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Dr Cedric Tan is a lecturer in Innovative Education for Conservation at the Wildlife Conservation Research Unit, Department of Zoology.

Why is Oxford a good place to work in research related to environmental challenges?

Environmental challenges are multifaceted. The university provides a platform for collaborating with multidisciplinary academics top in their fields. Specifically for my interest on large carnivores, I work with researchers from the social sciences, education and zoology. My other research stream examines the effects of innovative teaching on conservation awareness. I have had the opportunities of collaborating with the talented public engagement officers, gamers, IT technologists, artists and videographers of the University to create and roll out my public engagement activities.

Additionally, the University provides many opportunities to develop and test novel approaches of engaging the public. The multiple seed funds and grants supporting international collaboration have provided financial support for 5 of my projects and I am extremely grateful for that.

What is the biggest environmental challenge facing the planet right now?

I would say it would be the combination of an increasing human population with the lack of public awareness on environmental issues. These two will lead to increased consumerism and the neglect of environment sustainability in top-down approaches, which drive an increasingly negative impact on the environment.

Despite the challenges, are you optimistic about our future?  

Yes definitely! I strongly believe that education is a powerful tool for changing mindsets and behaviour. If every individual were to take one small step in changing their daily actions, I believe collectively the difference will be substantially beneficial for both humans and the natural environment. Additionally, the public when having a concerted voice can lead to environmental policy changes. That would be mean we can take steps now to build a positive future.

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