Lancaster professor makes Woman’s Hour Power List 2020

Professor Rebecca Willis
Professor Rebecca Willis

A Lancaster University professor has been listed in the Woman’s Hour Power List 2020: Our Planet.

Rebecca Willis, who is Professor in Practice at Lancaster Environment Centre, was selected for the prestigious list, celebrating UK women making a significant contribution to the health and sustainability of the environment.

The full list was announced during Monday's BBC Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour, with Professor Willis at number 22.

She said: “I’m so pleased to be part of this amazing group of women. We work in many different ways, but we all share a determination to fight for a healthy environment. I’m in such good company, and it’s buoyed me up for the struggles we will, no doubt, continue to face.”

She explained: “I look at ways to make our democracy work better so that we can tackle the climate crisis together.

“I was inspired to do this because I was struck by how little we talk about climate change, particularly in political debates. There’s been a tendency to ‘leave it to the experts’. We really need those experts – like scientists and economists – to help us understand the problem, but in a democracy, they can’t, and shouldn’t, make decisions for us.

“The climate crisis will affect all our lives, and we need to work out what we do about it collectively, as a society.”

This year Professor Willis was an Expert Lead to Climate Assembly UK, which brought together a hundred people from across the country to discuss how the UK can reduce greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050.

She said: “As a woman, I’ve benefited from the incredible wisdom, collaboration and support of the women I’ve worked alongside, as well as those who came before me, when it was so much more difficult to forge a path: women like Mary Robinson, who is an absolute hero of mine.

“I’d like people to realise that what they say and do really counts. Talking about the climate crisis, using your vote, protesting when you don’t think things are right. These are all so important, and there’s good evidence to show that they have an impact.

“I feel optimistic about the future. There’s a very noticeable and totally understandable increase in people’s concern about the damage that we’re doing to our climate and to the natural world. Alongside this, then been an upsurge in people speaking out, and in a sense of determination to tackle these challenges, together.”

Back to News