Categories
communication education museum science

Telling the story of science

Amadeo Enriquez-Ballestero is science presentation co-ordinator at Otago Museum.

If we all did a little bit, we could make big differences in the world.

My motivation is offering the experiences that I would have wanted as a child to kids around New Zealand, and seeing that I can make a difference.

Don’t stop feeling life – do logic after you have felt something – otherwise life is worthless.

We are facing another major extinction, and maybe we can do something about it – the dinosaurs went extinct due to rapidly decreasing oxygen levels, we are facing with a similar issue of sky-rocketing carbon dioxide levels. We’ve seen it happen before and if we don’t do something about it, humans will become extinct.

Categories
community computing

Creative technical innovation

Dr Will Simm is a Senior Research Associate with the School of Computing and Communications at Lancaster University. He works in short lifecycle community-led digital technology innovation projects.

Playful in space you wouldn’t expect

Prototypes to understand problem space, not as a solution

Perhaps the grandest challenge of our time, but beyond problematising individual’s behaviour.

Equip policy makers to change the system

Categories
community dunedin youngleader

Empowering for change

Connor Boyle of the Malcam Trust has a diverse range of interests stretching including climate science, growing and cooking food, writing and playing music, mindfulness and mental health, social enterprise development, and building interactive digital sculptures. His current work focusses on engaging young people in making a difference – to their own lives and the community.

I’m motivated by my love of people, the natural world and music.

We have to learn how to be human in an enviroment which we have a profound ability to effect.

You shouldn’t need permission to stand up for the things that you believe in.

Categories
community environmental entrepreneur Inequality maori

Change through questioning

Mawera Karetai wears so many hats it hard to know where to begin.  Mother, Business owner, blogger, RMA Commissioner, Benefits Review panelist, Conservation Board member, school board member, Capable NZ facilitator and Otago Polytechnic’s first doctoral student.  But underneath it all, and not very far from the surface (if not completely visible) is a passion for social justice.


Talking points

Social justice is intolerable to me

Be mindful of the things that you can do

It breaks my heart

Sustainable:  That it’ll still be around for my great grandchildren to enjoy. By being mindful.  That’s the Māori way.  That’s how whakapapa works.  We represent everything that came before us and everything that will come after us.  So where I stand right now, I’m not standing for myself, I’m standing for all of them.   We all have to have that mindset – every decision we make is not for us, it’s for everyone who came before us who got us here and everyone who will have to live with the consequences.  That’s mindful decision making.

Success:  My kids – extraordinary human beings.  Thoughtful, environmentally responsible, socially responsible and intolerant of injustice.  They’re fair, kind, loving human beings – and if they are representative of our future then I feel like I’ve done a bloody good job.

Superpower: Questioning things. Disruption by questioning things.

Activist: No, noI don’t really know what it is, but it has a lot of negative connotations.  I’m a lover.  I love people, I love life, I love my environment. I love the future and I love the past. I love everything, and there’s no negative connotations in that.

Motivation: That I can make change happen.    I lie in bed at night and think ‘what did I do today’ – reflect on my day, ‘was there anything I could have done to make it better? is there anything I wished I hadn’t done?’.  Every day is another opportunity to make change happen.   Some days it’s just changing your socks, other days it’s changing the world.  It just depends what opportunities present themselves that day.

Challenge:  Honouring people who have been victims of a system that has failed them over and over again.  And hopefully having found some way to prevent it happening any more.

Miracle: Impossible dream.  100 billion dollars and go forth and do incredibly good deeds. Buy rainforests, buy polluting  companies buy all the dairy farms in New Zealand and the water bottling plants, buy them all and close them down.   But I know that’s an impossible dream – there is no such thing as a magic wand, so instead I’ll just go and ask people a whole bunch of questions because I can do that for free.   Impossible dream one question at a time.

Advice: Question – When you get out of bed tomorrow morning what can do you do to make a difference in the world that you live in.

Categories
design education leadership

Professional Disobedience

Welby Ings is Professor of Graphic Design at AUT.  His recent book Disobedient Teaching is causing big waves in the education community.  We ask Welby what drives him, and how professional disobedience can change the world.


