School of Geography, Environment and Earth Sciences

Benjamin Speedy –Environmental Studies

April 2012

Benjamin Speedy is in the second part of a Masters degree in Environmental Studies.  He has had many different jobs in New Zealand and around the world but felt like he needed to do something that was useful and rewarding.  He had always had a passion for the outdoors and believes that the protection of the environment is the greatest challenge facing the world.

Ben’s undergraduate degree was in Tourism. After completing that he travelled around the world doing a variety of jobs including a snowboard instructor, deckhand on yachts and selling holidays. He is currently working at the Ministry of Environment as an Emissions Trading Operational Policy Analyst" and believes that studying Environmental Studies helped him secure that role.

Ben’s thesis will look at how sustainable urban design will feature in the redevelopment of Christchurch after the devastating earthquakes.

This topic appealed to him as he believes it is a current issue and an amazing opportunity for New Zealand to get the chance to redevelop a city in a sustainable way. Ben believes the way we design urban areas, where the majority of people live, can have a great impact on the environment.

Ben says: “I think the most significant learning so far has been the different styles of solutions to environmental problems.

"Sometimes we can get so focused on the problems that it can be very overwhelming.  Therefore it is very positive to learn about the variety and success of responses, despite the fact that they can often seem very few and far between”.

Ben has travelled a lot in his life and he thinks that “travelling can be an education in itself and having the opportunity to see first hand the challenges that different cultures are facing, and their solutions, definitely made me want to come home and study environmental studies”.

He believes that what we do here in New Zealand does affect people on the other side of the world.

Ben has  found the course challenging but admits that “when you study something that you are really interested in it makes it a lot easier, you are a lot more motivated and assignments can be enjoyable.

"I think studying environmental studies at Vic has equipped me with the skills to have an exciting career in environmental decision making", says Ben. Ben has enjoyed many elements of the course “I’ve really enjoyed meeting lots of different people who are like-minded but have a different outlook on life than myself. The variety of thesis topics is amazing and it’s really interesting discussing environmental issues with everyone.”