John Mann

Imagine a country on a par with prosperous and cosmopolitan Bangkok.  50 years ago Phnom Penh was the “pearl of the orient”.    Then, devastated by decades of invasion, topped by Pol Pot’s genocidal Khmer Rouge years, the capital is now regarded as world head-quarters of pedophilia and squalor.   The heavily populated rural areas fared worse in Pol Pot’s  misguided agrarian revolution.

Imagine an area of 12 villages where no one has been to school.  Ever.   Where twelve hours work gets a dollar a day.  Where there is no social welfare of any description.  Where ordinary families want the best for their children but know that in the short run the only option is to succumb to the sex industry.

The only way out this trap for families of these villages of Don Kong in the Kamchay Mear district of Prey Veng is education – at the very least to able to read and write their own language.

The Cambodian government and a world full of agencies are desperately trying to deal with this.  But until there is a new generation of educated people, it cannot be reversed.

With help of friends, family, and donors around the world, and in particular the Rotary clubs of Australia (so far), John has got 1000 children into three new schools.  Our next project is – he hopes – a high school and a clinic.   None 0f this can happen without your help.    John Mann gives a truly astonishing interview.


Shane’s number of the week: 20,000 hectares of new rain-forest as part of  Willie Smits’  Orangutan habitat restoration.

Sam’s joined-up-thinking: There is not going to be a singular event that definitively  signals “peak oil is happening now”.   Climate Change is the same.   With gradual and insidious change (though with increasing occurrence of catastrophic events in both scenarios) decisions made now need to made in the context of the knowledge of those scenarios.

More on John’s Educating Cambodia:


Mark Miller

Mark Miller is the General Manager, Applied Design Research Centre.

Shane’s number of the week: 1972 – the year when we were warned that the reactors used in Fukushima were reported as having a dangerous design flaw… and the warning was promptly ignored.

Sam’s Joined-up-thinking: As ground based beings we are good at thinking in two dimensions: backwards and forwards, left and right. We can cope with 3D, up and down, but not as well as birds. We can stretch to think of space-time as constituting 4D. Like the beings in Abbot’s Flatland, we struggle with dimensions outside our normal realm. Perhaps Sustainability is another set of dimensions: scale; cumulative time; system connections; and humility.


Air date:  17th March 2011

agriculture climate change

Dr Chris Rosin

Dr Chris Rosin is a Research Fellow at the Centre for the Study of Agriculture, Food and Environment (CSAFE).  As a social scientist  he is responsible for interviewing participating farmers and growers. On the show, Chris talks about the long running ARGOS project.

Shane’s number of the week: 100.  At the present rate of extinction, most species will be extinct in 100 years. Shane’s goes on to discuss Holocene, or Anthropocene, two terms that refer to time periods when humans have had a significant impact on Earth’s climate and ecosystems.

Sam’s Joined-up-thinking: five things the IT profession could be doing towards a sustainable future, and also about the impact of Barbier’s Venn diagram of sustainability.

Air date: 1oth March 2011

environmental entrepreneur management

Dr Sara Walton

Dr Sara Walton from University of Otago (link).  Sara’s  research includes analysing triple bottom line (TBL) company reports and constructions of sustainability, examining ecopreneurial businesses in New Zealand, and business responses to climate change and natural resource based conflicts.

Shane’s number of the week: 319 to 1. On average, a CEO earns 319 times more than the average worker in their company.

Sam’s jointed-up thinking: The Virtues of Ignorance–what would cultures and human interactions in the world look like, if we commenced every endeavor  and conversation with the humbling assumption that human understanding is limited by an ignorance that no amount of additional information can solve?



climate change local government

Cr Jinty MacTavish

Jinty MacTavish is a youth worker, film maker, and now a Dunedin City councilor. Jinty talks about the potential affects of climate change on Dunedin city.

Shane’s number of the week: 200,000 to 300,000 – this is the estimated number of  child soldiers in the world.

Sam’s Joined-up-thinking: Making the invisible visible: looking at the world and understanding the invisible dangers and consequences of our actions on sustainability.