This Sustainable Life

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349: The State of the Environment Is The External Manifestation of Our Beliefs

Ep. 349

Think of where you are now in two ways---first, how it looked before humans arrived there, second, how it looks now.

The difference is our influence, which results from our behavior, which results from our beliefs, values, hopes, dreams, and so on. In other words, the environment is the outward manifestation of our beliefs.

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1/19/2021

430: Rabbi Yonatan Neril, part 1: The Eco Bible

Ep. 430
In the midst of several episodes on religious approaches to sustainability I learned of today's guest, Rabbi Yonatan Neril's book The Eco Bible: An Ecological Commentary on Genesis and Exodus.He founded and directs the international Interfaith Center for Sustainable Development, including its Jewish Eco Seminars branch. He wrote the book to shine new light on how the Hebrew Bible and great religious thinkers have urged human care and stewardship of nature for thousands of years as a central message of spiritual wisdom.He has spoken internationally on religion and the environment, including at the UN Environment Assembly, the Fez Climate Conscience Summit, the Parliament of World Religions, and the Pontifical Urban University. He co-organized twelve interfaith environmental conferences in Jerusalem, New York City, Washington D.C., Atlanta, Los Angeles, and elsewhere.On a personal note, I saw the chance to learn about my family and upbringing. My father is the person I know most knowledgeable and practicing about Judaism. He is also among the people I know among the most resistant to reconsidering views on nature, pollution, and considering changing how he interacts with it. I was curious how his religion influences him.Yonatan presented another approach full of joy, community, connection, service, and faith. I can't say others all approach it like a chore or burden, like something wehave to do butreally don't want to, but I sure see that approach more. I like Yonatan's mood more.
1/17/2021

429: What about jobs?

Ep. 429
"What about jobs?" people often ask to counter proposals to constrain some activity. Today's episode answers.Here are the notes I read from:What about jobs?People out of work drain on society, not so happyStore near me that sells trinketsOf any value?I'd prefer a hug, shoulder rub, or make me dinnerMany stages to make: plastic from oil, factory to make, transportation, store clerkFactory, put near landfillWhat about trucks and boats?Better to drive and sail around in circlesAbsurd, but actually better world paying to do worthless work with more hugs, shoulder rubs, and home-made dinners, oil in ground, people not displaced, skies clearerClassic historical case of buggy whipsIf legislated, people wouldn't die.People out of work now clamor to work. People love to serve.I don't know where people's faith in entrepreneurship goes. Constraints breed creativity.Need problem to exist to solve it. If you wait for planned jobs to exist before demand, will never happen. If you keep going in counterproductive industries, we'll destroy Earth's ability to sustain life and society.Economists are incredibly wrong in this area, especially free-market, Ayn Rand types.I'm studying Edwards Deming. Japan: government and industry post WWII did what would be anticompetitive in U.S., but transformed nation and world, more happiness and products, no shortage of competition. Have you seen pictures of Sao Paolo before and after banning billboards.So I'm pretty sure that if we outlawed just producing dioxins and PFOS and carcinogens and created some jobs programs to teach Initiative, which would be enough, or something better if you know, as other nations without our addiction problems do, we'd improve the world by everyone's standards, including the free-market, Ayn Rand types.I think at the root is a belief that people want to be lazy. I just don't see it in at least 99%. If last 1% say 5% scare you, are you really going to let your fears of 5% of people drive economic policy to ecological ruin?I would much rather have shoulder-rubs, dinner made for me, or to make dinner for her, hugs, and what entrepreneurs come up with than destroyed planet. Remember, all those trinkets mean extracting oil for materials, to drive factories, truck, boats, etc to deliver, $1.6B to haul away.When São Paulo introduced its Clean City Law (Lei Cidade Limpa) a decade ago, over 15,000 marketing billboards were taken down.Sao Paulo: The City With No Outdoor AdvertisementsWikipedia's page on Lei Cidade Limpa (Portuguese for clean city law)Five Years After Banning Outdoor Ads, Brazil's Largest City Is More Vibrant Than EverAd Ban in São Paulo São Paulo No LogoAlsoReddit post with many before and after pictures of Poland banning billboards
1/15/2021

428: Vanessa Friedman: The New York Times Fashion Director and Chief Fashion Critic

Ep. 428
Vanessa Friedman sees the fashion world from a vantage point few others can as the Fashion Director and Chief Fashion Critic at the New York Times. She arrived there after pioneering roles covering fashion at Financial Times in a first-ever role there, InStyle, Vogue, Vanity Fair, the New Yorker, and Elle.She shares the industry's forays into sustainability---or responsible fashion in her terms---as well as sharing her thoughts on it.Right off the bat she talked about reducing consumption, which I differentiate from reusing and recycling, which most people jump to, but I consider tactical. Reducing is strategic. Harder to get at first, but leads to easier life and work.I was awkward, as I don't know the fashion world, but you can hear from her that environmental responsibility is catching on in fashion. Barely so far, but in some places at least authentically and growing. It looks like there's hope in the industry, though they have a long way to go, a lot of resistance, and many players acting in the opposite direction.I'm also glad to hear Vanessa's personal attention, thoughtfulness, interest, which all sounded heartfelt, thorough, and genuine. At the New York Times she's at a leverage point so I suspect she will influence. I like that celebrities are acting because, however small that change, they influence others. I believe they can help change culture.How Vanessa Friedman Became One of the Foremost Critics in the Fashion Industry