I’m a British academic and college-level teacher who lives and works in the United States, and who thinks and writes about climate change, energy, and the future of civilization.
I want to be useful to society, and firmly believe in the mission of democratization and of the development of reason in public affairs that was the mission of the enlightenment and of the early RSA. That’s why I applied to join the RSA. I want to contribute to that mission, particularly regarding these twenty-first century problems.
If I could change anything in society, it would be the unreasonable and class-ridden distinction between “white collar,” “brainy” work and “blue collar” work primarily done with one’s hands, particularly the technical occupations and trades. It took me far longer to learn to be a competent mechanic and technician than it ever took me to get a PhD, and it was far harder to do. I don’t understand why we discriminate against intelligent manual work, and I think this holds us back as a society.
I suppose this means I’m an idiosyncratic and unorthodox academic, as far as the expectations are concerned for that particular role in life in 21st century American colleges and universities. I’m not very ivory-tower-ish. I’m just as interested in doing as I am in thinking, and in fact find a balance of both to be essential.
This is all mostly due to my background and education. I’ve had a very varied working life. I started out in the UK military, where I was a member of Royal Air Force Mountain Rescue, and trained as an aircraft engineering technician at the RAF’s Number 1 School of Technical Training, RAF Halton (intake APD 34). I served for just under seven years, working on everything from Chipmunk piston-engined trainers to Phantom jets. As a partial result, I’m a very competent mechanic and itinerant engineer, as well as a veteran rescue team leader. I use these experiences in my work in renewable energy academics and in work I do as a volunteer for Maine search and rescue.
I also spend a lot of time teaching others to do these kinds of things. I also spend a lot of time thinking about these kinds of things, and why the planet is the way it is, right now. I particularly worry that stopping climate change is actually more to do with fixing buildings and replacing energy systems than it is to do with science and conventional academics and that it just won’t get done if we don’t get some more practical people on the job. Every one of my students gets at least some experience in these practical things.
But I also write about these problems. The most useful of my academic work in recent years in these regards is the reflective writing I’ve done on my blog Sustainability Thought and Deed. You can also read about various fun and engaging projects I do with my students.
I hope you’ll visit my site and read and comment. If you have a question about sustainable energy technology or climate change, I’ll be glad to try to answer it.
Mick Womersley, PhD, FRSA
Professor of Human Ecology
Lead Faculty, Sustainable Energy Management Program
90 Quaker Hill Road,
Unity, ME 04988
Activities PW 203,
207 509 7259