Mark Powell answers 20 questions on life, sustainability and everything.
Powell, who leads the power and utilities practice at consulting firm AT Kearney will be joining the Sustainable September Energy Debate on September 16 as part of Blue & Green Tomorrow’s month-long sustainability event.
He will debate in favour of the motion of whether gas and nuclear power are more cost-effective in reducing carbon emissions in the short-term than renewable energy. Tickets to the event are available here.
We want the world to be as blue and green tomorrow as it was yesterday. What’s your mission?
To make sure that costs are considered as part of the sustainability debate – nothing will ever be sustainable if costs and efficiency are not considered as a vital part of the process.
When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
A racing driver.
How would your friends describe you?
Outgoing, friendly, positive, won’t sit still!
What was your ‘road to Damascus moment’ in terms of sustainability?
Two moments – 1. When I discovered that my 85-year-old father was not using his heating because of the rising cost of energy and 2. When I received a death threat from one of the more extreme renewables ‘activists’ after I pointed out that you could hit a carbon target much more cost effectively without a massive investment in certain types of renewables.
Who or what inspires you?
Positive people who want to challenge conventional wisdom and change things and innovate.
What really grinds your gears?
Negative people and people who refuse to see the need to change and innovate.
Describe your perfect day.
Playing with my little boy followed by a nice lunch with friends or family at a nice country pub.
What do you see when you look out your window at home?
Trees and fields and lots of opportunities
What do you like spending your money on?
I have a passion for cars and motor racing – not very sustainable to many I grant you.
What’s your favourite holiday destination?
What’s your favourite book?
The Secret Ministry of Agg and Fish – My Life in Churchill’s School for Spies – about the SOE during WW2.
What’s your favourite film?
James Bond, Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings and Indiana Jones.
You’re made prime minister. What’s the first thing you do?
Make sure a government can only be in power for one term so they forget anything about getting re-elected and focus on doing the right things that need to be done rather than worrying about votes all the time. Oh, and I would also scrap most of the quangos!
If you were stuck on a desert island, which famous person would you like to be stuck with and why?
Winston Churchill. He had such an amazing and interesting life and four different and successful careers. He would keep me entertained and engaged for years. You never said the person had to still be living.
What was the best piece of advice you have ever been given? And the worst?
Best was to always be yourself and not try to be what others want you to be. The worst advice was to focus on doing the job your were hired to do rather than doing the job you think should be done.
What would you like to be doing five years from now?
Writing and teaching and spending more time with my family.
What’s your biggest regret?
Not having children sooner.
What one thing would you encourage readers to do to make their life more sustainable?
Don’t do things that others tell you to do but think things through and make sure that it really makes sense – for example a Toyota Prius actually has a higher total life carbon footprint than an Aston Martin V8 and so is actually less sustainable!
What’s the one idea that you think could change the world for the better?
The constant application of common sense!
What’s your favourite quote?
“It’s never too late to be what you might have been” – George Eliot