This Sustainable Life


662: Mark Mills, part 4: What to Do Next

Ep. 662

I've said before and I'll say again that conversations like mine with Mark Mills are what I value and wish we had more of. We do our research, we have strong opinions, we agree on many things, we disagree on some things we care about.

Most of all, I believe we learn from each other, respect different opinions, and try to understand the other's view and goals.

In this conversation we talk about his book and the challenges of predictions at first, The most interesting parts are challenging each other on our understandings of our environmental problems and what we can do about them. We agree most proposed solutions that humanity is pursuing don't work and people are misguided. We differ on our expectations in what can work between technology and people. He has me opening my mind to some things I'd be closed off to otherwise, in part because he's not just spouting opinion or blind hope. He's done the research. I believe I have too.

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675: Derek Sivers, part 1: Leading versus Exploring Frontiers

Ep. 675
I bring leaders from all areas to sustainability. The challenges to changing culture to sustainability aren't in technology, science, journalism, activism, or politics, though all those fields are relevant. Their practitioners generally aren't skilled in what changes culture: the social and emotional skills of leadership. Most people don't know that living more sustainably improves their lives, not the reversion to the Stone Age or Mad Max apocalypse our culture teaches us to fear.From the start of the conversation, Derek distinguished that he sees himself as an explorer, not a leader. He's exploring the frontiers of life following his whim or what he finds around him. He suggests that leaders give more direction to others to help them follow. He acknowledged with a "touché" that he does have a lot of followers, one of my main measures of a leader.The next day, he posted to his page some related thoughts in, Explorers are bad leaders, which sparked lively debate in his comments. Many suggested more overlap than you might think.His distinction led me to consider my role. I hadn't thought about seeing myself as exploring the frontier, but I have been. When I've had the option of leading others and exploring more frontier, I've generally chosen to explore more frontier.Some examples: avoiding packaged food seemed impossible and took me six months to start. When I succeeded, instead of helping others follow that difficult challenge, sharing recipes and how I did it, I then chose not flying. Avoiding flying seemed harder than avoiding packaged food. When I succeeded in making a better life without it, instead of helping people along, I unplugged my fridge, then my apartment.Maybe I'm exploring the frontier of sustainability more than leading. Still, it's funny to call a frontier territory where all humans lived for 300,000 years. I'm working on developing leadership skills and techniques that work.Anyway, listen to the episode to hear how Derek got me thinking about my role and what's next for sustainability. We geek out on emacs, vi, and such things. I think I can safely say he sounded intrigued and will likely be back.Derek's home page, which links to all his work