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278: I have an environmental dream

Ep. 278

Here are the notes I read from for this episode, along with the text of the speech:


You might know I gave a series of talks at NYU that preceded this podcast

One of their themes was parallels between the US civil rights movement of the 50s and 60s and environmental action. Who would have expected it to succeed to the extent it did, however far we have to go?

One attendee, a friend who is black, told me once I talked about it, as a friend he listened, but as he put it, as a black man listening to a white man, he disengaged. He advised me to drop the analogy or I'd lose more people than I'd gain.

I took his advice but now disagree with it. However great the differences, the parallels are too great and if I lose people for how people view a white person discussing civil rights, one of us will have to learn and resolve the problem.

Today being the day the US celebrates MLK's birthday, following my recent application of Henry V's St Crispin's Day speech to environment, I want you to consider a few parts of the I Have a Dream speech.

Let's remember the context. 1963. Nearly a decade after the Montgomery Bus Boycott and many could say no progress had happened.

No one could have known the Civil Rights Act would pass the next year and that King would become the youngest honoree of the Nobel Peace Prize.

People did know that they were being jailed and lynched. People disagreed on strategy. Young men were being drafted and sent to die in Vietnam. Many had lost hope. Every step forward seemed to lead to a step or two back.

King could have talked about the situation they were in. He could have debated what would work or not. He could have dwelled in the present. In other words he could have spoken like most today speak about the environment: doom and gloom, facts and figures.

Instead he shared about a dream of a better future, which helped create it. No we're not done and plenty got worse for many people. Likewise we'll have to face environmental problems increasing for decades maybe centuries to come.

But I think we should learn from him what motivates people and replace what discourages them with it.

Today many speak and act with despair about the environment. Nothing will make a difference. Nobody cares. Too little too late. Let's pick up King's speech near the end


Video of the speech:

https://youtu.be/smEqnnklfYs

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5/22/2022

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