This Sustainable Life

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244: Lessons from extinction

Ep. 244

Learning that humans only recently developed the concept of extinction. Much of the West, for example, believed in a Great Chain of Being, spontaneous generation, and a biblical flood.

That perspective suggests that many past behaviors we consider unconscionable may have seemed even humane then, like walking up to a rhinoceros and shooting it in the head. If you can't imagine it going extinct because new ones will form, how is shooting it point blank any different than slaughtering any other animal?

Since we are in future generations' pasts, how might they see our polluting behavior? If they live in messes we created, won't they likely see us as we see people shooting rhinoceroses point blank---that is, with horror?

Does understanding others with compassion lead us to act with compassion?

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11/27/2021

534: Mom, part 2: Opportunity and oppression: race and religion in my childhood

Ep. 534
I recorded my second conversation with my mom about my childhood and before during the pandemic, in the spring of 2020. Shortly after recording our first conversation, which covered race, George Floyd was murdered. You know the rest. I knew we had spent years as white minorities in India and in a black neighborhood in Philadelphia, at least part time.I was curious to learn more of the time she would have remembered better. In this episode we talk about being redlined, being the victim of race-based violence and objectifying, as well as the access to opportunity to resources for our skin color. Also friends who narrowly escaped Hitler, why my mom converted from Lutheran to Judaism, and bringing classes of her black students from Chicago in the 1960s to where she grew up in South Dakota, where the students declared the Native Americans had it worse.I've never understood the world people describe me coming from. I'm curious to hear the white experience from suburbs, never having lived as a minority, little crime or violence, never mugged, or whatever it's like. I presume it's no easier for them than anyone else, but it's foreign to me. I think if I learned it, I'd understand what people see in me.Anyway, my mom took a long time to agree to post this episode. I'm not sure her reasons, but I think America has so polarized talking about race that non-partisan mainstream people fear the consequences from those who benefit from polarizing from even simply sharing their personal experiences. I hope this episode helps defuse.