OPEN Fellow – Nick Mount


BSc (Jnt Hons), Geography and Geology, University of Bristol, UK. PhD, Environmental impacts of landuse change on river systems, Liverpool John Moores University, UK. Academic Director, University of Nottingham Online. Member of International Scientific Advisor Board to Colombian Constitutional Court Sentence T-622, Bio-cultural rights of the Rio Atrato. Member of International Association for Hydrological Sciences working group on data-driven modelling. Co-developer of the University of Nottingham Environmental Leadership and Management MSc programme. Water lead on the Leverhulme Modelling and Analytics for a Sustainable Society Doctoral Training Centre.

Interests & Passions

I am passionate about the beauty of the natural world and its potential to uplift, to heal and to inspire. I am committed to doing what I can to enable my children’s generation to benefit from a sustainable world that offers them with the same richness it has offered me.


Nick Mount is the Academic Director of the University of Nottingham Online and Asociate Professor in the School of Geography. Nick has spent the last two decades improving our understanding of how rivers and hydrological systems function and has published widely in scholarly journals and consulted with public and private organisations. He is a committed field worker and has been priviledged to have had the opportunity to gain lots of first-hand learning by getting his boots muddy in river systems across the globe. Nick’s approach to his work has seen something of a transition over the last decade. Initally a committed scientist, Nick’s experiences (and numerous mistakes) have led him towards a more socio-environmental stance that recognises the inextricable connections and feedbacks between the social, political, cultural and spiritual activies of people and the functioning of the environments in which they happen. Nick would argue that no environmental problem can be solved by science alone, or by the work of remote ‘experts’ who may have little situated knowledge of, or personal investment in it. Instead, he asserts that the key to addressing environmental problems lies within the diverse knowledges, practices and agencies of the actors and stakeholders that comprise the problem itself – and that this can (and should) include the natural system itself. This means that devising and implementating environmental solutions should be participatory, informed by the voices of human beings alongside data from natural world, community-led and empowered from the bottom-up as much as from the top down. This approach has been the bedrock of Nick’s most recent work supporting the ethnic and indigenous communities of Colombia’s river Atrato in their fight to stop the ecocide driven by illegal extractive industries by implementing and realising the world-first, bio-cultural rights awarded to the Atrato by Colombia’s constitutional court in 2016.

Why am I an OPEN fellow?

To engage with, empower and learn from those with the knowledge and insight to deliver sustainable socio-environmental solutions. As an OPEN Fellow, I am committed to connecting different constituencies of change agents for sustainability in the search for practical and realistic solutions. This means re-thinking who should ‘lead’, and empowering local communities and environmental activists through partnerships with Universities, NGOs and business that recognise the value of others’ knowledge and that build on foundations of mutual learning. As an OPEN Fellow I have the opportunity to challenge embedded ideas about how future sustainability solutions will be found, who will find them, and to develop the innovative and relevant education that will be needed to implement them.

How can I help change agents?

I will work to foreground and empower the work of change agents at the community level and advocate for their situated knowledge(s) and the central importance of participatory and co-production approaches to devising and implementing sustainable solutions to socio-environmental issues.

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