Share

This Sustainable Life

Formerly Leadership and the Environment

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
Latest Episode5/15/2021

260: 24 Hours With No Electrical Power (Before)

Ep. 260
Here are the notes I read from for this post:---I posted the other day an exercise to think about going twenty-four hours without using electrical power. To clarify, that exercise was to think about it. I don’t think many people would do it. Even orthodox Jews leave their refrigerators plugged in, as well as clocks. The meters to their homes would register power being used. I’m talking about the meter reading zero. They often leave lights on. Personal choices may mean some don’t use any power.I don’t know Amish, who might do it, or people in societies without power. I spoke to someone who lives where her power drops for days at a time, but she says everyone gets in their cars, which use spark plugs, to go places to charge their phones and use the internet. I don’t know anyone who lives off the grid.Even during the blackout in 2003 and after Hurricane Sandy, I still used battery power. My ten-day meditation retreats and two two-week trips to North Korea still used plenty of electrical power each day.Here’s that post: Exercise: Imagine a Day Without Using Electric PowerYou know me. If it’s possible, I’d prefer to try than speculate. People talk too much and live too little.As I’m recording now, I’m looking at my circuit breaker for the apartment. I have a call after posting this. After that call, I’ll flip the circuit to cut off power to the apartment and turn off my phone and computer. Not just sleep mode, but power off. I won’t go so far as to disconnect the batteries, which I think would be symbolic.I’m scheduled to meet a friend at Union Square at the farmers market, where I’ll drop off my compost. We’re also scheduled to ride bikes to Brooklyn. I got an email from Grain de Sail, a company that built a sailboat to transport goods across the Atlantic, mainly coffee and chocolate eastbound and wine westbound. So I have some off-the-grid activities. My next obligation is about twenty-four hours later, which is to meet my city councilman organized group that picks up litter together tomorrow at 11:30am.Otherwise, I have to figure out what to do with my time that I’m used to filling with internet or writing on my computer. I have plenty of scrap paper to write on and a book to work on. I know I write differently when disconnected from the internet. I’m curious if I’ll write differently if that much more disconnected. I haven’t written much by hand in a while.I had thought to borrow some books from the library to help prepare, but the one near me is closed for the pandemic. I’ve been reading and listening to books online from the library during the pandemic, but I don’t need books. Maybe I’ll go outside more. I have a feeling I’ll go to sleep early since I won’t know the time. I won’t go to another building, like a bookstore, to read by its lights.My building has lights in the hallway and stairway. I was thinking of closing my eyes there to avoid using those lights, but I’ll make exceptions for them. The library’s clock tower has a clock. I think I’ll avoid using it so I don’t know how I’ll tell time. I’ll probably go to the park early with things to write and just be there when the rest of the group to pick up trash shows up, though it will probably be over twenty-four hours from now. It occurs to me now that going outside at night will make it impossible to avoid street lights. I don’t know the phase of the moon in case a full moon could in principle light my way. I guess I’ll stay inside. Come to think of it, I have some old candles I never use. I’ll probably go to sleep when it gets dark and wake up when it gets light, around 5am.I also have a sidcha to make my bed, cross the room, and turn off the alarm within sixty seconds of it going off. I haven’t missed it since starting, though occasionally a second or two late, so maybe I should say sixty-five seconds. With my phone off, it won’t go off tomorrow morning. I’ll probably get up and make the bed within sixty seconds of waking up and cross the room anyway.Walk/don’t walk signs and stoplights I’ll use while riding. While walking I’ll try to avoid looking at them and go by people’s behavior.Other than that, maybe I’ll go for walks or a run. I’m not sure, but people lived without electrical power for hundreds of thousands of years and many people go without it today. I see no reason why technology designed to help us should make us less capable.We’re a pretty needy, dependent, entitled, spoiled society. This is an exercise in resilience, freedom, and deliberate choice.Exercise: Imagine a Day Without Using Electric Power
5/15/2021

260: 24 Hours With No Electrical Power (Before)