Talking points

We need to play in the unknown

The terror of poverty

There is nothing beautiful about being poor

She doesn’t think I’m stupid…I loved her

There are people in dire environments who actually effect change.

You don’t need to tell someone that they’re awesome, show them that you understand that.  Ask their opinion of something, or ask their advice about something.

Often when we’re trying to repair someone who has been damaged and people say “what do I do, what do I do”, I say ask for their advice.  Ask their opinion.  Ask them to show you some stuff.  The crap detectors  are very good, they’re going to spot it when you are patronising.    But ask something you don’t know the answer to – hanging a gate, you say this isn’t working, do think there’s some other way we could try – when they realise that you are genuinely asking them, it makes a big change inside you.

When you are bit wounded you’re very sensitive to what’s false, so when you get something sincere, it has immense power.

It doesn’t have much to do with hierarchy, it seems to have to do with agency.

Cynicism is the death of hope and the death of agency.   If you live in your world cynically then you are not going to do anything to change what is there.  All you will do is accommodate and be witty about how negative it is.  But you have given away the agency to change because you have divorced yourself from the thing.

If you are a teacher and you are role modelling that then you are doing a very dangerous, very toxic thing to kids.

If you’re in an organisation where you are trying to grow the health of it, you’re doing bad things for people who admire you, because you are teaching them to become inactive.  You’re putting wit over the top of it so it sounds clever, but is actually the abdication of the power to change things.

A lot of people who do effect change have a mixture of optimism and common sense.   They do function with high levels of hope and high levels of belief and they refuse to relinquish that – even when an environment turns toxic they defiantly hold onto it.

Oftentimes those people who are effecting change are not necessarily in empowered positions on hierarchies, and they threaten people in them because their talent is more, and they are genuinely the true leaders.

People endure because they have spirit and they set up relationships with other thinkers and they care for those other thinkers

Understanding how the system works – not in a bitter way – but fundamentally.  The worst thing you can do with someone who opposes you is give that oxygen.

As soon as someone sees themselves as binary to you, they can put aside the morals, the ethics of how they behave.

 

If you want to have influence, do not let people hate you, don’t give them that.

I don’t (have a definition of sustainability) because the idea is so important but the word is so polluted.  I have a sense, but I try not to use the word.

Success:  Been loved.

Superpower:  I don’t know, I don’t believe in heroes, what I do believe in is generosity and courage.   How I measure if what I’ve been doing is working is the amount of agency that gives to people, even to the point that they might disagree with me.  Heroic is a very dangerous thing, it dumbs things down and it turns people into role models and that’s not sustainable because it’s not sustainable – it’s not a true thing, we’re flawed, flawed human beings.

Activist: Yes.  Active.  Quite a long history.   The point where I wasn’t I think I’d’ve lost a sense of value in myself.

I see activism as a hugely affirming thing.   Affirming things that are not usually acknowledged.

Motivation:  I’m passionate.  A lot of my friends died of Aids, and you begin to understand what a life was, and you don’t waste it.  It’s an extraordinary thing to have you health and a society that has got relative freedom in it and your talents, those are extraordinary things.

Opportunities:  New feature film.  Painting.

Relentlessly optimistic?  Yes.

Miracle:  I don’t understand war. I don’t have a frame, but it’s wrong.  It it’s wrong to kill people for ideas.  So world peace.  But it’s not going to happen like that, it’s going to take a different kind of mind.  But it’s not a wish, it needs an alert, critical positive mind.

 

 

 

Categories
community

Making little things count

Tony Smith is chair of Sustaining Hawkes Bay Trust.   We talked about that role, and his career through computing and education. Tony’s family live in a wonderful home, built to celebrate a sustainable future so we talk about that too.


Talking points

See connections, join the dots.

It’s not a matter of environmental values being at odds with financial economic values – those things align.

Sustainability:  An all encompassing term.

Success: At personal level, electric car.   Hawkes Bay, traction on zero waste.   But not for profit sector is highly fragmented.

