This Sustainable Life


281: People don't want to do small things. They want to do meaningful things.

Ep. 281

The notes I read from for this episode:

  • People don't want to do small things. They want to do things that matter.
  • Stop telling people small things they can do except as part of everything. Find things that you care about, that you notice.
  • And stop measuring against a global problem. Ask yourself if you care. Do you care when you see litter in your neighborhood, then pick it
  • up. If you care, you'll get something out of it.
  • If you care about sea level rise, do something big to act on it. For your values. Who cares if you aren't fixing the world's problems all by yourself. If you're improving your life, you'll enjoy doing it anyway.
  • What does it do to you to know you're hurting others but still doing it anyway, no matter how much you can say doing different doesn't make a difference. What are you here for, to give up? To do what you think others shouldn't because they are too? Believe it or not, if you want to make a big, measurable difference, whatever you do will achieve it fastest and most effectively.
  • In a world where billions are craving someone to follow, several of you who act soon will become leaders of your communities, companies,
  • neighborhoods, and countries.
  • Do you want a raise at work? Show you can take and fulfill responsibility. Show your values and live by them so they know you.
  • Hiding what you care about and blaming others won't get you promoted. Listen to my guests who started companies, reached leadership positions in places like Apple, Google, and the Federal Government by taking responsibility and acting on the environment.
  • They are the future. Be the future. Stop pussyfooting around with straws and excuses that the plane was going to fly anyway.

The posts I mentioned:

More Episodes


520: Blake Haxton, part 1: Paralympic victory and maybe the most important message I've heard on sustainability

Ep. 520
I learned of Blake through the mailing list of the maker of my rowing machine, Concept2. Their piece on him described him as a Paralympic bound athlete. I was impressed, but only thought of him as a potential guest on watching his TEDx talk.I think my message to his agent describes what I saw in him and when we talked about in this episode:In Blake's case, I heard a message I've never heard with such clarity and experience I wonder if he realizes how much it applies to stewardship and the environment. It's almost the exact message nearly everyone needs. I can't put it as well as he can, but what he shared starting around minute 3 of his TEDx talk of a system breaking down, where most people would be ready to give up, technology being important, but relationships, faith, support, and laughter being the core of what worked.I see roughly 350 million Americans and 7.9 billion humans ready to give in and accept a system breaking down. Then I see Blake living the opposite of their resignation leading to a better life, and there's been almost a decade since leading to what I read as yet more improvement.In my book coming out next year, I quote Churchill's speeches during the blitz -- that it's bad, it will get worse, but we will fight on the beaches, we will never surrender, it will be our finest hour. I heard in Blake's message from a decade ago what America and the world would benefit most from hearing today. I expect it's stronger today.Since he also just won a silver medal, I also ask him about the training and competing.Blake's TEDx talk, The Advantage of Adversity

518: Killing cities, gardens, and parks, New York's cruel "Open Restaurants" overreach

Ep. 518
Don't outdoor restaurants sound nice? During the pandemic, New York City allowed restaurants that couldn't host people indoors to serve them outdoors. Many restaurant owners credit the rule for keeping them in business. We neighbors happily supported businesses in need.The landlords saw the huge profit in keeping this public space for their private property, started raising rents---profiting from a deadly pandemic---and tried to get politicians to give them that public land permanently.I might not mind if that space were coming from just car spaces, or if restaurants weren't polluting the area so much with plastic, burning fossil fuels to heat the outdoors while California is on fire, other packaging, and noise.There is a better alternative that no one thought of because we didn't know the city was willing to convert space from parking spaces and open sidewalk. We could turn it to living green spaces: community gardens, playgrounds, farmers markets, bike lanes, public pedestrian spaces, and such. There was already huge demand for such spaces. People wait years for plots in the tiny spaces we have. But search the web for "Manhattan community gardens" and you'll find almost nothing, especially around Greenwich Village.This program is already raising rents, making new restaurants harder to start. It helps a few individuals while hurting the industry it purports to help.Those who know New York City's history will see this land grab from the public on par with the failed Lower Manhattan Expressway. People organized to protect what became global destinations: Soho, Nolita, Tribeca, the Lower East Side.If you have influence with New York City politics, end this program of pollution and destruction.See images and videos I made of what Open Restaurants contributes to: (video and pictures) (video and pictures)