Ep. 260
Here are the notes I read from for this post:---I posted the other day an exercise to think about going twenty-four hours without using electrical power. To clarify, that exercise was to think about it. I don’t think many people would do it. Even orthodox Jews leave their refrigerators plugged in, as well as clocks. The meters to their homes would register power being used. I’m talking about the meter reading zero. They often leave lights on. Personal choices may mean some don’t use any power.I don’t know Amish, who might do it, or people in societies without power. I spoke to someone who lives where her power drops for days at a time, but she says everyone gets in their cars, which use spark plugs, to go places to charge their phones and use the internet. I don’t know anyone who lives off the grid.Even during the blackout in 2003 and after Hurricane Sandy, I still used battery power. My ten-day meditation retreats and two two-week trips to North Korea still used plenty of electrical power each day.Here’s that post: Exercise: Imagine a Day Without Using Electric PowerYou know me. If it’s possible, I’d prefer to try than speculate. People talk too much and live too little.As I’m recording now, I’m looking at my circuit breaker for the apartment. I have a call after posting this. After that call, I’ll flip the circuit to cut off power to the apartment and turn off my phone and computer. Not just sleep mode, but power off. I won’t go so far as to disconnect the batteries, which I think would be symbolic.I’m scheduled to meet a friend at Union Square at the farmers market, where I’ll drop off my compost. We’re also scheduled to ride bikes to Brooklyn. I got an email from Grain de Sail, a company that built a sailboat to transport goods across the Atlantic, mainly coffee and chocolate eastbound and wine westbound. So I have some off-the-grid activities. My next obligation is about twenty-four hours later, which is to meet my city councilman organized group that picks up litter together tomorrow at 11:30am.Otherwise, I have to figure out what to do with my time that I’m used to filling with internet or writing on my computer. I have plenty of scrap paper to write on and a book to work on. I know I write differently when disconnected from the internet. I’m curious if I’ll write differently if that much more disconnected. I haven’t written much by hand in a while.I had thought to borrow some books from the library to help prepare, but the one near me is closed for the pandemic. I’ve been reading and listening to books online from the library during the pandemic, but I don’t need books. Maybe I’ll go outside more. I have a feeling I’ll go to sleep early since I won’t know the time. I won’t go to another building, like a bookstore, to read by its lights.My building has lights in the hallway and stairway. I was thinking of closing my eyes there to avoid using those lights, but I’ll make exceptions for them. The library’s clock tower has a clock. I think I’ll avoid using it so I don’t know how I’ll tell time. I’ll probably go to the park early with things to write and just be there when the rest of the group to pick up trash shows up, though it will probably be over twenty-four hours from now. It occurs to me now that going outside at night will make it impossible to avoid street lights. I don’t know the phase of the moon in case a full moon could in principle light my way. I guess I’ll stay inside. Come to think of it, I have some old candles I never use. I’ll probably go to sleep when it gets dark and wake up when it gets light, around 5am.I also have a sidcha to make my bed, cross the room, and turn off the alarm within sixty seconds of it going off. I haven’t missed it since starting, though occasionally a second or two late, so maybe I should say sixty-five seconds. With my phone off, it won’t go off tomorrow morning. I’ll probably get up and make the bed within sixty seconds of waking up and cross the room anyway.Walk/don’t walk signs and stoplights I’ll use while riding. While walking I’ll try to avoid looking at them and go by people’s behavior.Other than that, maybe I’ll go for walks or a run. I’m not sure, but people lived without electrical power for hundreds of thousands of years and many people go without it today. I see no reason why technology designed to help us should make us less capable.We’re a pretty needy, dependent, entitled, spoiled society. This is an exercise in resilience, freedom, and deliberate choice.Exercise: Imagine a Day Without Using Electric Power
5/12/2021

458: The Spodek Method: How to Lead Someone to Act Joyfully Sustainably

Ep. 458
I’ve taught a half-dozen people the technique I use in this podcast---the hosts of the other branches of the This Sustainable Life podcast. They started calling it The Spodek Method, so now I do too. It's enabled me to reach amazing people, many of global renown, who enjoy the experience. It doesn't alone solve all the world's problems, but it works. The Spodek Method leads a person to share and act on environmental values.You can do it too with communities you’d like to join. You would contribute to a mission of changing culture from seeing stewardship and sustainability as a burden, chore, deprivation, and sacrifice to wanting to do it based on experience, expecting joy, fun, freedom, community, connecting, meaning and value. Why Learn the Spodek Method?Before: Deprivation, Sacrifice, Burden, ChoreAfter: Joy, Freedom, Fun, Community, Connection, Meaning, PurposeIf you would like to lead your community, try it. If you’d like to grow yourself, have others do it on you.This episode presents my teaching Jonathan Hardesty The Spodek Method during our second conversation. No planning. It happened spontaneously because we had a great rapport, he loved his experience, and was interested in leading a community craving leadership on sustainability instead of being told what to do.If you want to start a podcast branch and join the family, contact me. It takes practice, but once you start, you’ll love the experience, the team, and being changing culture.Think about the people you’d like to meet most in the world. The Spodek Method enables you to lead them in a way they enjoy and invite you into your life.
5/1/2021

455: J. B. MacKinnon, part 2: What happens when you pay for quality?

