Leadership and the Environment
384: They would rather switch than fight
Here are my notes that I read from for this episode:
- Play Thomas N. Todd recording
- Repeat it, explaining from ad campaign
- Context was civil rights---that is equal rights for blacks as for whites in the US. I don't know context but I think pointing out that blacks who could fight best---educated, could speak to whites best---instead of helping other blacks would rather be white and not fight for equality
- I'm going to approach this concept from three directions applying it to sustainability and stewardship.
- I've spoken to a lot of people about sustainability and led many through my podcast's 4-step process and have seen them from many backgrounds, levels of awareness, levels of greenness, how much they say people should act.
- I'm going to share an observation. Personal and casual, not rigorous, so I don't know what biases might influence it, but seems to me that those presenting themselves as the most green and aware don't act. They decline to do the process. If they do it, they don't come up with an activity.
- They often claim they're doing so much already.
- They often talk about it moralistically, like they don't want to act like a paragon of virtue or they're already virtuous enough.
- I don't think they realize they're implying they don't want to do it, that it's hard, that you should against resistance, that they really want to do other things but they have to.
- I never got so moral about it. I mean, stewardship felt right for me, but I presume everybody does what they consider right all the time. I'm not trying to impose my values on others. I'm trying to help others live by theirs.
- My main point is that acting in stewardship turns out more fun, easy, rewarding, inexpensive, joyful, connecting to family and community, and so on than our mainstream society implies. Much more, but only experience seems to lead people to understand and live.
- All these people preaching virtue but not acting set the actual changing of behavior backward. They lead people to want not to act by their word and deed.
- Actually, there's another group that consistently doesn't act---leadership writers and gurus. Consider Beth Comstock, a leader. She went for avoiding plastic. She failed. Instead of trying to hide it, she shared her experience. She allowed her vulnerability to show. I learned from her. Several leadership people declined to do the exercise, told me how much they are already doing, or told me they're already doing the most they can. These are well-off Americans, among the most polluting in all of human history, claiming they're paragons of virtue.
- So I'll approach not acting despite thinking you're helping from another standpoint, MLK's Letter from Birmingham Jail.
- "over the past few years I have been gravely disappointed with the white moderate. I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro's great stumbling block in his stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen's Counciler or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate, who is more devoted to "order" than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice; who constantly says: "I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I cannot agree with your methods of direct action"; who paternalistically believes he can set the timetable for another man's freedom; who lives by a mythical concept of time and who constantly advises the Negro to wait for a "more convenient season." Shallow understanding from people of good will is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will. Lukewarm acceptance is much more bewildering than outright rejection.
- I had hoped that the white moderate would understand that law and order exist for the purpose of establishing justice and that when they fail in this purpose they become the dangerously structured dams that block the flow of social progress. I had hoped that the white moderate would understand that the present tension in the South is a necessary phase of the transition from an obnoxious negative peace, in which the Negro passively accepted his unjust plight, to a substantive and positive peace, in which all men will respect the dignity and worth of human personality."
- I feel like MLK faced similar struggles. Moderates who said they agreed with him actually slowed him down.
- Michael Moss talking about trying to lower screen time for his challenge put it clearly and concisely. When he noticed himself justifying using his phone more, he said "Maybe that was the addiction talking." We like comfort and convenience. We like doing what we're used to, what we know will give us reward when and how we expect. Changing that pattern risks losing the reward we expect, leading us to justify our urge, our craving to resist change.
- That's the addiction talking.
- Finally the third approach to people who could lead people to stewardship but in practice lead them to resist changing comes from a peer-reviewed study entitled, "Believing in climate change, but not behaving sustainably: Evidence from a one-year longitudinal study"
- "we found that climate change skeptics were generally more likely to report pro-environmental behavior than their high-belief peers, but
- that higher belief reliably predicted support for federal climate change policies"
- I interpret it to say that people who believe more want others to change or authority to force change, but they don't change themselves.
