With an Environmental Science background of 7 years, Jessica has always been drawn to climate change related work.
At a technical and professional level, she is involved in the master planning of more resilient and efficient urban environments (providing advice on how they can absorb more water, heat stress and wind for example, and be less carbon intensive during construction and operation). From a business development perspective, she is involved in organising thought leadership events on how to finance more climate resilient developments (e.g. infrastructure, agriculture, buildings etc.). Lastly, in her private capacity, she gives presentations to various interest groups on the facts and science of climate change, drawing from the skills she learned at the Climate Reality Leadership Training she attended in Johannesburg in 2014.
After completing her qualification, Jessica worked in local government where she was involved in environmental conservation, planning and sustainability assessments of local developments. She then moved on to the private sector, to a multinational consultancy called Mott MacDonald where she was in charge of sustainability thought leadership for their sub-Saharan Africa offices. There, she undertook her first climate change strategy for a coastal municipality, KwaDukuza. Jessica then moved on to a planning and urban design company where she was the in-house environmental planner and climate change adviser. She was part of the team working on the Durban Aerotropolis masterplan, a city planning initiative to develop a trade and business hub between the harbour and the airport of Durban.
She recently returned to Mott MacDonald as a member of their Climate Resilience Initiative. Her task is to promote internal and external thought leadership in the climate change space, and to promote – specifically – climate resilience thinking in the projects their technical professionals undertake throughout the world.
Her interest in climate change issues was stimulated as she witnessed that the climate is really changing, and that this change is omnipresent and pervades all sectors of society. Jessica believes that all those who have an appreciation of this reality have a moral obligation to spread this message in order to change behaviours, to educate and to influence decisions. This is why she is part of the Climate Reality movement which she feels drawn to, especially from a city planning perspective. She’s indeed convinced that the dense urban environments we live in will undoubtedly be hard hit in future.