Superpower: Being aware of sustainable concepts in day-to-day decisions.  The awareness that the little things we do do add up and make a big difference.   Super-mini-man, making things count.

Activist: Probably not, I was more active.

I don’t see a conflict of activism and being a professional.   The definition of a profession is that it is self-monitoring.  So that works at an individual level.  The whole point of being a professional is that you analyse, you meta-cognate on what you are doing and why you are doing it.   If you see something that you don’t like then it is your professional ethical responsibility to do something about it.  So I don’t see activism being in conflict with professionalism at all.

It would be nice if people had more of a view of their similarities rather than differences.  I would like people to look for commonalities rather than try to create divisions.  It’s all to do with “them and us”.   My hope for humanity is that we get better at having a bigger “us”.

Small things do count.

 

Categories
education Inequality sociology values

Transforming education

Vaneeta D’Andrea is Professor Emerita, University of the Arts London. An edcuator and sociologist, Vaneeta literally wrote the book on improving teaching and learning.   Vaneeta has a belief in the role of values so we talk about where those came from, and how that has influenced her career including what she describes as the disconnect in education.


The obligation to the other people we share the world with.

Opinions are valid, but that’s not evidence in my class.

Challenge of how to make people consider lives of other people more seriously

Sustainable: try to act in ways that will sustain the planet.    We’re seeing the impact of a non-sustainable world on the current generations.

Success: funding for research what it means to be a “western academic” – the role of affirmative feedback.

Superpower:  Experience.  47 years of experience in higher education.

Activist: Yes.  I won in 1972 a sex discrimination case against my employer.  It was a precedent that allowed other people to make claims.

I don’t see (activsim and teaching) as mutually exclusive.  I don’t have an agenda about my activism in my teaching, I just try to model what I consider to be good human behaviours and hope that people respect that.

It’s a question of what you accept as evidence.

Motivation: Opportunity to work with people and chance to facilitate their learning and my learning – the opportunity to learn something every single day of my life.  Being a learner and helping other people learn.

We don’t have a tendency to be able to abstract – we’re very concrete thinkers – we have to have something concrete in front of us, we have to see that this action affects this action, affects that action.   Unfortunately with issues around sustainability, you can’t see immediately the impact of that one decision, say to recycle that piece of glass. And you can’t make the leap of that to the climate problem. So when scientists say they can see this relationship, people feel threatened by that – because they think “well I don’t see it”, what are these smart guys trying to do, and then there’s this resistance to the smart guys because we can’t see the relationship, we can’t go there.   Questions around sustainable practice are really challenging because of that level of abstraction that’s required.

Challenge: More of these projects learn something everyday.   Helping institutions reconceptualise their learning and the way that they function – and bringing a sociological perspective to that.

If you slow down you will stop.

Miracle:  Progressive governments to make the lives of more people better.

 

 

Categories
participation regeneration

Aiming for potential

Dr Dominique Hes is a Senior Lecturer  Melbourne School of Design, Faculty of Architecture Building and Planning.  She is director of the Thrive Research Hub and co-author of Designing for Hope: pathways to Regenerative sustainability.   We talk about enriching relationships and designing for possibility.


Talking points

Happiness not wealth

We’re not trained to think of ourselves as nature

Enriching relationships

Designing for possibility

Aim for potential – not just solving a problem

The machine doesn’t know how to break the rules

We’re just aiming for sustaining when we need to be aiming for thriving

Identifying the irresistible narrative – the capacity to develop with positive ripples.

Sustainable: Sustainability is a part of the mechanistic worldview of us saying “how can we manage the system better?” I am critical about the definition of Sustainability, I align much closer to the definition for regenerative development which is to work on projects which increase the vitality, the viability to constructively adapt to change.

Success: Seeing the lights go on in my students eyes, seeing them change from passive consumers to active participants.

Superpower: My superpower is networking, remembering who I have met so that I can connect to them.