398: Lt. General Paul Van Riper USMC, part 2: A Marine Versus Coffee
Rip committed to avoid waste through coffee, which he describes as harder than he thought.Wait a minute. A three-star Marine Corps general is describing not using coffee cartridges as hard? In the Millennium Challenge we talked about in our first conversation he led a team taking on the best of the entire US war machine and won. How hard can coffee be?That's the point of this podcast. Personal change doesn't depend on calories burned, monetary costs, and so on. It depends on our hearts and minds, which depend on our stories, beliefs, images, and so on. It's as easy or hard as we believe.Another main point of this podcast is to empower you to change our beliefs, stories, and images. While a belief may make something as materially simple as changing how you make coffee seem impossibly difficult, recognizing that our belief is the issue puts resolving theproblem under our control. We don't have to accept that belief. We can change it.That's why I value Viktor Frankl and people like him so much. He turned living in Auschwitz into including experiencing love and bliss. What he can do, we can.Rip shares how he saw the situation before starting, how it ended up harder than expected, then he got to work on himself and his views, and you'll hear the results, as I heard more positive than he would have predicted.Systemic change begins with personal transformation. If you think the change will end with a few coffee cartridges, you're missing how systemic change happens. Among other things, now there's a Marine Corps three-star General who concerns himself with household waste and sees it as something to enjoy and look forward to. He presents it as decreasing feelings of guilt, taking responsibility, enjoying results. You'll hear that talking about responsibility and personal growth leads naturally to personal and professional growth at the highest levels of the military, about policy, strategy, campaigns, operations, and tactics.He shared preparing reading Von Clausewitz's On War. I almost can't believe the wisdom and experience I got to hear. This conversation helped prompt me reading the strategy works he described as well as valuing writing about sustainability. Beyond my blog, I'm working on my book and seeing how it reveals the core, as he described. I remember watching a video biography of President John Adams. After he was President a scene showing him fixing shingles on his roof. I thought of how human we all are, whatever our status, whatever importance we give ourselves. As JFK said, in the end we are all mortal. We share the same air, land, and water.We can view changes as obligations, chores, sacrifice, and burden---hardships for us. Focusing inwardly on ourselves characterizes depression. By contrast, we can view stewardship of nature as connecting us to others. Little improves how we feel more than acting in service of others. That's leadership. Even if we want to get ahead and think we have to do for ourselves, acting in service of others responsibly is leadership. If I want to get ahead it works. If I want more happiness itworks. If you prefer seeing stewardship as a burden keeping you from your career, that's your choice.Rip shared otherwise, as I heard it.
397: Eric Orts, part 1: Exploring a Senate Race
Eric Orts is a tenured professor at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. He is also exploring a potential race for the U.S. Senate: the seat from which two-term Senator Patrick Toomey has announced he will retire in 2022.On this broadcast he promises, as an expression of his values, not to fly for the next year. He pledges further, if he decides to run for office, not to fly during his campaign.To join or contribute to Orts for Pennsylvania: friendsofericorts.com.
396: Margaret Klein Salamon, part 2: Political or Personal or Political and Personal
My goal in this podcast is to bring leaders from many fields and share what made them effective. I believe sustainability and stewardship would benefit from learning more effective leadership. A goal with each guest is to feature them. Everyone is unique. Everyone brings something we can learn from.Sometimes I don't achieve my goal. Sometimes a guest and I end up talking at cross purposes, which I think happened this time, meaning I didn't do justice to the guest. This time I started off exploring Margaret's views and experiences but part way through misunderstanding arose and I don't think I gave Margaret the chance to shine that she deserved. I apologize to her. I hope I didn't distract from her work. You'll hear at the beginning how her book led me to reflect, introspect, and act so I recommend it.If I messed up, I welcome constructive criticism. I hope she looks all the better for the conversation even if I don't. I hope you, the listener, enjoy hearing the conversation and get value from each of our perspectives. I think I captured the two purposes at the end---that I had trouble seeing her view that getting distracted from political change would not achieve the effects we need to turn things around and that she didn't see my view that personal action augments the political, not distracts.I hope each of us surprises the other by succeeding more in ways the other couldn't have conceived of, illuminating the other's world and expanding the other's view to where each of us becomes more effective than we would have otherwise.