This Sustainable Life

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121: Minimalism should be called Maximalism

Ep. 121

People see my apartment and often describe me or my lifestyle as minimalist.

I don't like labeling people or being labeled, but if anything, a more apt label would be maximalist.

You might see the lack of stuff, but my focus is on values, relationships, self-awareness, free time, fun, joy, mental freedom, physical freedom, simplicity, space, delicious food, beauty, fitness, social and emotional skills, happiness, emotional reward, and so on.

You can't see those things, but I focus on them. The more joy I create in my life, the more I want to create more, which a TV gets in the way of for me.

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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.