Maria Rampa: Hi, I’m Maria Rampa and welcome to Season 5 of Aurecon’s Engineering Reimagined podcast. Wherever you live in the world, we hope you’ve started 2023 feeling motivated for the year ahead. Whether you’ve been an avid listener since day one, or are joining us for the first time, we hope you find something valuable from this season’s inspiring guests. What can we learn from their compelling stories to help us reimagine engineering, to lead the world to a better place?
Today’s interview is a little different – and happened to provide a nice side project for one of our team during Australia’s long summer school holidays.
At Aurecon we are energised every day by the work we do with our clients as we tackle the opportunities and challenges facing our world. Remember when you were a child and believed that anything and everything was possible? Well, we often talk about how important imagination is to our work and how to tap into that childlike wonder and optimism. We recently invited our people and their families and friends to handwrite, draw or video a 'Dear World' letter sharing their hopes for the future. One of those letters was written by 7-year-old Ashley who called ‘Mother Nature’ his hero.
Given that our podcast explores how, like engineers, people from all walks of life are reimagining the future and their roles in it, we invited Ashley to share his hopes for the future. He is interviewed by his Mum, Suneiah Cullen, who is a Principal Advisor – Transformation for Aurecon’s Energy business.
Suneiah does have some experience on a mic, having initially started her career as a sports reporter, and she now brings her passion and understanding of transformation to our sustainability, climate change and energy work, engaging with industry and governments to create a better future for people and the planet. She is also mum to 7-year-old Ashley and 3-year-old Darcy. Let’s listen to Suneiah and Ashley’s conversation to see what the future generation thinks can be done to help solve arguably the most wicked problem our world currently faces: climate change.Dear World Interview (Suneiah and Ashley)
Suneiah Cullen: Okay, we're just warming up and getting used to the mic again and not moving. Ashley, can you please give me your full name?
Ashley Cullen-Cross: My name is Ashley Cullen-Cross.
Suneiah Cullen: Can you make sure you're a bit closer to the mic, please?
Ashley Cullen-Cross: My name is Ashley Cullen-Cross.
Suneiah Cullen: Hi, Ashley. Can you tell me a little bit about yourself?
Ashley Cullen-Cross: I love to do science. I love making new foods. I love doing pottery.
Suneiah Cullen: Can you tell me anything about your family?
Ashley Cullen-Cross: And my mum loves to do pottery with me. My brother loves to come and cuddle me, my dog, Elwell, loves to come and lick me to death. And my dad loves to take me out to golf.
Suneiah Cullen: Okay. Are we ready to get this podcast kicking?
Ashley Cullen-Cross: Yeah.
Suneiah Cullen: All right. Hi Ashley. Welcome to the Engineering Reimagined podcast.
Ashley Cullen-Cross: Hi Mummy.
Suneiah Cullen: Ashley, recently you wrote a letter to the world that shares your hopes and dreams for our planet and Mother Nature. I thought it was pretty cool, and I was hoping we could have a chat about that today.
Ashley Cullen-Cross: Alright.
Suneiah Cullen: So my first question: In the letter you said that Mother Nature was your hero. Can you tell me a little bit more about that?
Ashley Cullen-Cross: Because she grows plants for us and trees to help us breathe. She makes fresh water for us to drink. She gives us materials to help build houses.
Suneiah Cullen: If you think forward to the future, what do you think the world will be like when you grow up?
Ashley Cullen-Cross: I think that it would be like all ‘futury’ and futuristic, but still, a lot of plants and a lot of animals.
Suneiah Cullen: If you could change one thing about the world right now, what would it be?
Ashley Cullen-Cross: It would be to make humans care more about it.
Suneiah Cullen: I'm pretty sure you've heard of the term climate change. What do you think when you hear that term?
Ashley Cullen-Cross: I think it means that the weather will change, and maybe the Earth will, too.
Suneiah Cullen: What can grown-ups do to help save the planet?
Ashley Cullen-Cross: They can care more about it and grow more plants.
Suneiah Cullen: Okay. What do you think Mummy does in her job when it comes to the planet.
Ashley Cullen-Cross: I think that she helps people make good decisions to help the earth.
Suneiah Cullen: Can you tell me a little bit about what you love about nature?
Ashley Cullen-Cross: I love that it's so green and beautiful. And there's a whole lot of animals.
Suneiah Cullen: What are some of the things you learn about the planet when you're at school?
Ashley Cullen-Cross: I learn about some of the like how trees can help us breathe and we try to grow trees and see what happens over time.
Suneiah Cullen: Can you tell me about your favourite subject at school and why it is?
Ashley Cullen-Cross: It's science because it's so cool and you get to do experiments with it.
Suneiah Cullen: When you grow up, what do you think you can do to help make the world a better place?
Ashley Cullen-Cross: I think I'll be a scientist with my friend Archer, and we'll try to make a formula to help to change people's minds about the Earth and keep it in safe balance.
Suneiah Cullen: I'd like you to have a think about an adult or maybe even a group of adults who you admire, and you think they're doing a good job to help save the planet.
Ashley Cullen-Cross: My nana, because she does a great job of watering plants and growing them, and David Attenborough because he’s trying to understand animals.
Suneiah Cullen: What do some of your friends say about the world and how to make it a better place?
Ashley Cullen-Cross: My friend Archer says that when he grows up here, he hopes the earth will be the same, but it will be like more healthy and more safe. And I think it's my destiny and my quest to keep earth safe.
Suneiah Cullen: Ash, it's been really great talking to you today about the planet and your hopes for the future.
Ashley Cullen-Cross: You're welcome.
Maria Rampa: What a lovely introduction to our Season 5 podcast series! As they say, ‘out of the mouths of babes’. Thank-you Ashley for sharing your hopes and dreams for the future! It’s so encouraging to know that our younger generations have a deep understanding of the planet’s value and the need to protect it. I really do hope Ashley becomes a scientist when he grows up and I look forward to hearing about the award-winning formula he develops.
I hope you enjoyed this episode for something a little different. We have a great lineup of podcasts and guests coming up, including a discussion on the future of transport with Cathal Masterson from Transport Infrastructure Ireland and Megan Sharkey from Transport for NSW; an exploration of PassivHaus with North American PassiveHaus Network founder Bronwyn Barry and a deep-dive into resilience in the workplace, with The Resilience Project founder Hugh van Cuylenburg. If you have any ideas or thoughts about what you would like covered in our upcoming season, please drop us a line at email@example.com. We’ll include a link in the show notes. Until next time, thanks for listening!