Activist: No, to be an activist it means if you don’t agree with me I’ve failed, instead I’m a educator. It’s up to you whether this story fits within your life, your narrative and your way of thinking, I’m not going to enforce it upon you.

Motivation: Curiosity, I’m curious about everything and its potential.

Challenges: I’m looking forward to learning how to slow down, as much as I am taking a time cut instead of a payrise, I still don’t really feel like I have the time to really read or reflect. So, I’ll be going back to two days a week as soon as I can to create that time.

Miracle: That people saw their potential in creating a thriving future, that people switched from passive consumption to active participation, being alert and present with the issues at hand.

Advice: Slow down, It’s as much about finding how you can thrive in the system as how you can help the system thrive!

This conversation was supported by Wintec‘s Centre for Transdisciplinary Research and Innovation.

Categories
design transport urban

Redesigning cities for people

Skye Duncan is an urban designer who is the Director of the Global Designing Cities Initiative at the National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO) where she has been leading a multi-year program funded by Bloomberg Philanthropies to develop the new Global Street Design Guide.  We talk about changing the narrative to a people centred urban design.


Talking points

I realised a passion for urban scale – designing cities

Urban design is really thinking about cities.  Taking bits of  the languages of architecture, planning, landscape architecture, policy… and pulling all these aspects together and understanding as a designer, how can you try and have a positive impact  – whether it’s environmentally, economically, socially, overall livability.

The design decisions we make from the angle of a park bench…to entire neighbourhood to city-wide policy around public health and environment – you learn to speak a bit of each of the languages.   You need to know a little bit, and when to pull the right person in around the table to make responsible decisions about the future environments that we’re all living in and what we leave for our next generations. .

Looking at how the people use a space tells you 90% of what you need to know….desire lines, goat trails.  Signals in the built environment – signals for how people want to use a space.

It is important that we listen to local expertise.  We can come in with professional expertise, this is what we know is best practice, this is what is done around the world.  But we don’t live on that street, or send our kids to that school.  So understanding what the needs are from that community.

Our streets are our largest public continuous public spaces, but we have applied highway codes  – moving cars as quickly as possible – to communities.  We want our cities and urban spaces to be about people, not about cars.

Guidelines created for cities by cities.

The streets are a contested space but we’ve had the car at the heart of policy decisions.    Now we have a people priority approach.

An inverted hierarchical pyramid.   The car has been king, now the pedestrian is the queen or king of the public space.  Then to prioritise sustainable mobility choices- cycling and transit.  Then making sure we can deliver goods.  And then, when we have space, we give that space to the private car.   This is, of course, highly controversial.

(how do you overcome might is right, speed is right?) Pretty basic: talk about numbers…people die from the speed of our streets. We have the power to avoid that, it’s totally preventable.   Then the environmental side of it.   Physical activity.

One of the most powerful numbers is to talk about the efficiency of space.  Private cars is the least efficient way that we can move people.

We’re all tax payers, but it’s only serving one user – the person in the car.

New canvas for urban life.

Empowering communities to know what to ask for.

We have to give people an alternative. Tipping point of utility.

The bulk of our built environments are already there. So if we don’t go back and ask how are we going to transform those things, we’re going to be in serious trouble.

We have to go back and rethink, redesign our current swathes of asphalt.

Ask what’s possible, and if you have the power to change it, do it.   If you can demand or advocate for something more from your street then do it.

Lowering stress about change.

We have to give people an alternative, if we want  to say people should leave their car at home, we have to make sure they have access to things like car share, bike share, e-bike share.  It’s not about not using cars, just not for every trip.  If we can make it safe to walk to school or the supermarket or visit friends, then we can think about the streets in a different way.

It’s not a matter of if anymore, it’s a matter of when.

Dunedin should be going out and showing how it is done.   This is how we can transform great little cities.

Be proactive, what do we want to become…then design systems to support that.

As communities we have to be proactive and say what do we want to become, how do we protect and enhance what we love and what’s great, and how do we improve what’s not so great.  And then where are the impediments that are stopping us getting there.  Some of them are political, some are detailed policies, some are in changing mindsets – its all of those, and then we can identify how we’re going to get there.

