To celebrate Pride month (June) 2022, IEMA is speaking with members who are LGBTQIA+, to find out what they are doing in the sector and to hear their thoughts on LGBTQIA+ inclusion in the environment and sustainability profession.

Who are you?

My name is Juliet Long. I’ve spent the last twenty years working in the nuclear and radioactive waste sector – as an operator and as a regulator – and I’m currently Chief Strategist for Site Decommissioning and Remediation at the UK’s Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA). I’ve been a Chartered Environmentalist for over 15 years and was delighted to be invited to become a Fellow of IEMA in recognition of my work in the nuclear sector and in radioactive waste management.

What’s your role in the environment and sustainability sector?

I always loved the outdoors and did geochemistry at university, because I wanted to understand better ‘how’ the environment works. I had dreams of working outdoors – but I soon realised that actually, working with industry, was a better way in which I could help contribute to better outcomes for the environment. That realisation led me into consultancy and from there into helping establish the first environmental management system at the UK’s Atomic Weapon Establishment. I’ve never looked back – I’ve been lucky enough to help shape our approaches to decommissioning and radioactive waste management across the UK and internationally – seeking more strategic and sustainable solutions, better policies and greater collaboration.

How do you describe your LGBTQIA+ identity?

I’m a lesbian – and the highlight of my life was marrying Sarah just last October!

wedding photo
Juliet and Sarah on their wedding day

What does your organisation do?

The NDA is responsible for delivering decommissioning and clean-up of civil nuclear sites including Sellafield and the old Magnox sites. We’ve got an immense challenge of tackling many legacy issues of high hazard facilities, land contamination and programmes that stretch out over the next 100+ years. But it’s a fabulous privilege to be involved in this work – helping deliver transformation of our sites and supporting local communities, as well as wider UK aspirations for sustainability in considering better ways of delivering our clean-up mission.

Do you feel like the environment and sustainability profession is inclusive for LGBTQIA+ individuals?

Inclusivity is fundamental to the environment and sustainability profession – both in terms of what the work involves and how we do it. In my experience everyone involved in the profession recognises the value of diversity of thought and the need to think holistically about what we do. It makes it a vibrant and exciting profession to be part of.

What do you think the environment and sustainability sector could do to improve equality, representation and inclusivity for LGBTQIA+ professionals?

Because inclusivity is so fundamental to what we do I think there’s a danger that sometimes we forget to celebrate it. I’d encourage greater visible leadership across the sector from LGBTQIA+ professionals – both within the sector, but also in reaching out and supporting other sectors who might not yet be in the same place!

Please note: the views expressed in this blog are those of the contributing individual, and are not necessarily representative of the views of IEMA or any professional institutions with which IEMA is associated.

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Tom Pashby

Digital Journalist, IEMA

Tom Pashby is a Digital Journalist at IEMA, working alongside the Head of Media Abigail Simmons, and the Senior Media Officer Tim Farmer.

Alongside their work for IEMA, Tom is currently studying part-time for an NCTJ Diploma in Journalism with PA Training, and freelances as a writer and editor. They have written about the climate emergency, LGBTQIA+ rights and the UK constitution for publications including the Times, the i newspaper, Metro, PinkNews and the Ecologist.