068: Tensie Whelan, part 2: “You’ve got to do what you believe in”

July 27, 2018 by Joshua
in Podcast

Tensie Whelan

Welcome to the second conversation with Tensie Whelan. We talked about wine, we talked about creating and changing habits and we talked about eating bugs which happens when you talk to someone who worked with Rainforest Alliance and worked all around the world with different cultures. More specific to Leadership and the Environment, we also talk about dealing with people when you change, how to influence them and perspectives that make these things worth, the belief systems that drive these things. I think you’ll hear she had a lot of fun with this challenge. So let’s listen.

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Joshua: Hello and welcome to the Leadership and the Environment podcast. This is Joshua Spodek. I am here with Tensie Whelan. How are you doing?

Tensie: I’m doing well. Thanks, Josh.

Joshua: And the last time we spoke we spoke about a bunch of things. Two of the things were wine and jobs. And jobs as not just a side thing with the environment. And if it’s ok with you, I would like to start with wine first. And I have a prediction. We have not spoken yet. And I like when people start with something that they like. Some people might say, “Wine. That’s just like a fun thing.” But I through lots of interviews have found that what’s most important is doing something, not the size of the thing or what the thing is. If the person likes it, then they will find that they like it more and they’ll do more. So not having spoken to you, is it something like that?

Tensie: Yes. No, it’s been fun actually, it’s been a voyage. So since we spoke, you know my target was to drink and buy only sustainable or biodynamic organic wine. So the first time I had to go buy a bottle of wine I was in a hurry, I had to find a place and I found this sort of packaged type store in Brooklyn and went everywhere, I could not find a bottle of sustainable wine and I finally found this sort of inadequate bottle of wine. Then I started to look around in other places in Park Slope where I live and I found two wine shops that not only do they have sustainable organic wine, but they actually have stickers with what kind of sustainability it is and so I was able to get a wonderful variety and they’re all very knowledgeable about it. So that was one thing.

Then I went to L.A. to visit my boyfriend and you would think in L.A. they’d be like they would be all over this. I went to a huge liquor shop in Studio City and again I could only find one sustainable wine which I got which was kind of not great but that was interesting to me because you think in L.A…

Joshua: It could be even local.

Tensie: Right, exactly. So not happening. And then the other element is you know going into restaurants and asking for it. So I have to admit there was once or twice when I forgot I was supposed to be doing that.

Joshua: So you were drinking and you’re thinking, “Oh”…

Tensie: I forgot but it was only once or twice in the beginning and then after that each time I’ve asked, “Do you have a sustainable organic version? So most recently just Monday night I was eating at [unintelligible] just around the corner and as this poor guy I was asking him so first it was just the wine by glass and had to keep going back and talking to the wine guy about what was sustainable, what wasn’t. And then finally he gave up and he sent the…

Joshua: The sommelier.

Tensie: Yeah, the sommelier who was very knowledgeable and went through everything and you know was pointing out to all of us [unintelligible] bottles of wine and I was like, “No, that’s ok. Really.” That’s so much. We ended with a lovely bottle of wine. But anyway, it was a very interesting conversation he was talking and he was explaining why biodynamic differs from sustainable and he educated the entire table because the rest of them hadn’t paid attention to this. So that was sort of a conversation with everybody at the table.

Joshua: Were they annoyed or happy?

Tensie: No, they were interested.

Joshua: Because a lot of people are like, “I don’t want to make trouble” and stuff like that but now you’ve got the sommelier over and now probably the other tables were like, “How can they get the treatment?”

Tensie: Yeah, yeah. No, it was totally fine. And actually, one of my colleagues there was like, “Oh, this is interesting. I’m going to go home and sort of research this sort of dynamic thing because biodynamic is when you among other things you bury a cow horn filled with manure under the full moon.” So he wanted to find out why that was part of it.”

Joshua: That’s new to me. Cow horn. Like a bull horn?

