Investing in people and the planet

 

 

 

The way we run our investments and the way we run our business models and the way that we run our economic models, we are not living within the capacity for the Earth to support human life.

 

Samuel Mann:

Welcome to Sustainable Lens, Resilience on Radio, a weekly show on sustainability topics brought to you by Otago Polytechnic. The show is co-hosted by Shane Gallagher and me, Samuel Mann. Each week we talk with someone who is making a positive difference and applying their skills towards a sustainable future. In our conversations, we try to find out what motivates them and what it means to see the world through a sustainable perspective through their sustainable lens. Tonight’s sustainable lens is that of Dr Robert Howell whose new book, Investing in People and the Planet, is published by …

 

Robert Howell:

It’s available through Quaker Books, so if you go to the Quaker website and you’ll be able to find it there (quaker.books@quaker.org.nz).

Samuel Mann:

So let’s take a few steps back. Where did you grow up?

 

Robert Howell:

Napier.

 

Samuel Mann:

What was it like growing up in Napier at the time?

 

Robert Howell:

It was very interesting because … I went to Victoria University and spent ten years in Wellington then came back to Napier as city manager and when you come back as city manager, you see the city through different eyes. Did you know that the largest storm water pumps in the country are in Napier? And the reason for that is that the earthquake my parents went through – the 1931 earthquake, so that was part of my upbringing but it never did it’s job properly. It only raised the land so far and the water didn’t drain, so coming back and looking at it in different eyes was great. Looking back now, my father wasn’t rich but we were well looked after and we had a reasonably good upbringing. It was Pakeha didn’t take much to do with Maori but it was a reasonable education and some happy times.

 

Samuel Mann:

What did you want to be when you grew up?

 

Robert Howell:

Originally, I looked at being a minister of religion but I went to university and I guess that was part of my growing up and I didn’t become a minister of religion.

 

Samuel Mann:

So what did you do at university?

 

Robert Howell:

Well, I did philosophy originally. I’ve got a masters in philosophy and then I went … I had to years in broadcasting and then went the health sector and eventually I joined a small innovative unit that was headed up by management consultants to improve the efficiency of Wellington Hospital and I didn’t know nothing about management and even less about hospitals, I learned a hell of a lot.

 

Samuel Mann:

Can I just take another step back. Why philosophy?

 

Robert Howell:

Well it was part of the religious stuff, but when I look back now, I guess I had a skill and an innate desire to sort out the basic fundamental questions on life. I wouldn’t have put it like that, they just interested me. So that was part of the philosophy stuff.

 

Samuel Mann:

Did you know at the time what you were going to do with it, or didn’t it matter?

 

Robert Howell:

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