This Sustainable Life

Share

236: My environmental role models

Ep. 236

Here is the text I read from for this post:


My environmental role models

Why my role models? Because people keep saying what I do is inaccessible. That it's too much or extreme. That they need to balance. Well everyone believes they're balanced. I have to balance too.

My difference is that I keep moving toward my values. Instead of letting Americans, the most polluting people in history, be my comparison, I find new role models.

It's community. Once you start polluting less, actually putting effort in, not just straws or the latest trendy thing, but based on your passion, you'll find role models and keep doing more to live by your values because you'll like it.


Bea Johnson

  • Author of Zero Waste Home, which I read and recommend as well as 4 TEDx talks
  • Family of four, less than a load per year
  • My response to everyone who knee-jerk responds, "Oh, you don't have kids. If you had kids then you'd understand." Well, she has two kids and avoiding garbage brings them together, as it will everyone who tries instead of claiming helplessness.
  • Her book on zero-waste living led me to find new waste to get rid of, including cutting down on mailings. Emailing and calling places to remove me from their lists is satisfying and returns control.
  • Her TEDx talk on why we should recycle less is the first big public statement I know of to avoid recycling as much as possible in favor of not polluting, since recycling is polluting unnecessarily. Of course all living requires polluting, but recycling is closer to full waster than to benign.
  • Her clean home and family camaraderie inspire me.
  • She's been a guest on this podcast and we email periodically.

Kris De Berger

  • His site called Low Tech magazine inspires simple living minimizing relying on fossil fuels.
  • He shows what is possible, especially what we used to do, often easily, that we then replaced with fossil fuels, like how to move 100 ton blocks of stone, growing plants before greenhouses, and many fun things we've traded for a sedentary, polluting lifestyle.
  • You know how it took decades for people to realize building roads created traffic, not relieved it? He finds similar patterns, like how our push for energy security is making us less secure and increasing efficiency often leads to greater total waste.
  • He does what he talks about. For example, he runs a solar-powered server, he installed a shower that uses a fraction of a regular shower.
  • He shows a low energy future is possible and desirable.
  • I invited him to be on the podcast but haven't heard back.

Lauren Singer

  • Did a TEDx talk, probably the first I saw of all the people's here so inspired me early
  • She also cites Bea Johnson as a role model
  • She was the first person I'd heard of creating a mason jar of landfill waste per year, which enables me not to compare myself with Americans on my waste, which is meaningless because they are about the most trash producing in history
  • She went to NYU and students of mine knew her or were connected. I forget the details.
  • I invited her as a guest, but we haven't finished coordinating
  • She started a store for products that replace disposable stuff. I've met a couple employees from the time I cooked for 50 people in Brooklyn North Farms with almost nothing to throw away after

Rob Greenfield

  • His YouTube channel is the best source of his work. Reminds me of Morgan
  • Spurlock of Supersize Me.
  • Rob is nearing the end of a year eating only food he grew or foraged.
  • He did a lot of attention-getting stunts to call attention to our culture's waste. This project shows a level of maturity that suggests significantly more to come.
  • He rides his bike a lot. I've considered moving to Orlando to participate, especially when I interviewed Orlando's mayor for this podcast.
  • He's been a guest on this podcast and we email periodically.

David Gardner

  • Host of the GrowthBusters podcast
  • Besides running for office, he's one of the only people I know to promote reducing the population
  • It's his passion. He's taking on one of our biggest taboos, or sacred cows, which is also the most necessary change necessary to pull out of our mess.
  • It also may be the most misunderstood or overlooked part of our environmental problems.
  • People just assume because the population is increasing less -- not decreasing -- that things will work out. All relevant signs I know of say we're over the carrying capacity already, making collapse imminent.
  • He's been a guest on this podcast and we email periodically. I've been on his too.

My mom and sister

For food and gardening


Links:


More Episodes

1/20/2021

431: I sang every day for two months, unplugged (still going)