Tensie: A cow horn is supposed to have something to do with the enrichment of the soil, something to do with honoring Demeter, God or something. Anyway, I did not go look it up. But they also have other criteria that are around sort of the sustainability of the production.

Joshua: Now there’s a lot of things I want to follow up. When you’re in Brooklyn looking around did you make special trips or is this when you went…. You said you went to a couple of different places. Was that because you’re going out of your way or was it just you’re going to some place and you’re like I got to pick some wine and it happened one time in one place and another time in another place? Was this taking you out of your way?

Tensie: So the first one, the first place I went I just happened to be over there, it’s not normally where I’d be. And I thought I’ll go to this wine shop that I go to sometimes and they were the ones who didn’t really have what I needed. Then I remember that there was another more like what I would say kind of hipster wine shop and I thought they’ll have it. And so I went out of my way to go to that one. And indeed, they did. And then the third one I went to is sort of closer to where I live and that’s what I’m going to now because I see but they also have a good selection.

Joshua: So now they are getting more business because they had a greater selection of organic or biodynamic, bull, cow horn…Or you didn’t know about that yet? So in California, you had a mediocre wine? Was it bad or was it…

Tensie: No, it was just not very interesting. It was fine.

Joshua: A lot of times people say, “Hey, Josh, where do we go to eat if we’re going to a restaurant?” and they’ll say, “Let’s go to a vegetarian place or some…” I’m like I don’t like those places because it usually means that they sacrifice quality in order to give you this thing because there are a lot of single issue people. Have you found that to be the case?

Tensie: No, actually I think in general I mean well… Price point and house produce and everything is the same regardless of whether it’s organic or sustainable or conventional. But what I do think is that the organic and biodynamic and sustainable actually, because it doesn’t have the chemicals in the production they have to take a lot more care, a lot more hand labor associated with it. You are less likely to get the headaches because there’s no chemicals in it. So it’s going to follow the same order. You know you can have a crappily produced organic wine just like you can have a crappily produced conventional wine but when you get up to really good wines I think or even just 15-dollar bottles of wine it’s not like you know fancy bottles of wine and you get really nice taste, really nice products and also there’s no chemicals in it for you sort of have a negative impact on you.

Joshua: Is that something you knew before or is that something that’s come out since the last time?

Tensie: No, I knew that. I just you know I mean sometimes I buy but I just didn’t make a point of it. So not making a point of it every single time.

Joshua: It makes me think of like years ago when I wasn’t a vegetarian…Every single restaurant Manhattan now has something vegetarian. It’s been a long time since that and now I think you’re going be on the forefront of this. Or is this just kind of growing? I don’t even know the status of biodynamic wines or organic sustainable wines.

Tensie: They are growing. I mean for example in this country there’s a lot of focus in Oregon, in California on developing wines that are sustainable not necessarily 100 percent organic but with far fewer chemicals because they’re just saying that it makes better sense for them sort of environmentally but also financially. So I think it’s a growing area and also growing demand for it from people.

Joshua: So to those listening looking for something to do being in the forefront of leadership and the environment. So we talked about what you did. What about how you felt about it? Were you having fun? Was it taking on a challenge? Was it annoying? How did it feel?

Tensie: So in the restaurants I was maybe a little bit nervous to sort of have to be pick one of those picky you know yuppie people who are asking for the…But you know it’s just a tiny thing I got over that pretty quickly and actually I found everybody to be you know very accommodating and they either they knew or they went and found out and always, actually every single time there was a choice that met my requirements. That was awesome. So I don’t feel nervous about it anymore. And in terms of going and looking for the stores it’s just irritating at times when you don’t have any choices, there’s a store and there’s nothing there that gives you a good choice. But living in Brooklyn there are certainly plenty of shops with choices and in Manhattan or anywhere else so I think if you’re living in certain parts of the country it might be more irritating than it is for me trying to find a decent wine.

