This Sustainable Life
000: What Leadership and the Environment is about
Why Joshua Spodek created Leadership and the Environment, what it does, and how you can help.
EDIT: A team has formed and we changed the podcast name to This Sustainable Life.
583: Growthbusters called me extreme, so I responded
The notes I read from for this episode:“Lead by example”. I’m not leading by example.“Extreme” implies values, as does “middle ground” and “balance.” Everyone is extreme by someone else’s views.Everyone I talk to says they are balancing, that extreme is too much. What are you balancing with if one side is sustainability? How can the answer be anything but growth and unsustainability? People will say family, work, making money, but it doesn’t change that they are fueling growth and driving a system we are trying to change. Nobody said changing systems is easy, but systemic change begins with personal change.Our greatest challenge is not finding theoretical solutions on degrowth.If we want others to live by values like sustainability and stewardship, how can we influence them if we live by the excuses they do? If they hear us live by growth, why shouldn’t they? What’s the difference?Every person who resist degrowth agrees they prefer clean air, land, food, and water to polluted and nearly all say they have to balance, not be extreme.I would only ask this challenging a question if I had discovered that every step toward sustainability, while often hard at first, improved my life.When I hear someone say I’m extreme, it sounds like calling a parent who changes their child’s diaper extreme.If you own a pet or garden, you’ve changed your life more than I have.“It’s okay for Lloyd to set an example of living a 1.5 degree lifestyle that many many people aren’t close to.” My point isn’t the logistics of how to do it, but our values and character. No one raises their kid halfway. We do it out of love, passion, joy, fun, and all sorts of reward, no matter how much poop, vomit, injuries.My goal is to help people live by values of stewardship and freedom our culture has led us to suppress so much we think we should balance them with dishwashers and flying to vacation.If you want to experience the world, get rid of your bucket list. If you want to love your family, don’t fly to visit them rarely.I don’t want to sound like I’m pushing too hard on them. On the contrary, I believe that all of us, when we switch cultures, will wish we had earlier. I feel like I’m suggesting to a parent who abuses their child that they’ll prefer not abusing it? I don’t want to suggest nature or Earth are human children, but we sure are abusing them.When you pursue sustainability enough, you go through many transitions. One big one is from thinking of yourself first,.If I sound uncompromising, it’s because nature is uncompromising. Too many people measure their sustainability action by how much they feel like they tried. That’s why they say it’s so hard, so that every little bit counts for a lot. But two things. One, nature doesn’t respond to your feelings, it responds to your actions.Two, it’s not hard! It only looks hard until you commit and sweat the withdrawal.Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back. Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation), there is one elementary truth that ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one's favor all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamed would have come his way. Whatever you can do, or dream you can do, begin it.The Growthbusters podcastThe Growthbusters documentary
582: Gaya Herrington, part 2: How to change systems
Gaya gets systems, how to change them, and not fall prey to rationalizations that sound tempting but are self-serving excuses like "individual actions don't matter" or "only governments and corporations can act on the scale we need." I loved this conversation for her knowledge and experience in what will reverse humanity's pattern of lowering Earth's ability to sustain life.She shares and elaborates on major points like that technology is just a tool that serves our goals and values. While we value growth over sustainability, technology will accelerate our pattern of lowering Earth's ability to sustain life, not decrease it. We share our frustration with technology fans who misunderstand how technology affects our systems, thinking making it more efficient will lead to less pollution despite centuries of increased efficiency increasing pollution.She shares about the value of individual actions to change culture and oneself, including her picking up litter with her family. She shares how sustainability creates joy since we are social.She hints at her upcoming book, which is available now.Gaya's book (Creative Commons license, so no cost) is coming out next month. Link to come.A brief summary of her work: The Limits to Growth model: still prescient 50 years laterAn brief summary: Data check on the world model that forecast global collapseEarth4All: the project supporting her book
581: Dr. Ambrose Carroll, senior, part 2: cultural differences on how we view the individual
Ambrose and I start by reviewing his commitment. After a bit, as best I can tell, we talked past each other. Every now and then, the Spodek Method doesn't resonate and this conversation looks like one of them. His description of how he sees the world and my read don't seem to overlap.I suspect he felt I didn't understand him or his world. I read him as guarded, not sharing his personal views and feelings. I think it might be interesting and possibly fun to hear it as a third person. I tried to understand what he was saying and tried to clarify. He sounds like he was doing his best to speak to be understood. It just didn't reach me. He described how the black community operated, but I felt like he viewed me as unable to understand, being empowered and entitled, whereas people in that community were traumatized and not taught what they could do.His main point, as I understood, is that they "need more steps." I just couldn't get what he meant. I felt like he was trying to explain while keeping me separate and excluded, not explaining to include me.Sorry I couldn't write more clearly what to expect. Again, I suspect it might be fun, as a third person, to understand both of us better than we understand each other.Enjoy!