Ep. 455
Our world values cheap and disposable---in food and doof packaging, furniture, cars, and near the top of the list, clothes, especially fast fashion. The world is paying for it in the sense of overfilled landfills, plastic disrupting endocrine systems of animals including us, oil wells everywhere, garbage patches in the ocean, and so on.I see us paying the price. We're always craving. Stuff always breaks. We feel compelled to buy new phones when the old ones should have kept working. We're obese from snacking. We're twisted up inside polluting while trying to convince ourselves we're not.J. B. MacKinnon's new book The Day the World Stops Shopping examines this part of our culture and for this podcast he committed to go against that trend by buying a quality pair of jeans from a place he knew the sourcing, labor practices, and everything else, the opposite of fast fashion. He also paid significantly more for them.Was the premium worth it? Should you do the same? What can we learn from his experience?We talk about these questions and he experience from many perspectives. Here's the description of his new book, The Day the World Stops Shopping:"We can't stop shopping. And yet we must. This is the consumer dilemma."The planet says we consume too much: in North America, we burn the earth's resources at a rate five times faster than they can regenerate. And despite our efforts to "green" our consumption--by recycling, increasing energy efficiency, or using solar power--we have yet to see a decline in global carbon emissions.The economy says we must always consume more, because, as we've seen in the pandemic, even the slightest drop in spending leads to widespread unemployment, bankruptcy and home foreclosures.Addressing this paradox head-on, J.B. MacKinnon asks,What would really happen if we simply stop shopping?Is there a way to reduce our consumption to earth-saving levels without triggering an economic collapse?At first, this question took him around the world, seeking answers: from America's big-box stores, to the hunter-gatherer cultures of Namibia, to communities in Ecuador that consume at an exactly sustainable rate. Then his thought experiment came shockingly true, as the coronavirus brought shopping to a halt and MacKinnon's ideas were tested in real time.Drawing on experts ranging from economists to climate scientists to corporate CEOs, MacKinnon investigates how living with less would change our planet, our society and ourselves. Along the way, he reveals just how much we stand to gain.Imaginative and inspiring,The Day the World Stops Shoppingwill empower you to imagine another way. (From Random House Canada)J. B. MacKinnon is a journalist and writer who lives in Vancouver. He is also the author of the nonfiction booksDead Man in Paradise and The Once and Future Worldand is the co-author of the bookThe 100-Mile Diet,which popularized the local food movement.
4/29/2021

454: Richard Rothstein: Racial segregation in generations of U.S. law

Ep. 454
Today’s guest, Richard Rothstein, is one of the experts on how the law has clearly and explicitly kept freedom, prosperity, longevity, opportunity, and more from people based on their skin color. This is no hard-to-believe conspiracy, tenuous claim, or cancel culture labeling. He shows laws in black and white the law says you can’t rent to blacks. Across the country in many spheres of life for generations. No secret. Plus he traces the repercussions that occur when one group can do things another can’t and how they ripple throughout society.Is his material valuable? Here’s one measure. I’m happy that my book Leadership Step by Step has over 100 reviews, averaging close to five stars. I know a lot of authors, editors, and book marketers. People seek that three-digit barrier. Richard wrote The Color of Law, a book on laws. That’s like a book on accounting. His book has over twelve thousand reviews, overwhelmingly five-star.As usual, I bring you the personal and leadership aspects of the work. I’ll link in the notes to some videos of him describing his work to whet your appetite to read the book. I’ll focus on bringing you him and the story behind the story.VideosRichard Rothstein discusses The Color of Law on Fresh AirRichard Rothstein in conversation with Ta-Nehisi CoatesFrom his book page:In this groundbreaking history of the modern American metropolis, Richard Rothstein, a leading authority on housing policy, explodes the myth that America’s cities came to be racially divided through de facto segregation—that is, through individual prejudices, income differences, or the actions of private institutions like banks and real estate agencies. Rather, The Color of Law incontrovertibly makes clear that it was de jure segregation—the laws and policy decisions passed by local, state, and federal governments—that actually promoted the discriminatory patterns that continue to this day.Through extraordinary revelations and extensive research that Ta-Nehisi Coates has lauded as "brilliant" (The Atlantic), Rothstein comes to chronicle nothing less than an untold story that begins in the 1920s, showing how this process of de jure segregation began with explicit racial zoning, as millions of African Americans moved in a great historical migration from the south to the north.As Jane Jacobs established in her classic The Death and Life of Great American Cities, it was the deeply flawed urban planning of the 1950s that created many of the impoverished neighborhoods we know. Now, Rothstein expands our understanding of this history, showing how government policies led to the creation of officially segregated public housing and the demolition of previously integrated neighborhoods. While urban areas rapidly deteriorated, the great American suburbanization of the post–World War II years was spurred on by federal subsidies for builders on the condition that no homes be sold to African Americans. Finally, Rothstein shows how police and prosecutors brutally upheld these standards by supporting violent resistance to black families in white neighborhoods.The Fair Housing Act of 1968 prohibited future discrimination but did nothing to reverse residential patterns that had become deeply embedded. Yet recent outbursts of violence in cities like Baltimore, Ferguson, and Minneapolis show us precisely how the legacy of these earlier eras contributes to persistent racial unrest. “The American landscape will never look the same to readers of this important book” (Sherrilyn Ifill, president of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund), as Rothstein’s invaluable examination shows that only by relearning this history can we finally pave the way for the nation to remedy its unconstitutional past.