This Sustainable Life
490: Karen Shragg, part 2: Reducing birth rate and raising tomatoes
Don't you feel gypped that some of the most amazing potential parts of our lives were stripped away by people overindulging in polluting behavior? Or by automation that removed working the land from consideration as noble action?Karen and I talk about overpopulation that will soon return to mainstream and the values of wholesomeness of activities connected to the cycles of life. Besides sharing observations from a life of conservation, she shares her big success growing tomatoes, spending quality time with her family.Here are some early results of her planting tomatoes, which she's since reported have grown beyond her expectations, leading her to see things she had been mission, connecting with family, and otherwise engaging with the world.Stewardship isn't deprivationKaren's stories of her experience will remind you that life without craving and always wanting more brings reflection, connection, calm, and more reward. Whatever you're doing now, acting more in stewardship and sustainability will lead you to wish you had acted more, earlier.Karen's page: Moving Upstream... Where Possibilities Come to RoostMove Upstream: A Call to Solve OverpopulationChange Our Stories, Change Our World
489: Martin Puris, part 2: All big ideas begin in the mind of one person thinking creatively
Martin and I continued our conversation about America, its problems, and what we can do about it. I misread him that he had a specific plan, but that didn't stop him from clarifying and continuing more of what we spoke about last time.We talked about education, arts, voting, government, the future, the past, competition, and more.Listen for reflections from a master communicator who has worked with people at the forefront of American business for decades.I mentioned before that I was prompted to reconnect with Martin after almost two decades while seeing him give a webinar online. I took the liberty of capturing the screen when he showed this slide. I hope you can tell why it made me connect. Creativity is up there with curiosity for me.
488: Maxine Bédat, part 1: Everything You've Always Wanted to Know About Fashion's Sustainability (or lack thereof)
Maxine's book, Unraveled: The Life and Death of a Garment, traces how a pair of jeans comes into existence from it's raw beginnings and where it ends up at the end of its life. The book has been covered in the top levels of fashion media, for exampleElle: Maxine Bédat Unravels The Lies of GreenwashingVogue: Maxine Bédat Urges the Fashion Industry to Make a Change Now, Not in 2030Financial Times: Unraveled by Maxine Bédat—cutting the clothIn our conversation, she shares the story behind the book: her history and motivation to write it, the story of her visiting people and places actually doing the work, the shocking sights the industry doesn't want us to know about. As she puts it, "the chemical industry is the fashion industry. The oil industry is the fashion industry."You might think, "I don't want to learn these things. I just want to enjoy my clothes without thinking about them." You'll feel the opposite when you hear. You'll wish you'd learned earlier. You'll want to tell people what you learn.
487: Karen Shragg E.D.D., part 1: At last, simple, reasonably talk on (over)population
We can dance around our environmental problems all we want. Understand them enough and we eventually reach overconsumption and overpopulation. These overshoots contribute to everything.We at least talk about overconsumption, even if few are acting. Decades ago, the public talked about population, but didn't act. Today we don't talk about it. All the numbers I see suggest the Earth can sustain two or three billion people with roughly western European consumption levels. I'd love to live in a world with two billion people, like what produced Mozart and Einstein.Karen has been working on helping society face our problem of too many people being alive at once longer than I have. I've only been able to talk about it since learning from (TSL guest) Alan Weisman's Countdown about (TSL guest) Mechai Viravaidya helping solve the problem. She's been treating it a lot longer. She also knows I think all the podcast guests I talked to about population. She also knows many environmentalists who never acted on population.Karen shares her decades of working on (over)population. The U.S. doesn't talk about it publicly these days, but Karen shows how to talk about it. As I recognized that our overpopulation contributes to every environmental problems, I realized we had at least to talk about it. Karen does this.Karen's page: Moving Upstream... Where Possibilities Come to RoostMove Upstream: A Call to Solve OverpopulationChange Our Stories, Change Our World
486: General Kip Ward, part 2: Not flying by choice, and smiling about it
A retired General doesn't have to do anything he doesn't want to. What he does, he's going to do for his reasons, not for trends or as a dilettante.Kip committed to a challenge many consider unreasonable and impossible (I know because they tell me): avoiding flying. As a General, he's held the fates of a nation and hundreds of thousands of troops in his hands. When he speaks about his experience, I hear him speaking at a life level.He spoke about his many opportunities to fly for business and pleasure, but not taking them. He could have. Besides his choice based on his motivation, he could have flown.He didn't. Yet he shares the opposite of complaints or feeling left out. How is that possible?He describes handling the commitment with his wife, his conferences, what he learned from the pandemic, how it connected to his legacy with the future, and how he made it work.ServiceHe speaks about service and helping your team and teammates achieving more than they would. Is helping our communities not what we want to do regarding our shared environment?If we do our best and enable our peers to outperform their best, isn't that our best way to achieve the best results we can? We can't change the past, but we can do our best and help others do their best.Systemic change begins with personal transformation.
485: Jonathan Hardesty, part 4: How to Lead Someone to Stewardship: The Spodek Method
Jonathan and I continue practicing how to lead oneself and others to love acting in stewardship. Everyone thinks sustainability means deprivation and sacrifice.We started this conversation for him to review how his first time doing The Spodek Method with his kids. You'll hear that he did it slightly differently and didn't get the results. Very educational! Few people master challenging things the first time.We switched to restarting The Spodek Method with him and the value of practicing by the book before improvising.This episode will teach you how to lead someone to love and enjoy acting in stewardship.