Speak out about it.  Write a letter, speak to politicians – tell them this is the sort of stuff we would love to see in our community.

Sustainable:  A holistic (Brundtland), not the greenwashing version.

Success:  The Global Street Design Guide.  An incredible feeling.

Superpower:   Empowering other people to see what is possible.  Magic glasses.

Activist: Kind of, not in traditional sense, but it’s important to keep challenging the status quo.

Motivation: A better world.  Seeing and feeling change quite immediately.

Challenges: A book supplement  – streets for kids.  And meeting demand since the book was released.

Miracle: Go back to the magic glasses, see the potential.  Every mayor, councillor, city manager…see the potential and understand what they could do to change that so that they feel empowered how to make a difference.

Advice: Open your eyes, be open to change.  Then try and find a way to make your voice heard.  We don’t hear enough positive voices. Take five minutes to think of one thing that you could do in your daily action – professional or not – that would make a difference.  Maybe a phone call or a request, or if you’re a designer, drawing something slightly differently.    Remind ourselves – it seems so basic – our cities are for people.

Categories
community leadership participation politics

Generating good

Georgie Ferrari is Chief Executive of the Wellington Community Trust.  Before that she Chief Executive Officer for the Youth Affairs Council of Victoria for 14 years and before that a variety of roles in the not for profit sector in Australia and New Zealand.  But before all that, she grew up in Dunedin.  Home for a brief visit we talked about making a difference through advocacy.


Talking points

I didn’t want to use my labour to turn a profit for someone else.

To use my power for good, not evil.  So that meant working in the not for profit sector – putting my energy into organisations that generated good in the world rather than money.   I’ve been true to that.   I’ve been driven by that.

Engaging the voice of young people…that’s powerful work

It’s easy to live in a bubble in activism world, we assume that all voices are heard.  And so we live in that bubble…an echo chamber, it’s important to remember that there’s a range of views out there.

We have to read conservative newspapers and engage in the conservative debate, otherwise we forget that a huge percentage of the population think like this.  And then we don’t understand what their arguments are or what their mindsets are and we can’t fight against them.

I’m not spouting some leftie Communist manifesto, I’m just making some pretty basic sense, if a child is traumatised in their lives…no one is looking after them, them trauma plays out, then we lock them up. that’s not working, I think that’s common sense.  If even a deeply conservative politician can go and spend a couple of hours at a youth justice facility and come out and see that, then we can change every heart and mind.

Energised by work I was doing.

Ethical investment: If we give money out in the environment space, but we’re invested in a company that’s degrading the Great Barrier Reef…I’m not interested in doing a little bit of renewal in a creek bed if over here we’re funding a corporation millions of dollars to degrade the Great Barrier Reef – it doesn’t make sense.

Or funding refugees and government bonds of governments creating those refugees – it doesn’t make sense.

And ethical investments strategies are doing no worse over the long term than broader investment strategies,  so the argument is going away.   We have to know that we’re not feeding the problem over here and trying to ameliorate it over here.

 

Sustainable: Living gently on the earth.

Success: Growing an organisation in Victoria that it is not only financially stable and productive, but also deeply harmonious and gentle and supportive of all the staff.

Superpower:  Collaborative leadership.   I’m not afraid to make decisions, but I’m very keen to engage everyone involved.

Kind corporate.   Efficient and effective, but care about each other.  We do need training in that.

Activist: Yes.  (in my new job I have to manage that a bit differently) there are causes to champion, how I need to be an activist is to be provide evidence that these are things we need to fund.   Back room diplomacy rather than in your face advocacy.

Motivation: Knowing that there is far more good done in the world than bad, and wanting to contribute to that good.

Challenges:  Reintegrating back into New Zealand that’s different to what I left.   My responsibility as a Pakeha woman.   Philanthropy across New Zealand can be more effective by working smarter and together to make it easier for our grant seekers.

Miracle: Elimination of all forms of violence.  (smallest thing that would make a difference) Live peacefully ourselves.

