Established a decade ago, Media and Environmental Communication (MEC) BA Hons programme is a unique one in the UK, in that not only equips students with the required knowledge to critically engage with current climate movements, but it does so without narrowing your opportunities after graduation to a specific industry or sector. Some common areas to find work in may be with charities, green businesses, PR or social media, but the course opens you up to so many more opportunities. So if you are like me, without a specific destination in mind, I hope this blog will give you some idea of where to begin your environmentalist journey.
Despite having received other offers, it was easy for me to choose the MEC course, and that is because there is something that makes this course stand out, namely the opportunity it offers to examine the science behind natural processes, as well as how they are (mis)represented in the media. I have just completed the second year of the MEC course, and I thought I could share some helpful information on how to get involved with the environmental scene in Brighton.
Probably the most important thing you can do is to volunteer with one of Brighton’s many environmentally focused charities. Being involved in one of these organisations, will give you the opportunity to apply the theoretical knowledge acquired in class, and Brighton is surely the best place in the UK for you to find an environmentally focused organisation that truly speaks to your green heart.
As a MEC student, you will undertake a month long placement at an organisation of their choosing, thereby ensuring you will get, at the very least, a sneak peek of what it means to work in the environmental sector. Some of the environmentally focused charities that I have worked with and that welcome volunteer support include Brighton Permaculture Trust, Brighton Peace and Environment Centre, Extinction Rebellion and Stanmer Organics. But there are endless amounts of opportunities in other green charities and organisations in Brighton.
Find your own path. Become an entrepreneur.
Working and volunteering for other organisations is an absolutely incredible thing, and these organisations really do rely on the help from enthusiastic volunteers. But some innovative and creative people will find a gap in the market for a service or product that should exist, and pursue a business venture alongside their studies. I am in the midst of starting a new environmentally focused business project currently called “Ecobie”, a product which aims to reduce the eco footprint of having children. Like the traditional Finnish baby box, the plan is to provide new parents with a box full of parenting essentials, but with eco friendly alternatives to everything they need when caring for a baby, such as reusable cloth nappies.
Ok, this idea is very much in the early stages of development, but so far the University of Brighton’s support service for young entrepreneurs ‘Beepurple’ have helped me develop this idea, supporting me to develop an action plan of how to bring this business to life. Beepurple run a five day summer course, where the team give support and advice to a group of ambitious entrepreneurs who are all looking to start their own business venture. The course was absolutely fantastic, listening to fascinating speakers and networking with like minded people was a genuine and valuable experience.
Creative Outlets and Final Thoughts
I would also stress the importance of finding a creative outlet, something you can do in your downtime but also learn interesting skills. Student life can get very stressful during essay and exam periods, so looking after your own mental health with creative outlets would be a very good idea. Musical instruments, knitting, drawing or gardening can all be mentally restorative, practical downtime hobbies. My own creative hobby is woodcraft, making jewellery and wooden sculptures that I post on instagram and sell on Etsy. If you like humble wooden crafts, do give my instagram page Lucid Woodcraft a follow!
Third year will be interesting, trying to balance my business project alongside studies along with other commitments, although so far the amount of help I have received from the University and the experience gained through placement and volunteering will aid me through this endeavour. Exploring the environmental sector while studying, both through volunteering and your placement, is certainly an asset when it comes to finding your place in the charity/non-governmental sector, as well as in the media and creative industries. Luckily, the city of Brighton, the University and the Media and Environmental Communication BA (Hons) course provide the perfect starting point to your environmental journey.
Post by Matias Watkins, 3rd year Media and Environmental Communication student.
*Featured image and note-taking image by Patricia Prieto-Blanco.