484: John Sargent, part 2: Fun Transforming MacMillan, a Big 5 Publisher
Everyone treat changing corporate culture like a horror show, but John did it. How? Through making it fun.The way most people talk about it, only dictators can change cultures, I'll trust his experience over their speculation. This episode begins with his reviewing some of how he implemented that change. My biggest takeaway was his focus on people before technology, what they want, and what makes them tick. The result is their engaged participation.He also shares the result of his commitment. As usual with experienced leaders, if things don't go perfectly, they don't pretend. They share what didn't work too, I believe from experience finding that exposing vulnerabilities doesn't make them weak. It connects people.If you want to change yourself and your organization, you'll learn from John how to achieve more by having fun, listening, and caring over analyzing forever, coercion, and such.
483: Jane O'Sullivan: Debunking the "Aging Problem" Scam
What happens when populations age?Can you envision a world with a sustainable population, well below Earth's capacity, therefore living resiliently in abundance per person? I can.Governments and media are petrified at populations shrinking and aging. It turns out they are motivated by reasons that sound plausible.Jane looked at the numbers and found the fears unfounded. She also found industries seeding and promoting the fears, making them scams. Allowing the scams to affect us exacerbates the risk of a collapse in Earth's ability to sustain life and society.She treats more unfounded fears about population size that lead people to baselessly fear what seems to me one of the top elements of retaining Earth's ability to sustain life---lowering our birth rate through the peaceful, voluntary, and fun methods that worked in Thailand, Costa Rica, and many other nations.Listen to Jane's conversation and read her paper to feel more confident in promoting smaller families. The evidence I see suggests Earth can support about two billion people living at Western European polluting levels, which means Americans will have to reduce consumption and every culture will have to reduce birth rates.The paper that led me to Jane: Silver tsunami or silver lining? Why we should not fear an ageing population
482: Florida's Condo Collapse, Doom Psychology, and Our Environment
Here is the article prompting this episode: Majority of Florida condo board quit in 2019 as squabbling residents dragged out plans for repairsHere are the notes I read from:Read article about collapse and will read some parts.Everyone has long viewed Titanic as metaphor for man’s hubris over nature. But long enough ago we dismiss. Scale is off. We believe we’re passed those problems from another age.Listen to these quotes.Opening: “The president of the board of the Florida condominium that collapsed last week resigned in 2019, partly in frustration over what she saw as the sluggish response to an engineer’s report that identified major structural damage the previous year.”“Despite increasingly dire warnings from the board, many condo owners balked at paying for the extensive improvements, which ballooned in price from about $9 million to more than $15 million over the past three years as the building continued to deteriorate”Imagine someone had said lives were at stake. People would have rolled their eyes at the blatant attempt to overdramatize.People miss from the story of the boy who cried wolf that the wolf came. In our case, imagine the wolf came every time yet the townspeople ignored its damage. The response to pandemics fueled by our overpopulation, overtraveling, factory farming, and encroaching on wildlife territory in cases like ebola with returning to normal—that is, the culture that created it. Articles on record temperatures in Canada aren’t followed up by stopping what everyone knows is causing the problem.“The engineer, Frank P. Morabito, found “major structural damage” to a concrete slab below the pool deck, caused by a flaw that limited water drainage, according to the 2018 review”“A resident told The Post that minutes before Champlain Towers South came down, she noticed that a section of the pool deck and a street-level parking area had collapsed into the parking garage below. Experts have said the collapse appeared to involve a failure at the lowest levels of the building or in the parking garage beneath it.”As recently as April, residents appeared divided over the repairs — with dozens signing a letter that questioned the details of the proposed spending and asked the board to consider a lower assessment. “We cannot afford an assessment that doubles the amount of the maintenance dues currently being paid,”“But what may have looked to Prieto like a running start soon became a slow walk.”““A lot of this work could have been done or planned for in years gone by. But this is where we are now,” current board president Joan Wodnicki told condo owners in a letter on April 9, 2021, which warned damage to the structure's concrete support system was accelerating.”“Her warnings to homeowners about the urgent need for repairs had gone on for months. “I want you to know that the numbers we are hearing so far are much higher than the original Morabito estimate,” she wrote on Oct. 23, 2020. “However, the project is also much larger . . . The concrete damage is more extensive than it was when first looked at in 2018, and prices have gone up.””“The pandemic appeared to exacerbate tensions in the building. A March 2020 note to homeowners said the board had adopted a new rule: “No Owner, resident or guest may be verbally or physically abusive or otherwise engage in conduct that is offensive, threatening or harassing to any other Owner, resident or guest.””Beyond metaphor. Clear problem, well-understood, easily resolved. Expensive, yes, but not compared to destruction and loss of large fraction of population. Instead of acting, squabbling.Maybe you believe, in the face of temperatures breaking records every year, plastic choking oceans, and you’ve read the headlines, that our behavior isn’t responsible. In that case, via con dios. There’s no point in our talking.But if you have the slightest inkling that our behavior, driven by our role models, beliefs, stories, images, systems, and so on, our culture has to change to avert collapse including the deaths of a large part of our population, like billions of people, which will affect you and people you care about, do the parallels with this collapse and death of a large fraction of the population suggest that your resistance to acting with everything you’ve got may be slowing things more than you think?I don’t say act individually and then stop. Act and then use what you learn to lead others.Their building problem is like our environment problem. The science is clear. We lack leadership. Leaders act, not point fingers. Only by acting themselves can they lead others.“in a September 2019 resignation letter. “This pattern has repeated itself over and over, ego battles, undermining the roles of fellow board members, circulation of gossip and mistruths. I am not presenting a very pretty picture of the functioning of our board and many before us, but it describes a board that works very hard but cannot for the reasons above accomplish the goals we set out to accomplish.””