This Sustainable Life


531: Scott White, part 1: The Founder/CEO of an Energy Company on Sustainability

Ep. 531

Two of this podcast's top goals are

  1. To bring leaders to share and act on their environmental values, from any area, but especially polluting fields
  2. To help change culture from expecting sustainability is a chore or burden to expecting joy, lightness, freedom, and reward. Both happened in this episode.

On the second, you'll hear when I invite Scott to act, he had something in mind (he knows This Sustainable Life!). It sounded extrinsically motivated so I asked if it connected with the values he had just shared. As we spoke, more personal things emerged. Do you hear a different level of interest and depth of motivation for his second task? Does it sound intrinsic and more motivating?

I heard between the two commitments the difference between intrinsic and extrinsic, between leadership and management. Most of what passes for motivating people on sustainability in the media sounds to me more like coercion, implying people don't want to do it.

On the first goal, Scott is the CEO/Founder of a company that sells fossil fuels. He chose to change his company. I haven't evaluated the effectiveness of his change. Plenty of companies and people, even with the most sincere intentions, mean to reduce pollution but don't. I'm only looking at him for leading his organization. How hard is the change? How easy? What does it take? How can we motivate more people and organizations polluting less?

One lesson: companies want to follow consumer demand. If they don't hear it from you, they don't know to act. It helps no one for consumers to stay silent about their interest to pollute less. Communicate your interest so power companies can hear.

He's taking risks and trying. He sounds like a role model.

I would have liked more emphasis on reducing use. Nothing keeps fossil fuels in the ground like not taking them out in the first place. Here's my last electric bill:

$1.44 for the customer charge. The rest is fixed fees I can't do much about. On life values, I'm as healthy and happy as anyone I know. I couldn't have imagined lowering this much, but now it's normal. Since systemic change begins with personal change, this change allows me to help others achieve it.

If a power company had helped, I could have lowered long ago. Could IGS help consumers and businesses live healthily and happily consuming less, like most of the rest of the world? Are power companies motivated to help consumers reduce consumption? How many Americans realize that less power will improve their lives?

While I'm at it, here's my evolving footprint compared to the U.S. and world.

I see power companies as able to influence consumer behavior. Is it in any of their interests to motivate people using less? A lot less? If so, how?

More Episodes


550: Rick Ridgeway: A Life Lived Wild: K2, Everest, and places no human had seen

Ep. 550
Prepare to be awed at Rick's stories of adventure, discovery, nature, and humanity. He has summited K2, Everest, and more. He's visited places possibly no other human has. And he's an experienced, brilliant storyteller, so shares his experiences with a vitality that can only come from living it. Hear what it's like for animals that have never seen humans to approach him.His interactions with people show up too, including Sir Edmund Hillary, Patagonia founder Yvon Chouinard, and North Face and Esprit founder Dave Tompkins, and more.He shares what it's like at altitudes where each step requires summoning all the willpower he can just to take the next step.For background, before recording, I checked with him if we could talk about his thoughts on his role as a role model promoting activities that impact the environment, like all that flying. I was glad to hear he was open to it. It just worked out that the stories he shared were so engaging that we didn't get to the topic, or to do the Spodek Method. I hope in a future episode. Still, he shared plenty on his environmental views and work.He just published his latest book. As captivating as I found this conversation, the book's stories transcend them. Beyond individual stories, it's composed with threads running in and out that create a greater message than a collection of stories.Rick's home page, with links to his movies, books, and moreHis latest book, Life Lived Wild, with links to his othersOne EarthTomkins Conservation