Ep. 431
What do you do if you use less power? No social media? No listening to music? No TV?Sound like a fate worse than death?Inspired by guests on my podcast who find amazing activities to live by their environmental values, I committed to turning off all my electronics to sing every day. I've almost never sung in my life beyond Happy Birthday and The Star Spangled Banner so I'm mortified to play my remedial results live, but I love it. I know I'll keep going so today's recording isn't the end.I recorded singing a couple songs at the beginning. to record I opened the laptop, all other times I sang with the power off. At night I had to open the door to the hallway to read the words until I started singing outside during my daily walks picking up litter.So far I've spent zero dollars on it. The first two weeks I sang fifteen minutes a day. Later I shifted to at least one song, so a few minutes a day.Today's episode starts with my describing the experience and a few stories, then with neither pride nor shame, I play the "before" recording, then the "after."The track listing:Before14:42 The Beatles, Across the Universe19:30 The Beatles, While My Guitar Gently WeepsAfter22:40 The Beatles, Across the Universe26:28 The Beatles, While My Guitar Gently Weeps28:44 John Denver, I'm Leaving on a Jet Plane31:26 Joni Mitchell, Big Yellow Taxi33:01 Spandau Ballet, True36:12 The Cure, Pictures of You38:54 Earth, Wind, and Fire, September42:19 Woody Guthrie, This Land Is Your Land
1/19/2021

430: Rabbi Yonatan Neril, part 1: The Eco Bible

Ep. 430
In the midst of several episodes on religious approaches to sustainability I learned of today's guest, Rabbi Yonatan Neril's book The Eco Bible: An Ecological Commentary on Genesis and Exodus.He founded and directs the international Interfaith Center for Sustainable Development, including its Jewish Eco Seminars branch. He wrote the book to shine new light on how the Hebrew Bible and great religious thinkers have urged human care and stewardship of nature for thousands of years as a central message of spiritual wisdom.He has spoken internationally on religion and the environment, including at the UN Environment Assembly, the Fez Climate Conscience Summit, the Parliament of World Religions, and the Pontifical Urban University. He co-organized twelve interfaith environmental conferences in Jerusalem, New York City, Washington D.C., Atlanta, Los Angeles, and elsewhere.On a personal note, I saw the chance to learn about my family and upbringing. My father is the person I know most knowledgeable and practicing about Judaism. He is also among the people I know among the most resistant to reconsidering views on nature, pollution, and considering changing how he interacts with it. I was curious how his religion influences him.Yonatan presented another approach full of joy, community, connection, service, and faith. I can't say others all approach it like a chore or burden, like something wehave to do butreally don't want to, but I sure see that approach more. I like Yonatan's mood more.
1/17/2021

429: What about jobs?

Ep. 429
"What about jobs?" people often ask to counter proposals to constrain some activity. Today's episode answers.Here are the notes I read from:What about jobs?People out of work drain on society, not so happyStore near me that sells trinketsOf any value?I'd prefer a hug, shoulder rub, or make me dinnerMany stages to make: plastic from oil, factory to make, transportation, store clerkFactory, put near landfillWhat about trucks and boats?Better to drive and sail around in circlesAbsurd, but actually better world paying to do worthless work with more hugs, shoulder rubs, and home-made dinners, oil in ground, people not displaced, skies clearerClassic historical case of buggy whipsIf legislated, people wouldn't die.People out of work now clamor to work. People love to serve.I don't know where people's faith in entrepreneurship goes. Constraints breed creativity.Need problem to exist to solve it. If you wait for planned jobs to exist before demand, will never happen. If you keep going in counterproductive industries, we'll destroy Earth's ability to sustain life and society.Economists are incredibly wrong in this area, especially free-market, Ayn Rand types.I'm studying Edwards Deming. Japan: government and industry post WWII did what would be anticompetitive in U.S., but transformed nation and world, more happiness and products, no shortage of competition. Have you seen pictures of Sao Paolo before and after banning billboards.So I'm pretty sure that if we outlawed just producing dioxins and PFOS and carcinogens and created some jobs programs to teach Initiative, which would be enough, or something better if you know, as other nations without our addiction problems do, we'd improve the world by everyone's standards, including the free-market, Ayn Rand types.I think at the root is a belief that people want to be lazy. I just don't see it in at least 99%. If last 1% say 5% scare you, are you really going to let your fears of 5% of people drive economic policy to ecological ruin?I would much rather have shoulder-rubs, dinner made for me, or to make dinner for her, hugs, and what entrepreneurs come up with than destroyed planet. Remember, all those trinkets mean extracting oil for materials, to drive factories, truck, boats, etc to deliver, $1.6B to haul away.When São Paulo introduced its Clean City Law (Lei Cidade Limpa) a decade ago, over 15,000 marketing billboards were taken down.Sao Paulo: The City With No Outdoor AdvertisementsWikipedia's page on Lei Cidade Limpa (Portuguese for clean city law)Five Years After Banning Outdoor Ads, Brazil's Largest City Is More Vibrant Than EverAd Ban in São Paulo São Paulo No LogoAlsoReddit post with many before and after pictures of Poland banning billboards