This Sustainable Life
360: Sparta could make history
Here are the notes I read from on recounting the potential I saw for the Spartan Race community and its founder, Joe De Sena, if they chose to prioritize environmental stewardship.
- Context: Joe: carries chain up 1,000-foot hill, brings others with him, invites people to climb hill for 24 hours, leads to Spartan Run.
- Brings people up to carry boulders up steep hill, which they pay to do.
- Community: Integrity, personal motivation, fun, supportive
- Tasks: Learn about yourself, great joy, striving, constantly improving They understand the mental and physical side, learning, growing, deeper satisfaction and reward than cookies and ice cream.
- Got me to go to Vermont and run up and down hill seven times.
- Environment: abysmal: trash, doof, little fruits and vegetables, bottles, ignoring well water, no natural fibers
- Texts from kids
- But huge potential. 7 million members. They know you have to go through uncertainty, pain, struggle, mostly self-doubt, your mind telling you reasons to stop, working through them.
- I've spoken with world-class leaders. Joe and his community see what to do and have lived doing it in other areas.
- Competitors included blind, one foot, 61-year-old, black, white, hispanic, carrying 100-pound load, loads of kids.
- I proposed one trash bag per event that all have to use and only fill
- one, maybe one recycling container, but keep it empty too.
- No single-rider cars. Joe said needed big fine. Given their integrity, I
- proposed internal motivation. After speaking I thought instead give them cash and time off their finishing time so the'll go on record as having beaten people they didn't deserve to.
- If Joe and his team act on my ideas, could become first main community to lead. They'll enjoy the process -- eating healthier, saving money, carpooling -- they'll enjoy discovering nature too.
- Everything they get now in mind and body, they'll re-create in their
- relationship with nature.
554: Sea walls won't protect us from our garbage. Stopping polluting gives us our best chance.
My notes that I read from for this episode:Sea wall for Manhattan, like Holland: expensive, huge, likely won't workControversial already. Natural solutions might work better.Let's say they worked.On Staten Island, Fresh KillsAlso everywhere, all coasts unprotectedNow think of Cancer Alley Gulf coast, oil refineries and global toxic dumpsAll that pollution will be dispersed to seas and biosphereI'd guess hundreds of thousands of yearsThink of the sufferingChallenge is more than energy. Also thermodynamics. Everything will disperse.Best solution: stop using fossil fuels now.Yes, we'll face problems, but we'll solve switching problems more easily than global garbage.Not an option: keep going as we are and maybe the problems won't happen.
553: Gaya Herrington, part 1: How far have we passed our limits to growth? What does that mean?
Five months ago, Gaya's work led to headlines like Yep, it’s bleak, says expert who tested 1970s end-of-the-world prediction. The 1970s predictions weren't exactly predictions, but the headline refers to the book Limits to Growth. If you're not familiar with it, we start by talking about it. We both consider its views and analysis among the most important.The book simulated possible outcomes for humans on Earth. Those outcomes varied from lots of happy people to billions dying. The authors' goals were to show what patterns we might expect.Still, people since have wondered if we and Earth have tracked any of those outcomes. Gaya's work does just that and shows that we have a slim chance of avoiding collapse, but a good chance of hitting it. I am amazed at how well those models track so many measurable outcomes in disparate areas.Our conversation covers her research, what it means, how to understand it, her work with companies, systems, solutions, and how these things affect our personal lives.Limits to Growth, Gaya's work, and what to do about them are among the most important things we can understand. Beyond Growth, Gaya's summary of her workMIT Predicted in 1972 That Society Will Collapse This Century. New Research Shows We’re on Schedule., a Vice article on her workUpdate to Limits to Growth: Comparing the World3 Model with Empirical Data, Gaya's original results
552: Hilary Link, part 2: colleges and universities talk sustainability but rarely act. This college president does.
Hilary describes her commitments as achieving some success and some failure, but learned from both.We start with her personal experiences and memories of ice skating and cross country skiing as a child leading to her sometimes painful lessons today. More than just ice skating again, she took lessons with her child. Listen to her for the lesson and why it was painful, but I'll share that she learned to wear a helmet.She also talked about driving less, which led to what she could do with her community not to accept that not driving has to be hard, but how to improve the situation. She talked about eating less meat, which I heard creating more connection within family.From the personal, we moved to the systemic. As the president of an august institution and connected to peers at peer organizations, she can influence within Allegheny and among university presidents and across academia. It's nice to talk about change and sustainability. It's nice to change institutions. But she points out, everyone sees what you do and your personal behavior affects others.I don't think this episode is the last we'll hear of Dr. Link. I believe she'll implement some of the ideas that came up during her actions and this conversation. Stay tuned.The Game Changers documentary on elite athletes and not eating meat.Bea Johnson's episode on this podcast with links to her TEDx talks and books. Her family of four produces less garbage than I do alone.