Cara Lynn McHardy
Norwegian University of Science and Technology
Antwerp, Belgium
Member ID 1986
Member since Jul 02, 2019
Status Active


Recent MSc. IE graduate with 10+ years of prior professional experience


The effective communication of ecologically-sound responses to complex environmental issues has been my career-long pursuit. Whether it be in academic research or consulting, I look forward to practicing the technical skills and policy knowledge recently achieved in a 2019 Master of Science in Industrial Ecology.

I am not a typical recent graduate, as I spent years gaining practical experience before pursuing further studies. I have participated in both on-the-ground and administrative work for several environmental NGOs. After working as a sustainability educator and permaculture consultant in the USA, the desire to understand how people create sustainable solutions to local issues in other cultures led me on a journey around the world. Time spent sailing in a small boat through the Pacific islands and Asia afforded me a glimpse of the devastating impacts our consumptive lifestyles are wreaking on even the most remote ocean regions. I was inspired to seek an educational path which would allow me to become an expert in reducing anthropogenic environmental impacts. My MSc. study involved a broad spectrum of courses including environmental politics, climate change mitigation, GIS, biodiversity analysis and ecotoxicology as well as LCA, MFA, EE-IOA, and environmental impact quantification (LCIA, ERA). My thesis is focused on mismanaged plastic waste and its impacts in the marine environment.

Through teaching, volunteering, off-the-beaten-path travel and academic study, I have learned that principled solutions tailored to local contexts are needed in order to support our growing human population while staying within planetary boundaries. I use my skills in precise scientific research and quantitative reasoning to frame issues, while a broad perspective and effective communication contribute to innovative and collaborative output.

Research Interests

Quantifying mismanaged plastic waste in lifecycle impact assessment
GIS spatially-explicit impact assessment
Climate change mitigation and adaptation
Circular economy
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