Joshua: They may have to go organic beer which I feel like is more commonly available. So talking about other people oftentimes the biggest challenges that people face with these they finish my first conversation and they say, “I’m going to take on this challenge” or “I want to do this thing with my values.” And then other people you know are like, “I can do this” and then someone’s like, “Just get the wine.” Or you were at the restaurant and now you got the sommelier over and people at the table are like, “What’s going on over here?” Were other people a problem? Were they helpful? Was that something that was an issue?

Tensie: You know I think they were all… What would the right word be? They know me as someone who’s you know an active environmentalist so I think they were accommodating because they know this is part of who I am and they just sort of accepted it. But as I said I think one of them really paid attention and said, “Oh, this is interesting. Let me think about this more.” So what I hope is you know I didn’t lecture them about that or should be doing this but hopefully it made them pay attention and maybe they’ll think about that for their wine choices in the future. But I have not found any negative sort of brushback pushback.

Joshua: It certainly will be the case although when people before they start they think that’s going to be a big deal or they don’t think about it all and it could be something. The other things is traveling. So you also traveled in this period. Well, it’s funny you went to a place you expected it to be easier, it wasn’t easier. Although maybe it’s just because you don’t live there as much as you do here. Was traveling an issue. Were you not able to drink on the flight?

Tensie: I did not drink on the flight. And I made up my mind if they don’t have it, I’m not going to drink which is good. I mean that’s like fun that’s fewer calories. So it’s a positive, not a negative. I feel like I’ve forgotten where were the times that I forgot but I have a feeling that it was when I was traveling somewhere and I just wasn’t thinking about it like not to L.A. which is where I’m more used to going or to New York but it might have been traveling on business and just had a glass of wine and I just completely forgot I was supposed to be doing that.

Joshua: And how do you feel about that? That’s actually another big thing that people… It’s like how you handle… It’s very rare that someone says you know today I start flossing and then for the rest of their life like they never miss flossing. But sometimes people say, “I messed it up. This is just too hard. I can’t do it.” And then they give up. It doesn’t sound like that happened with you. How did you handle that when you were like halfway through a bottle like oops?

Tensie: Yeah. You know I just sort of said, “Oh, oops.” And I still finished the wine. But it wasn’t a bottle but if it is a glass…

Joshua: “How am I going to explain this to Josh and his audience?”

Tensie: So I am not going to waste the wine. That would not be sustainable, it would be wasteful. But then I just made a mental note like the first time I was like, “Oh, that’s not good.” And then when it happened the second because it happened twice I think that, I was like, “OK, this is not going to happen anymore. It’s now in my head and it hasn’t.” I mean it’s sort of in my head. And I feel like this is what I’m going to do the rest of my life. So I mean you know. Thank you.

Joshua: OK. So if you saying thank you to me, you’re welcome. And I’ll pass it to the audience for being the public accountability of it. People say like, “Oh, you have so much discipline to be able to do these things.” I think the transition may take some discipline. Once a transition happens, it’s like not very hard. I mean in my experience these things it’s not so hard to maintain once you have the mindset. For me, I haven’t made the shift as you have. But I would imagine sometime. I don’t drink the chemical wine. I drink the non-chemical wine. It’s not so hard. It’s like I don’t know at some places eat bugs. It’s not hard for me not to eat bugs. It’s really easy. Is it like that?

Tensie: Absolutely.

Joshua: Do you eat bugs?

Tensie: I have eaten bugs. Yeah. When I was in the Rainforest Alliance, slugs, grasshoppers and ants and all kinds of exciting things.

Joshua: Note: before we finish get a story on the bug eating. Let’s go back to the wine though.

Tensie: So I’m sorry, I got distracted. What was the question?

Joshua: Was it hard? I believe the transition is a challenge. Not always but sometimes, even if the transition is a challenge. Once you’ve made the mindset shift is how people have characterized it, then it’s not a challenge. It’s like brushing your teeth. Yeah, it’s like yeah, it takes time, it takes effort. I do it.

