Emily Byrnes

Bachelor of Arts
Associate Program

Emily Byrnes graduated from The Gap State High School in 2017, receiving an OP 1, a scholarship to study Mandarin at the National Taiwan Normal University (MTC) as well as the Academic Excellence Scholarship to study at UQ. Emily accepted the latter scholarship and embarked on her UQ studies initially through the Bachelor of Science program, majoring in chemistry, with aspirations to use her degree in the field of environmental conservation. 

However, Emily was disenchanted with the dominant paradigm underpinning environmental sustainability research and strongly felt that for the environmental movement to succeed in preserving life on our planet, there needs to be a radical shift of focus within the movement. She took a gap year in 2019, embarking on a solo van trip around Australia in order to explore the various complex ecosystems around the country and determine for herself what the natural environment needs from the human race in this time of ecological crisis. 

She concluded that no movement can be built without a firm foundation. Thus, focus must shift from the development of environmental science and technology to the ethic at the basis of the movement, because only from that point can the movement grow and flourish into the radical success that humanity needs so desperately today. Furthermore, Emily believes that this success also depends on the inclusivity of environmentalism; the movement's ability to incorporate social and economic justice alongside environmental activism.

In 2020, Emily returned to UQ and began studying a Bachelor of Arts, majoring in philosophy, with a strong focus on social justice, ethics and environmental philosophy. 

Emily Byrnes