Advice: Be kind to your mother.  Ring your Mum.

 

Categories
business innovation

Epic development

Natasha Barnes Dellaca is a founder of Epic Westport.  Before that she had several roles, mostly in the not for profit sector focusing on conflict resolution and then finding a middle ground in social enterprise.  She is driven by the idea of sustainable resilient communities – that don’t have to resort to violence to resolve differences.  Epic is a collaborative work environment and is proving that truly world class can be done from Westport.

Creating community and supporting growth.


Talking points

Be mindful that I am interested in making an impact in the place that I am now

Sustainable: Development in this generation that doesn’t affect the future generations ability to do so (UN definition) what I believe is when you break that down there is sustainability in every day actions as well as the a cumulative impact.

Success: I want to say the jobs that we have created on the west coast of New Zealand, but actually the first thing that came to mind was knowing that we are making a positive impact, that small moment when you see the light bulb go on, when you see the opportunities open up, they get really excited about their ability to provide for their families.  The buzz I get from having a positive impact. 

Superpower: I’m all about making people feel included and heard in the conversation

Activist: Yes, at times. I would love to get out and spend more time protesting, I’ve actively been working on the issues that matter to me, so I’m an activist at heart.

Motivation: Serving my customers and creating a sustainable future for our communities, we have that phrase we have all of human knowledge in our pockets, that really compels me, we have some much information and there are so many obvious social problems so we should do what we can to solve them using the resources available.

Challenges: Some tough negotiations coming up around how we can best use the resources that we have.  

Miracle: The ability for every child to grow up without the threat of harm, physical harm or otherwise.   I’m not quite a relentless optimist, there is this threat of collapse, of apocalypse, so “apocaloptismist”. 

Advice: Be kind and hear each other, see the other person and meet their needs. Find the thing you are passionate about because life is pretty good once you find that.

Categories
botany conservation biology

technogarden at your peril

Dr Shaun Russell is Director of the Treborth Botanic Garden at the Bangor University.   He is conservation biology, having worked to save environments pretty much everywhere – from bryophytes on subantartic islands, to big game in Africa to flower meadows in Wales.

 


Talking points

We need to move beyond fortress conservation

Technogarden at your peril

We have to deal with the complexities of nature, connectivity is key.

We need to value things that aren’t charismatic

Sustainable: Giving to the world more than you take out of it, not the same amount but more.

Success: The creation of the UNESCO biosphere reserve in Southern Chile, stopping the salmon farms, the timber people and the mineral extractions. Getting environment clauses into the constitution of Namibia, the time of independence where sustainability was on the rise.

Superpower: The fact that I have been lucky enough to work around the world, my ability to open people’s mind up and the connections that I possess.

Activist: Not really high profile, I am a part of my local activist groups.  I’m not a type of person who would go and hold a placard, I’m more a working behind the scenes with the students.  Hope for the future. 

Motivation: The love of countryside and wildlife.

Challenges: Leading the biodiversity action plan for the university.

Miracle: The first thing that went through my head was some sort of vast natural disaster that cut the world’s population in half, humans are just going to have to find the balance with nature. Another miracle would be for people in power to start making a difference towards a sustainable future.

Advice: We have limits that nature imposes on us and we are going to have to abide by them.

 

This conversation was made with help of the Sustainability Lab at the Bangor University.

Categories
community conservation biology design education

Loving life: Taking action

Tahu Mackenzie and Harvey Penfold won Audacious this year for their development of PekaPeka – a movable, predator-proof bird-feeding platform designed to feed a range of native birds anywhere.   Tahu is the lead educator for Orokonui Ecosantuary, while Harvey is completing a Bachelor of Product Design at Otago Polytechnic.


Talking points

Teaching people what we can do, what’s been lost and what we can come back to.

10 years into a 1000 year restoration plan

(we asked both Tahu and Harvey these questions – you can decide who said what).

Sustainable:   Closed loop production cycle.  Emotional connection with nature as priority.  Emotional well-being in environment.

Success: Audacious.  Meeting Jane Goodall.

