Sustainable lens on the world

20 September 2021

Imagine you had a pair of glasses that had a sustainability mode.   What would you see if you looked at the world through a “sustainable lens”? 

These lenses wouldn’t merely be green tinted glasses like the ones from the Emerald City in the Wizard of Oz.   Instead, think about the analytical eyes of the Predators (robots) in the Terminator movies.  These eyes scan the landscape, identifying threats, analysing options and proposing actions. Now, think about the sustainable lens on radio…

Each week Samuel Mann (Otago Polytechnic) and Shane Gallagher take a sustainable perspective on current topics in the world around us. Regular features aimed at drawing out connections lead into an extended discussion with invited guests.

We are building up a searchable archive of conversations with more than 270 people from many different fields who are applying their skills to 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.

The archive of podcasts on provides a biodiversity of wisdom, optimism, challenges being faced and things that can be done. It provides a positive forward-looking vision of hope, positivity and empowerment. These are people who are working - at a variety of scales and contexts - for a sustainable future.

Start by listening to Richard Latham and Jennifer McIvor of Wishbone Design Studio. This is an international business; they make kids' bicycles. It's entirely done on a framework of sustainability and quality.  Their dream was for a product that would last from ages one to five, and then be passed on to the next young rider.  They wanted a principle of a 100% repairable product “that would never end up in the landfill”.  They actively promote a second-hand market.  A recent product innovation is the use of recycled carpet for the bike frame. The role of sustainability is also about values in the operation of the business and the relationship with customers.  They said “because we declared our values early on – sustainability and quality – we were attracting customers of that same ilk, the pressure on us was not to drop standards, but to raise them”.   

If we could do business like they do, the world would be a better place.




October 2016