Tensie: Yeah. No, I think it’s going to be pretty easy moving forward. As I said I feel first of all, wine is not something that you have to buy or you shouldn’t buy every day every minute. Secondly, I live in a place where I have access. And third, it’s something that now that I’m socialized into I can regularly think about. So I think you know what I’d like to think about in the future is you know how do I without proselytizing you know begin to get other people to think about their wine too.

Joshua: The natural thought of a leader is, my read, I don’t mean to put words in your mouth, “Oh, this is my life. This isn’t hard. Why would I not help others do it to?” And the last time we talked a lot about sales and well, I guess we put the label sales on it but it was about influencing others and going where they are. Have you made any headway on that?

Tensie: No, I haven’t really gone there yet. I think the way to do it is when I have parties you know I had that kind of wine I’ll sort of tell people [unintelligible], I’ll tell them a little story about it. You know just very light, with family, like my brother really is into wine. I’ll talk to him about like, “Hey, let’s try this.” I will buy him some so you know like that kind of soft way of doing things. But there’s more important things that I need to focus on so I can get people back you know make a career out of…

Joshua: That’s not your battle.

Tensie: Right, right, right.

Joshua: Although you said “soft way” although what I heard was experiential and taste, experiential. It’s so much more effective than…I think like logic, rhetoric like they never talk it like, “Try before you buy.” Aristotle never said that. It really works.

Tensie: Yeah, I think that’s right. Exactly right.

Joshua: And who turns down wine?

Tensie: Yeah. Not my friends.

Joshua: So now I do want to talk about jobs. I know that that was something that you gave a year, something like a year timescale it wasn’t the high priority. Before we get to that, can we talk bugs? Rainforest Alliance means… I’m picturing you in some place outside the United States and as someone like try this or…

Tensie: Well, so my least favorite bug eating was in the Ecuadorian Amazon with native tribe and they had this white slug, quite large, I don’t know how big is that, like that. That’s how big it is.

Joshua: So to the listeners, she’s holding her hands up making a circle with her thumbs and forefingers of two inches diameter. That’s a big slug.

Tensie: Yeah. And they barbecue it and put a lot of salt and oil on it.

Joshua: Is it a delicacy there or is it weird for them too?

Tensie: Yes, it’s delicacy. So fortunately, I didn’t see what it looks like before it was barbecued. So I ate it and it was not something I would eat again but I mainly tasted the oil and the salt and the crunchiness.

Joshua: So like calamari at a bar or something like that.

Tensie: So it was okay. It was alright. But then when I saw the white slug crawling around that was really disgusting.

So ants, these large ants that they kind of roast and also salt and oil. And I ate those in Colombia on a coffee farm that we were visiting and they were actually perfectly fine. You know again not my choice but it was sort of like leaving little crunchy things. And then obviously grasshoppers are really big in Mexico and there are these little grasshoppers and again it is this kind of crunchy, salty, oily things. But of all of them probably if I had to choose which tray I would eat, I would eat the ants.

Joshua: It’s funny now because I think a lot of people…I think of when I was in Thailand they would sell bugs sold on the street you know fried up in woks or whatever. And I always thought it was like the sort of thing where tourists would egg each other on, “Oh, you do it! No, you do it!” And I’m thinking which is harder for someone from America – to eat ants or to get organic wine? And I bet the people who go for the school for the wine too.

Tensie: And have the two of them together.

Joshua: Yeah. Oh, nice pairing.

Tensie: Well, that’s what at this Columbian coffee farm they gave us sustainable coffee and the ants. Apparently, that was the pairing we had there.

Joshua: Did you do it to fit in or to try something new, to challenge yourself? Because it was normal there?

Tensie: You know these are humble homes and people are offering you something and to the extent possible unless you think you would maybe get sick from it, you really want to try to accept their hospitality.

Joshua: So this is in people’s homes. It is not in some tourist area they like…

Tensie: Yeah.

Joshua: Interesting. And when you described the slug I thought it sounded like squid. I mean if it had come from a different place, it wouldn’t have been such a..