Superpower: Love. Thinking.

Activist: Yes.  Yes.

Motivation: Make dreams come true, working for yourself and provide a great home life.   I feel the most inspired, loved and powerful in nature – I would like everyone to have the opportunity to experience that.

Challenges: Growing business.

Miracle.   Remove predators.

Advice:   You can make a difference in so many different ways – however you passionately connect with the world, I’d encourage people to take action and feel good about it.   Design has made such a difference to me, but I didn’t do it for so long.  So if you feel like you would enjoy something then you should look for ways to make that happen. .

 

 

Categories
behaviour change education

Accommodating well-being

Deirdre McIntyre is Residential Life Manager at Bangor University.   A geographer with a background in areas of outstanding beauty, waste management, and business development, she is now working to improve the well-being of Bangor’s students.   We talk about encouraging student green movements and think tanks, energy awareness, and waste awareness weeks.   Messaging is key and that means treading a careful line between corporate and fun.


Talking points

Bringing the academic environment into the living environment

 

Sustainable: The holistic approach to living as a community and to me sustainability at its heart is really about how we educate and develop the students that are living with us, so they leave evolved and prepared for living as citizens of a global community.

 

Success: Winning multiple sustainability awards over the last few years and engaging with over five thousand students.

 

Superpower: My ability to enthuse people with my passion for anything I get my teeth into, and

generally dragging anyone along with me.

 

Activist: Yes, I’m well aware that people never want anything rammed down their throats, and I think that’s why I’m really good at bringing people along with me because the soft persuasion and living your life as an example, that’s how you can be the best activist.  

 

Motivation: (My four-year-old…) A genuine desire to invigorate other people with my enthusiasm with what I’m doing.

 

Challenges: Once the dust settles in the department, we can look to a constructive future, I would love to see student engagement and satisfaction featured far more heavily.

 

Miracle: Make every student positively engage with us at least once.

 

Advice: Don’t ask for a lighter burden ask for a stronger back

 

This conversation was made with help of the Sustainability Lab at the Bangor University.

Categories
business community ecology electricity generation

Empowering communities

Dr Paula Roberts is a Senior Lecturer at Bangor University.  Growing up in Llanberis she was “concerned about the natural world” and became a Countryside Manager.   Eventually though, she became an environmental scientist – specialising in soils of polar regions.   Passionate about change making, and the Welsh language and culture she now finds herself running a community power company.   Paula also runs an MSc in environmental management and business management – attempting to close the gaps between environment and business.


Talking points

Doing something rather than complaining.

Success: We have an interesting project about reclaiming coal mines in Indonesia, restoring previously damaged and degraded land into a productive resource.

Superpower: Tenacity, the ability to stick with it and keep going.

Activist: Yes, because you’ve got to push boundaries to get resulting change.

Motivations: I’m a cyclist and a mountaineer so I like to keep moving… I like to see places that haven’t been trashed.

Challenges: Getting another community energy project underway.

Miracle: It would be nice to find yourself in a place where the government and the policies are on your side, where they work with you instead of making yourself hit your head against a wall.

Advice: Life is a bit of a rollercoaster, you really never know where it is going, so you just have to learn to stay on.

 

This conversation was made with help of the Sustainability Lab at the Bangor University.

Categories
behaviour change communication community

Positive mindful interaction

Dr Liz Shepherd  specialises in sustainability and wellbeing with a particular interest in energy efficiency and renewable energy.  Liz works with Cartrefi Conwy to improve their overall sustainability and improve the energy efficiency of their housing stock as a means of addressing fuel poverty and improving quality of life for tenants.  Liz is also Bangor University’s Campus Environmental Performance Team’s Energy and Water Co-ordinator.  She is resolutely positive towards a transformative future, and we talk about what that would take.

 


Talking points

The sustainability as “less bad”, without “more good” is not enough.  The world requires a significant change, sustainability has to more revolutionary than that.

We need a transformative level change

The future is bleak without significant change, we’re kidding ourselves with little changes.

