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This Sustainable Life

Systemic change begins with personal change

Do you care about the environment but feel "I want to act but if no one else does it won't make a difference" and "But if you don't solve everything it isn't worth doing anything"?We are the antidote! You're not alone. H
6/20/2022

596: Sandra Pérez, part 1: Keeping New York's LGBTQIA+ Pride March clean

Ep. 596
Sandra took responsibility when she didn't have to, as the Executive Director of NYC Pride, to respond to my requests to talk to an organizer. Longtime listeners and readers of my blog know that last year, I was disgusted by the garbage covering Washington Square Park the morning after New York City's 2021 Pride March. I posted pictures and video with the quote from another person in the park I saw that morning, "Pride destroyed the park."It turns there are two Pride Marches and the other one ended in Washington Square Park, not the one Sandra organized, but she knew not everyone would know to distinguish them, the public could associate the mess with the whole community, and, in any case, both polluted too much.Beyond responding, we met in their headquarters with about a month before the March. They were very busy. We talked about what they could do this year and for the future.We also did the Spodek Method you are all used to hearing me do with leaders as guests on this podcast. We didn't record that first conversation, but agree to record the second---that is, this one---where we'd cover what we didn't record and she would share the results of that commitment.She also put me in touch with other staff to incorporate sustainability more in their efforts. It remains to be seen how much happens. Can they follow in my footsteps to improve participants' experiences by reducing their pollution ninety percent in under three years? I hope to help them do it. Everyone benefits.NYC Pride's home pageMy pictures and video of Washington Square Park the morning after the 2021 March
6/17/2022

595, Jason Slaughter, Creator of Not Just Bikes, part 1: Ending Car Dependency

Ep. 595
Watch Jason's Not Just Bikes videos. I've watched them all. They're informative, engaging, funny, researched, provocative, and keep you coming back, but not like Netflix stuff designed to addict.After you watch a few, listen to our conversation. In our conversation he shares more depth than his videos of his motivations, how he makes the videos, interacts with his audience, feels frustration from some, learns from others, and more. He shares how life could be versus how it is. In this conversation he shares more about his wife and children, which drive his passion and choices probably most of all.We also bond on how our searches for a better life revealed huge cultural myths that, if we never try living differently, we never think to question or consider alternatives could exist. If, before trying to live differently, anyone asked, we both would have figured anything different than how mainstream North America taught us must be worse. Beyond worse, incomparably worse, even life-threateningly worse.The when we tried, we found it better. The myths fell apart. Yet one frustration arose and grew: nobody believes us. Words can't convey what Beethoven's ninth sounds like live, how a ripe fruit in season tastes, or how freedom from oil dependence feels.But at least in this conversation, I believe we understood each other, so you can hear what freedom and connection sound like and mean in ways no addict can understand. I think you'll enjoy what we share, even if we're both frustrated at how misunderstood we feel by most people, even (especially) when we're inviting them to open themselves to something they'll enjoy more than their blissful ignorance.
6/11/2022

593: How I disconnected from the electric grid in Manhattan for 2 weeks (and counting)

Ep. 593
"Your story is truly inspirational": feedback from an attendee.The government advisory Manhattan Solid Waste Advisory Board invited me to speak on sustainability leadership Wednesday. I spoke on what led to my experiment going off-grid in Manhattan, two-and-a-half weeks at the time. Here's the video of the presentation, which includes the slides I refer to, though here is the Venn diagram and here is the footprint chart.Here's the audio for that presentation. It starts a bit slow, but stresses one of my main discoveries, that my method goes beyond shifting your mindset. It leads to a cycle of continual improvement. Looking back, I see the pattern. My challenge to avoid buying packaged food for a week gave me the humility and curiosity to question sacred cows like that flying is good and expect that experimenting will yield results that idle speculation won't.I describe the difference between living by my values and leading others. I don't think you can lead people to do what you're doing the opposite of. Living by your values is necessary to lead others. Otherwise you don't know what you're talking about.Then I describe what I did after learning to live without a fridge for most of the year: buying a battery, buying solar panels, testing them, and using them.Then I describe my results: physical, emotional, skills, my evolving connection to nature, and so on.Finally I answer audience questions.My two earlier episodes on going off-grid:584: Freedom, continual improvement, fun, and curiosity: day three only solar in Manhattan586: My Kitty Hawk moment, on the way to a Moon Shot