This Sustainable Life

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275: Go Big

Ep. 275

If you are thinking of doing something to act on the environment, go big. Instead of thinking the littlest thing you can do, think of the future and go big. What's the biggest thing you can do?

Not for others. For what you think is right. For how the future will look back on us. For how we look back on slavery. Would you free your slaves if you were born into that system as a slave owner? How huge a change, but what else could you do? Don't you expect you'd feel good about it?

What can you do on that scale here, affecting billions and all future generations? Think big.

My experience suggests not flying for a year, endeavoring to buy no packaging. Don't turn on your air conditioner or heater all year. You get the idea. Not straws. Selling your car, as Dov Baron did. Not buy clothing for a year like Lorna Davis. Pledge never to eat animal products again like Tom Szaky.

You get the idea. Not straws. I predict you will love the results and, however big your commitment, you will consider it small after you do it and want to do more. Your community will admire you for it, emulate you, and make you a leader. You'll probably get hired or promoted for it.


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583: Growthbusters called me extreme, so I responded

Ep. 583
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