Tensie: But yeah, but I think it’s true. I mean we eat bizarre stuff. Like probably if we gave them snails or squid or oysters or you know some people those things those are just as bizarre it’s just what you grow up eating that you think is weird or not weird you know. I mean urchins, sea urchins like scooping out a sea urchin out of a shell, isn’t absolutely delicious. It is like a very bizarre thing for a lot of people.

Joshua: Thank you for the diversion, the culinary diversion.

Tensie: All very sustainable, by the way.

Joshua: I haven’t thought about that perspective yet.

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Joshua: So jobs and the role of a company, corporate social responsibility is…Can you remind us what…It was a project that was on your mind before we spoke last time.

Tensie: Yeah. So an area I’m looking at is the role of business in creating jobs. So you know typically everybody sort of says, “Oh, yes of course it’s the role of the business to create jobs.” The Trump tax cuts were in theory partially to give corporations money to pay their workers more to hire more people.

Joshua: So the trickle down economic theory.

Tensie: It was the rhetoric. Yeah. But what we have is a situation today where shareholder capitalism which requires short term management of stock price to increase stock price which means reduction of margins, I am sorry, increase of margins which means reducing your costs which generally means reducing your labor costs because labor is the biggest chunk for most companies to reduce is resulting in a transfer of wealth from workers to shareholders and shareholders in this country are only 20 percent. Only 20 percent of Americans hold shares.

So you’re talking about 80 percent who are left out of that calculation. So even though today we have a 3.8 percent unemployment rate which is historically low, it’s misleading because only 62.6 percent of working age Americans are actually looking for a job or working. So that 3.8 percent does not include people who have stopped looking.

Joshua: It’s one tenth. I mean I’m just doing the math – 3.8 percent versus roughly 38 percent.

Tensie: Right. Right.

Joshua: So 90 percent of the people who are not working don’t show up in that statistic.

Tensie: Exactly. Yes. Right. So 62.6 percent are working or looking for jobs. But it’s the percentage between 62.6 and the 3.8 percent that are not looking and maybe they don’t want to work and maybe they don’t have to work but probably a lot of them have just given up. So we have that statistic. And then you have a number of other very worrisome statistics. So while American productivity has gone up 30 percent for the bottom 70 percent of workers their wages have been stagnant. So they’re not reaping any of the benefits of the productivity improvements.

The other thing that we’re seeing is that a huge growth in low wage jobs. So in 2009 24 percent of jobs were low wage jobs. And those are projected to double to 48 percent by 2020. And then similarly, when you look at the gig economy which basically means a job without any paid benefits – no vacation, no health care, no nothing, you’re on your own, those are currently at 34 percent of our working population and that’s projected to go to 50 percent by 2020. So when you look at a combination of low wage jobs with no benefits even though that group is employed per se they’re employed in a way that makes it very, very difficult to put food on the table to deal with crisis that comes up in terms of health care, to put any money aside for retirement etc. And all of this is happening because companies are outsourcing so they no longer have to pay all the benefits and stuff, they’re outsourcing to other companies, they’re offshoring as we know or they’re automating. And they’re doing those things in general because they’re under significant pressure to reduce their costs in order to deliver more to the shareholders. So I go back to my thesis that we’re seeing this transfer of wealth from workers to shareholders as hugely problematic. So this is a research that we’re working on and we’ll have a lot more to share in a couple of months.

Joshua: So I guess of the 20 percent that own shares that probably they don’t all own equally so I’ll bet something like 20 percent of them own 80 percent of the shares or something like that so it’s probably a small number there. Now someone might say OK, now the jobs are being overseas, they’re helping them. Is that the case? Are we paying higher wages to people who get…

Tensie: So I have never actually… I think helping to create jobs overseas is a good thing you know from my perspective of running the Rainforest Alliance previously. You know I’ve seen people being lifted out of poverty through international supply chains where they’re able to grow products for people here and we’re in a global economy, we’re not going to go… Despite what this current administration thinks we’re not going to be able to put the genie back in the bottle and turn us into a kind of like isolated little national economy. It is a global economy and helping to create jobs elsewhere is important. And though while see countries like China which had abysmal working conditions and abysmal wages over time they’ve actually increased that. So they’ve improved the working conditions and the wages in China. Now unfortunately that company sort of went to other places that were cheaper like Vietnam and Bangladesh but then, again, we start to see that those then improve.

