Published Jun 28, 2022
PhD candidate Injy Johnstone has been awarded the Wellington UniVentures, Jeremy Bloomfield Scholarship. Currently studying a PhD in Environmental Law at Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington, Injy’s research seeks to understand the position of New Zealanders on net-zero and the norms they associate with it. Injy aims to use the findings to develop educational material and highlight key areas of innovation which will allow New Zealand to reach net-zero by 2050.
What is net-zero?
Net-zero means achieving a balance between greenhouse gas emissions and reductions. This entails a shift to a green economy and scaling up the use of clean renewable energy and transport options.
In 2019 the New Zealand Government set a net-zero target through its Zero Carbon Amendment Act. It provides a framework by which New Zealand can develop and implement clear and stable climate change policies. These policies will contribute to the global effort to limit the average temperature increase to 1.5° celsius above pre-industrial levels in line with the Paris Agreement, and allows New Zealand to prepare for and adapt to the effects of climate change.
The Net-Zero New Zealand project
Setting a net-zero target is only the first step in the significant societal shift that is needed. Injy’s PhD research explores how net-zero norms can become legal norms under international law. With the support of the Jeremy Bloomfield Scholarship, Injy aims to gather information about net-zero norms amongst New Zealanders and understand how their everyday actions relate to and co-create net-zero norms, for example, taking an electric bus to work or installing solar panels in their homes. With the findings, Injy will develop educational campaigns to address gaps in knowledge around net-zero practices which New Zealanders can utilise. This data will also highlight gaps in innovation that other New Zealand based researchers can lead on and learn from.
Injy is no stranger to sustainability advocacy. In her professional studies, Injy has completed a Bachelor of Science in Physical Geography and Economics, a Bachelor of Law with Honours on the Paris Agreement and a Master’s in Natural Resources, Energy and Environmental Law as a Fulbright Scholar. Now completing her PhD, Injy is applying her research to drive real change, including this winter as a Visiting Scholar at the Sabin Center on Climate Change at Columbia University. Outside of academia, Injy is the Director of Adapt-Action, a not-for-profit organisation that focuses on providing practical advice on climate adaptation and was a Young Leader at the Global Center on Adaptation. She also previously held a role as Vice Chair of the Endangered Species Foundation New Zealand, where she led on the conservation and education strategy and leveraged funding opportunities.
We were impressed with the quality of applications submitted for this year’s Jeremy Bloomfield scholarship, and it was inspirational to learn about the research goals of Wellington-based postgraduates. Anne Barnett, Wellington UniVentures’ CEO says: “Injy’s dedication for her project really shone through in her application. Both her academic studies and her personal endeavours show her commitment to creating impact. Her project has real potential to be used widely for policy change and in sharing important information with the public about how they can work towards a net-zero future.”
The Jeremy Bloomfield Scholarship was established in memory of Jeremy Bloomfield, Wellington UniVentures’ Senior Education Programme Manager who suddenly passed away in 2019. Jeremy was actively involved in environmental issues in Wellington and worked hard to engage the community. Injy shares Jeremy’s passions, and she is motivated toward community change.
Injy has now started the development stage of her research, which will see the creation of a website and a survey to form the basis of gathering data from New Zealanders. Injy is honoured to be awarded the scholarship and excited to get the project underway. Injy says: “The common theme throughout my work is a determination to turn insights into action, that in turn creates lasting and scalable change. I’m looking forward to developing the project and creating resources based on the insights gained from the survey, all of which will inform the project’s legacy for years to come.”