In 1991 I was among the first group of students studying the Environment as a degree course. It was a multidiscplinary course which covered a wide range of subjects from a green perspective including Economics, Sociology, Geography and Politics as well as more "green" subjects such as Ecology and Green Ethics. It was challenging for me with my arts background and not even a biology o'level, but I thrived and ended up with a First Class degree.
I managed to get on to a Masters in Marine Environmental Protection in Bangor University of North Wales. This was much tougher than my degree as it had much more scientific content, but I got through it with a distinction in the taught course. For the final project I spent the summer of 1995 in Strangford Loch Northern Ireland examining the creatures that live on seaweed.
As soon as I had finished the degree, I managed to get a job working for the RSPB in Belfast. My role was to research for and write a report about the state of ASSIs (Areas of Special Scientific Interest) in Northern Ireland. It was only a 6 month contract and unfortunately I wasnt able to get another job afterwards. I temped for a while and just enjoyed playing Irish traditional music in Belfast.
The situation didnt get any easier, so I decided to start a PhD in Environmental Science at Queen's Univeristy of Belfast.
My PhD focussed on the carbon content of Peatlands in Northern Ireland. Specifically, I set about collecting data on carbon density within peatlands right through to the lower depths, some 12 metres in some cases.
I discovered that previous estimates, which had relied only on carbon densities of upper layers, had significantly overestimated carbon reserves in Peat. While this was worrying from the perspective of carbon reserves totals, and for the value of peatlands as carbon reserves, it was nontheless important to get more accurate measures to judge future carbon losses.
By the time I had finished by PhD 5 years later, I had nearly 4 years experience running my own business, Infinet Design.