So as we offshore definitely we’re going to places where wages are low and benefits are low and work conditions are far poor in many cases, not all cases in the United States. So yes, that can be problematic. At the same time, it’s also it is creating jobs and income for people. But I think I’m just focused right now on the U.S. labor force. I’m not saying that offshoring is never something that you should do. What I’m saying is how can we believe that America will survive and be a great and competitive economy and one where its people are happy and healthy if 48 percent are in low wage and 50 percent are contingent labor and they have no benefits and no safety net. That’s the problem. And somebody needs to take responsibility for that and we’re not seeing any responsibility either by government or by corporations and sort of figure out how do we tackle that challenge.

Joshua: I think most people say well, that’s globalization. And let’s watch it happen.

Tensie: And it’s not globalization. It’s this shareholder capitalism model where everything is about you know getting all the money of the shareholders and taking away from everybody else except for you know the executives who make their percentage off of their stock price management. It is basically managing stock price and not managing all the other elements of business.

Joshua: So it sounds like you’re at the stage now of framing it for yourselves as to what the problem is, to what to do about it.

Tensie: Right exactly.

Joshua: I would guess too early to ask are you starting to see light at the end of the tunnel or like an action that you can do yet? Or is it too early to ask?

Tensie: We are starting to develop that but it’s too early to kind of go into it but I’d be glad once we get this published and I’ll probably have to talk to you about it.

Joshua: Well, I hope that this helps spur more thought than you would have otherwise. So I want to combine these things in a way that people do with me all the time is with issues like this. You’re talking hundreds of millions of people. What difference does it make if you have organic wine or not? A lot of people say these little things don’t add up. And so what’s the point? I know how I feel about that. Is that something that crosses your mind?

Tensie: It hasn’t actually crossed my mind what does organic wine have to do with the gig economy. No.

Joshua: The scale of things. Why bother with this thing that’s… So you get this bottle of wine and it’s organic. Meanwhile there’s like hundreds of million people out of work. Do you really think that makes a difference?

Tensie: Yeah. So yes, I do have a philosophy about that because if I didn’t think that small changes added up to big changes, I would never get out of bed in the morning. So you have to you have to practice what you preach, you have to take small steps and incremental change while at the same time see where you can contribute to a larger more transformative change.

As you know the larger transformative change may or may not happen. The small incremental stuff you’re in charge of you can make it happen. So you need to do both. I think it.

Joshua: Because a lot of people they just stop at that point. I think a lot of times they’ll hear someone do something and they think, “Well, that’s not saving the world. All it does is a little thing. So I’m not going to bother either.” I want to address that because I think that… I’m going to share with you if you don’t mind two things that I think are the…Alright. So the geek in me if I start saying something superlative I have to qualify this superlative. I want to say it and if I say it off a little bit just because I’m on the spot. But two of the biggest causes of global warming right now, or not global warming, global warming plus all the other environmental issues – pollution, litter and stuff like that, deforestation. Anyway. One of them is I want to change but if I do something and no one else does, then what I do doesn’t matter. And so that stops people from changing their behavior. And the other is if something’s really small it doesn’t matter. So it’s not worth doing. If it’s really big it takes too much work so it’s too hard to do. And those two things alone I think are the big things that stop people from changing their behavior and so behavior that’s ultimately causing the emissions and the litter and so forth. And those don’t stop you. And I wanted to give you a chance for that. Why it doesn’t stop you? So if listeners are like, “Well, I would do something blah-blah-blah.” Well, let the listeners see, like you’re smiling, you’re like yeah, that’s not an issue. That’s not a problem, is it?

