This Sustainable Life


325: My Mom, Marie Spodek: All in the Family

Ep. 325

I thought about recording with parents for a while. Environmental action is personal and people keep asking me what motivates me.

Well, now you'll get almost 50 years more background.

Another issue with family and changing habits, lots of people talk and ask about challenges of changing others or selves within close relationships. This episode will give you my background, environmental and otherwise, how it affects our relationship, her views, and some dirty laundry.

Both my mom and I think or hope you'll enjoy toward the end, where we talk past each other. We think you'll find it funny, though frustrating for us.

For context and what precipitated doing this episode now: COVID-19 has led me to live in her and her husband's (my stepfather) house outside New York City. We haven't lived in such close proximity since the 80s. Understandings in some areas have increased but decreased in others.

You'll hear at the end that she asks for feedback. I hope you'll give her and me feedback.

For my part, I enjoyed the conversation and in a whole mother-son relationship. It's not the worst thing, but I feel misunderstood about my motivations, as you'll hear. I wonder how many people see me as someone actually depriving himself trying to make a point, not realizing I'm just sacrificing.

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661: Daniel, host of What is Politics?, part 1: Dominance, subjugation, hierarchy, and solutions

Ep. 661
I can't tell you how valuable (and entertaining) I found Daniel's video series.Regular listeners and readers may know how important I find anthropology to solving our environmental problems. If we want to change our culture, we have to know why it is this way, how other structures have worked, and how we can change.I started realizing this importance when I noticed that I had read podcast guest Sebastian Junger's book Tribe the day I unplugged my apartment. It showed me what we lack in our culture that others have: freedom, equality, community, connection, and what we value when calm, not bombarded with ads and feeling guilt, shame, helplessness, and hopelessness. It gave me something to look forward to beyond being able to fly to see the Eiffel Tower whenever I wanted.Next, reading The Dawn of Everything, another book on anthropology, showed a variety of cultures I hadn't known. We don't have to feel constricted to "returning to the Stone Age." But that book left open its main question: why are we stuck in our current culture?Enter What Is Politics?. In the series, Daniel clarifies what a lot of loose terms mean, thereby simplifying how to understand politics. It led me to understand why we're stuck and what we have to do to free ourselves.Daniel and I went to town talking politics, anthropology, hierarchies, how and why they form, sustainability, and more.Normally when my conversations go longer than an hour, I break them into parts, but if you like our conversation, you'll keep listening. I expect what we cover here and his series covers to ground a lot of what we have to do to change global culture. I'll close by reminding you of my mission statement on my bio page:My mission is to help change American (and global) culture on sustainability and stewardship from expecting deprivation, sacrifice, burden, and chore to expecting rewarding emotions and lifestyles, as I see happen with everyone I lead to act for their intrinsic motivations.In my case the emotions have been joy, fun, freedom, connection, meaning, and purpose.Everyone’s experience will be unique to his or her experience, but I know we all love nature so I don’t have to change anyone. I reveal what’s already there.