Leadership and the Environment


239: The Enemy

Ep. 239

Here are the notes I read this episode from:

  • I see human population decreasing the Earth's ability to sustain life and human society.
  • I have a goal of increasing that ability.
  • Actually two goals: my other goal is for people to enjoy the process. This isn't about coercion but joy.
  • If our human population is over what the Earth can sustain, then restoring that balance.
  • Many people view CO2, methane, plastic, and the like as the enemy.
  • We use them, we like them, or making them.
  • They have no volition anyway. They react to our behavior.
  • Some identify Exxon, Trump, or other people. But we spend money on Exxon and we do what Trump does.
  • Paris Agreement example, SUVs, take out
  • Some identify inequality. Poverty and outsourcing make it easier to pollute
  • But we had inequality before without so much destruction.
  • Some identify lack of education, but scientists pollute. US is educated and pollutes.
  • Not an intellectual issue. An emotional issue.
  • Our emotions and motivations result in part from systems, but we could change the systems and we aren't. Sure some people are changing systems within their companies to make them more efficient, but I've spoken in many episodes how increasing efficiency doesn't lead to reducing total waste.
  • Our emotions result from our beliefs, which are the goals of our culture.
  • The enemy, if that's the right term, are beliefs driving our economic system, driving growth and externalizing costs.
  • Also beliefs leading us to keep doing what we're doing.
  • Here are the biggest enemies against maintaining or restoring Earth's ability to sustain life and human society
  • First the common ones, then the biggest of all
  1. If I act but no one else does, then what I do doesn't matter
  2. These little things aren't worth doing but these big things are too big
  3. I'll make this process more efficient (while making the overall system pollute more efficiently)
  4. Satisfying this desire now will lead me to do it less later.
  5. Government should change, or corporations, or others first.
  6. There should be a law to change my behavior
  7. Acting sustainably is a burden, a chore, a distraction from what I really want to do
  8. Acting sustainably hurts jobs
  9. Maybe in general I shouldn't but this time is justified.
  10. Not growing means stagnation, instability, a return to the stone age, early deaths, women in chains, and losing all progress.
  11. I can't change my values. Society can't change its values.
  12. I'm behaving this way for logical, rational reasons (as opposed to wanting an outcome and rationalizing it however your mind can, however unconsciously)
  • These enemies are within us. Being in us makes them insidious but it also makes them completely within our abilities to change.
  • Change these beliefs and everything will follow. There's still the question of time, since we don't have long and manifesting the change takes time.
  • But if you hold these beliefs, you are almost certainly decreasing Earth's ability to sustain life and human society.
  • If you think changing your beliefs won't change much, I suggest that not changing them vetoes everything you do.
  • More importantly, life with the opposites of these beliefs is happier, more joyful, less guilt-ridden, connects you with people more, creates community, builds community, and is healthier.
  • The opposite is
  1. Acting on my environmental values creates joy, community, and connection
  2. Taking responsibility for how my behavior affects others connects me with people and creates community
  3. Stewardship brings joy and connection
  4. Pollution and waste create disgust
  5. What I do matters

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354: Harvard Global Health Institute Director Ashish Jha, part 1: Front Line Pandemic Leadership

Ep. 354
If you've followed sensible, expert advice on the pandemic, you've probably read or seen Ashish Jha in the New York Times, The Atlantic, CNN, Washington Post, and everywhere. On Tuesday he testified to the US Senate.He's Harvard's Global Health Institute's Director. Over 200,000 people have taken his online Harvard courses, which you can for free. Over 80,000 took Ebola, Preventing the Next Pandemic and over 120,000 took Improving Global Health: Focusing on Quality and Safety. As it turns out, we were college teammates on the ultimate frisbee team.I'll link to a few top articles by him. With so many interfaces between the pandemic and us---health, government, research, policy, etc---you can read a lot of his views and experiences from different sources.I wanted to bring the personal side of leading on the front lines and top levels of a pandemic---how do doctors and public health experts feel about people not following advice, facing triage decisions, how to be heard, and what affects a doctor personally. We talk about leadership, the intersection between the pandemic and the environment, which overlaps with his directorship and courses, and more.By the way, he created his Ebola course five years before this pandemic and predicted much of it, as did many. If predicting what's happened so far isn't enough reason to follow his advice, I don't know what is. Let's wear those masksAshish's faculty profileCoronavirus Testing Needs to Triple Before the U.S. Can Reopen, Experts Say, NY Times article quoting AshishIn the W.H.O.’s Coronavirus Stumbles, Some Scientists See a Pattern, NY Times article quoting Ashish Pandemic Expert Dr. Ashish K. Jha ’92: “We Will Get Through This.”How We Beat Coronavirus, The AtlanticHere's the reason we are still shut down right now, CNN video