Tensie: I was just well, I [unintelligible] an analogy for why that small change is easy to do and you shouldn’t get stopped by it. You know I am always trying to think about how to make more personal. You know you do things that fit with your own ethical frame. It might be how you treat your child or if you believe in God, how you act as a Christian or a Jew or whatever in your religion. Let me just use an example. So you have a certain value set and frame and you will take unilateral action based on that, not based on what other people around you do. Because you have that strong belief system that I need to do X for my child regardless of knowing that this small thing that I do for her is going to result in something you know down the line. So you’re thinking about things based on that mindset. So for me taking a step backward and saying my mindset is I live in this planet, I need to think about what’s going to happen for future generations and you know trying to avoid air conditioning and not really using cars very much is not going to save the planet. But it’s that I am taking responsibility for myself and my role in this country and this planet and doing what I can to make a contribution there. And like everybody says like so if everybody does that, then it all adds up. So I guess that’s my answer that first thing is like you’re just you’ve got to do what you believe in and you’ve got to do it for yourself.

And then you know does the big stuff stop you? Like it’s too big so I can’t deal with it. You know there’s that Margaret Mead statement which is that, “Never doubt that a small group of people can change the world. It’s the only thing that ever has.” Again, all change starts somewhere. And oftentimes you get this tipping point because there is a lot of small movements all at the same time because everybody is getting frustrated or concerned all at once. So what we’re saying around capitalism for example and people really getting concerned about the inequity that this type of capitalism that we have today is causing you know we’re seeing movements spike by the founder of Whole Foods for conscious capitalism and Lynne Rothschild for inclusive capitalism and there is another group working on regenerative capitalism and you know so clearly all these different small groups are saying, “What we have right now is not working.” So at a certain point when all these people are saying this isn’t working, then you get a step change.

So you may be in your own little place on this like attack on capitalism like I am in you know at Stern but the current form of capitalism like I said more general like it starts to all add up and then you have a tsunami.

Joshua: And so you’re part of that.

Tensie: Yeah. So you’re part of that.

Joshua: And it’s so different than…So many people. Thank you for this refreshing breath of fresh air that in comparison to a lot of people out there it’s just like this. You know I think when people know have a value that they want to act on and they don’t, they get cynical, they get to joke about it in a way that’s not too serious. But I feel like it’s eating them up inside and I don’t see you being eaten up inside despite living in the same world with the same most likely outcomes and so forth.

But I want to wrap up with… Well, I usually ask a couple of questions at the end. One is is there anything I didn’t think to ask to bring up that’s worth bringing up? And the other is do you have any message directly to the listeners that you want to share?

Tensie: I guess in terms of a message the message would be go ask your wine store for a sustainable organic or biodynamic wine and also ask for it at your local restaurant or bar. And if they don’t have it, ask if they might have it next time you visit. And I think more broadly you know have hope, make change, have fun while you’re doing it.

Joshua: She says it with a smile and a sparkle in her eye that’s like that too. You have fun with it. Well, thank you very much, Tensie. And let me leave the door open if your commitment leads to more things and you want to share something else that’s come up, feel free to call me back and I’ll come back and do another episode if you want. But thank you very much.

Tensie: Hey, thank you, Josh.

***

Tensie described and lived the point of this podcast – acting on your values not complying with what other people tell you to do, acting on your values, what do you care about, not imposing on others and having fun. I didn’t hear a whisper of guilt, blame, doom, gloom, helplessness, despair or what many people associate with acting on the environment. Despite all she’s done, a lifetime of acting environmentally, she found something new that she could work on. However modest, it didn’t stop her from doing anything else. On the contrary, it led to more – more self-awareness, more fun, more interacting with others, more leading others. I read this episode not as the end of what she’s doing but the beginning.

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Initiative leadership spodek

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