This Sustainable Life

Share

506: I lost $10 million on September 11, 2001. Here is what I learned from those who sacrificed and served.

Ep. 506

Sorry for the slow pace of this episode, but just before recording I looked at the firehouse across the street from my apartment, the small plaque naming the firemen who died trying to help others, and the flowers people put there for them, which led me to lose it as I started recording.

I've never considered the changes to my life meaningful in comparison, despite my losses being greater than anyone I know who didn't die or was related to someone who died for the obvious reason that no material loss compares. Not even close.

But twenty years later, it occurs to me that not communicating about the loss and what I learned from it doesn't help either, because when faced with a huge material loss---I lost about ten million dollars and the future I'd sacrificed other dreams for---we can choose to give up or we can choose to find our values and live by them, if not the fleeting material stuff.

In this episode I share what I live for, what in part I learned from the firefighters who served that day, the servicemembers who enlisted for years to come, as well as from others who lost. We can prevent far greater losses than September 11, than the Holocaust, than the Atlantic slave trade in conserving and protecting our environment.

I choose to devote my life to the greatest cause of our time, in helping the most number of people from the greatest amount of suffering of any time.

If you'd like to help, we who choose to serve, could use your help. But we don't have to enter towering infernos. We eat vegetables instead of takeout, live closer to family instead of flying to and from them, have one child, and learn to lead others to enjoy the same. Contact me if you'd like to join.

More Episodes

1/21/2022

553: Gaya Herrington, part 1: How far have we passed our limits to growth? What does that mean?

Ep. 553
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
1/18/2022

552: Hilary Link, part 2: colleges and universities talk sustainability but rarely act. This college president does.

Ep. 552
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.