Pessimism not a good place to promote change

Nudge and use choice architectures, you should not police

Sustainable: Sustainability is about ensuring that the way we live currently doesn’t have excessive negative impacts on the environment and the people that have to live in it.  Mindful interaction

Success: Writing the sustainability strategy for the Cartrefi Conwy and having it being approved by the board without any need for revision. Another personal achievement was getting a food waste recycling system implemented in the Cartrefi Conwy, which dramatically reduced the amount of food waste going to the landfill.

Superpower: I’d like to think that I am enthusiast and I can make other people enthusiast and things that they weren’t previously enthusiast about, including food waste. (as well as making an awesome cake!)

Activist: No, well I am, but not as much as I think I should be.

Motivation: I believe in the work that we do here, I really enjoy working with the people and meeting and enthusing previously unenthusiastic people, getting people interested in sustainability.

Challenges: Definitely taking on the environmental and energy management for the university, it is a big change for how the university on a whole has managed its environmental impacts. On a personal level it’s not something that i’ve done on such a large scale before, so I see a lot of opportunity for improvement.

Miracle: Firstly, Make everyone vegetarian. Secondly,  find a infinite fuel for everything that we currently use that doesn’t release carbon into the atmosphere and isn’t nuclear.

Advice: Always keep trying no matter what happens, and try and stay positive!

 

 

This conversation was made with help of the Sustainability Lab at the Bangor University.

Categories
education values

Bringing sustainability to the centre

Bangor University is renown for its approach to sustainability.  And at the heart of that is Dr Einir Young.  She is  Director of Sustainability at Bangor University and runs the The Sustainability Lab.   With initial training in agriculture – “the basis for human survival” – Einir now works with many organisations to find effective solutions to complex ‘sustainability’ issues, focusing on generating prosperity through respecting people and living within the resource boundaries of the planet.    We talk about this, and the impact of the Welsh Wellbeing for Future Generations Act.

 


Talking points

 

How people relate to their natural resource base – we’re so pampered.

With you, rather than to you or for you.

Sustainability: Sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs (Brundtland)

Success: Still being here, not just in a corner, instead bringing the issues it into the centre of what’s going on in the university and seeing other people joining in.

Superpower: The power of persuasion, the ability to convey an argument in a persuasive manner.

Motivation: I’m from a very optimistic family and I believe in Wales, I believe that Wales has something to offer the world.

Activist: There are three types of people in the world: people who make things happen, people who watch things happen and people who don’t know what happened. Personally I make things happen.

Challenge: I would like to think that I have left a legacy, being about to retire happily believing that my interests will carry on after I leave.

Miracle: Independence for Wales in a sustainable world, where Welsh language is widely spoken ( at least in Wales )

Advice: Don’t give up, it’s worth the slog.

 

This conversation was made with help of the Sustainability Lab at the Bangor University.

Categories
business local government management

Crowdsourcing development

Dr Jim O’Malley is a Dunedin City Councillor.  We spoke to him about his career as a scientist and entrepreneur, local government, and a crowd funding campaign to buy a chocolate factory (https://ownthefactory.co.nz/).


Talking points.

Things that make a difference

If you feel strongly about something then do something about it

If you say things often enough, it starts to get legs

Rationalisation of money is capitalism at its worst

Large multinationals…are not immoral, they have no moral sense at all, but they are staffed by good people

Sustainability: Sustainability means that the venture lasts way beyond you, there are many economic models out there which are profitable but quickly begin to eat away at the company, what I focus on is finding the balance between a long lasting company and a profitable one.

Success: Getting on the Dunedin City Council.

Superpower: The ability to think before I act and make educated decisions.

Activist: Sometimes, the definition of bravery is knowing what you are facing and still going forward and doing it again, and sometimes I’m a bit too aware so I don’t go forward.

Motivation: Interaction with people, having a varied interaction with people. Sometimes as small as coaching a girls football team, other times as large as getting a factory off the ground!

Miracle: That everybody was quite insightful and we had societies that ran harmoniously and smoothly.

Advice: Do whatever makes you feel right and do the right thing.