Skip to content
What's on

You and the planet: the new normal

Online event


the Royal Society YouTube channel


We will be collecting audience questions in advance so if you have anything you would like to ask on the topic, please submit your questions to help guide the conversation on the night.

Aerial view of apartment complex next to a green field and river. Image credit: Mr Twister

Combating climate change and protecting global biodiversity was at the top of the world’s agenda before COVID-19 struck. And, while battling the pandemic remains at the forefront of global efforts, the climate crisis has not gone away.

With the world on lockdown, rapid changes in how society functions and travels have revealed some promising climate benefits, from falling carbon emissions to nature reclaiming land. People have had to change how they live and this presents an unprecedented opportunity to take greener and more sustainable steps forward. 

Moving towards a green economy where sustainability and climate resilience are a higher priority is crucial. At the heart of this transition should be people and the places they occupy, to ensure the benefits are shared, and that decisions that affect the many are not just taken by the few. 

Join our panel of experts as they discuss the so-called just transition and, as society emerges into the “new normal”, the opportunity we are presented with for a fair green recovery.

This event is being held in partnership with The British Academy

Subscribe to the Royal Society YouTube channel, or follow us on Twitter @royalsociety or Facebook @theroyalsociety.

If you have any questions about the event, please reach out to us at  


The event will be hosted by the BBC’s Chief Environment correspondent, Justin Rowlatt

Pete Smith is Professor of Soils and Global Change at the Institute of Biological and Environmental Sciences at the University of Aberdeen (Scotland, UK) and Science Director of the Scottish Climate Change Centre of Expertise (ClimateXChange).  His interests include climate change mitigation, soils, agriculture, food systems, ecosystem services and modelling. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Biology, a Fellow of the Institute of Soil Scientists, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, a Foreign Fellow of the Indian National Science Academy, a Fellow of the European Science Academy, and a Fellow of the Royal Society (London).

Kanyiva Muindi is an Associate Research Scientist at the African Population and Health Research Center working within the Urbanization and Wellbeing Program. She has worked on various projects addressing the causes, course and consequences of urbanization in sub-Saharan Africa, and has vast experience working within urban informal settlements. She is currently a Royal Society FLAIR fellow, with her research focusing on mitigating household air pollution in rural households in Machakos County, Kenya, through the introduction of bio-ethanol as a cleaner cooking fuel option. Kanyiva is passionate about air quality and is especially interested in lay perceptions of exposure to air pollution and effects of this exposure on health. She holds a PhD in Epidemiology and Public Health from Umeå University, Sweden.

Jim Skea is Professor of Sustainable Energy at Imperial College London with research interests in energy, climate change and technological innovation. His current main role is as Co-Chair of IPCC Working Group III for the 6th assessment cycle. He was Research Director of the UK Energy Research Centre 2004-12 and Director of the Policy Studies Institute 1998-2004. He has operated at the interface between research, policy-making and business throughout his career. He was a member of the UK Committee on Climate Change from its inception in 2008 until 2018. He is currently chairing Scotland’s Just Transition Commission. Until June 2017, he was President of the UK Energy Institute. He was awarded a CBE for services to sustainable energy in 2013 and an OBE for services to sustainable transport in 2004.

Harriet Bulkeley holds joint appointments as Professor in the Department of Geography, Durham University, and at the Copernicus Institute of Sustainable Development, Utrecht University. Her research focuses on environmental governance and the politics of climate change, energy and sustainable cities. Harriet currently Co-ordinates the H2020 NATURVATION project examining the role of urban innovation with nature based solutions for sustainable development. In 2014, Harriet was awarded the King Carl XVI Gustaf’s Professorship in Environmental Science and a Visiting Professorship at Lund University, Sweden and in 2018 was granted the Back Award by the Royal Geographical Society in recognition of the policy impact of her work on climate change. In 2019, she was elected as a Fellow of the Academy of the Social Sciences and as a Fellow of the British Academy. 

Attending this event

  • The event will be livestreamed on the Royal Society YouTube channel on 29 October at 6pm
  • The event is free to join, and there is no registration required
  • Live subtitles will be available

Related events

You and the planet: the new normal

Join our panel of experts as they discuss the so-called just transition and, as society emerges into the “new normal”, the opportunity we are presented with for a fair green recovery.

Was this page useful?
Thank you for your feedback
Thank you for your feedback. Please help us improve this page by taking our short survey.