Enterprise Networks (LENs) projects around the UK. Helping to build local networks to co-invest in nature-based solutions is varied and challenging work. It involves a range of activities, from report drafting and spreadsheet work to stakeholder engagement and workshops. With Covid restrictions easing, I am hoping that occasional site visits and in-person engagement will be happening again soon as well.
What are you looking forward to most about working for 3Keel?
I am excited to work in a well-regarded, progressive environmental consultancy, and to be able to help shape 3Keel’s development over time. I am also keen to be a part of 3Keel’s friendly and collaborative working culture, and to learn as much as I can from my colleagues to deliver high quality project work. Finally, I am happy to be living in Oxford once again, no longer a student this time but part of the 3Keel community.
Who or what inspired you to work in sustainability?
My love of the natural world and desire to see it flourish was instilled within me early in life. As a child in Australia, I spent a lot of time in Tasmania, where my Grandfather ran a guided trekking company, as well as on my extended family’s dryland crop and merino wool farm in central New South Wales. After completing my undergraduate degree in Germany, I returned home in time to experience the 2019-20 Australia bushfires. Over that summer, I understood that I wanted to work in the environmental field.
How has the pandemic affected your views on sustainability?
While the pandemic hasn’t necessarily changed my own views on sustainability, I do believe that it has presented us with an opportunity to take a good look at how we have structured our economies, land-use strategies, and collective priorities. It highlights the need to shift our understanding of nature away from ‘something to exploit’, or even ‘something to protect’, towards an understanding that we are part of nature and, therefore, that our wellbeing relies on nature doing well. Our values and structures must change to reflect that.
When you’re not working, what do you like to do?
When not working I tend to spend time pursuing a range of hobbies, including keeping active through hiking and cycling, learning languages, doing a bit of gardening, finding and reading good books, maintaining a social life, and – when time allows – travelling to see family and friends in Australia, Germany, Italy and elsewhere.
For those wanting to learn more about sustainability, what key resource (tv, film, book, podcast, etc.) can you recommend?
Personally, I find the most engaging pathway to learning about nature and sustainability is through the stories of people who engage with these questions every day in interesting and novel ways. Recently, I have been listening to an Australian nature podcast called ‘Off Track’, which engages with academics, farmers and other practitioners on the many challenges facing the Australian landscape, as well as the weird and wonderful creatures one can find there. More on the sustainability side, I have also been listening to ‘The Regenerative Journey’, in which farmers discuss their personal experiences, as well as the technical specifications, of implementing methods of regenerative agriculture into their farming businesses.