People care about the environment but feel “If I act but everyone else doesn’t, what difference does it make?”
Yet living by your environmental values brings joy, meaning, and purpose.
Leaders help create meaning. Creating it for acting on the environment is my passion.
This podcast is starting that leadership, changing systemic goals and beliefs from growth at any cost to enjoying what we have.
You’ll hear influencers act on their environmental values, struggle, and then say: I wish I had done this earlier. Thank you for getting me to start!
Upcoming guests include
Episode 000: the back story:
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025: David Biello, Conversation 1: We Can Do This
David Biello is one of the few people I've met who understands environmental issues, doesn't complain or vent doom and gloom. Instead he approaches with a simple, but responsible and thoughtful perspective.
I met David after reading a review of his book, The Unnatural World: The Race to Remake Civilization in Earth's Newest Age, saying that David says:
we already have the money and technology to make profound environmental change; what we need is large-scale motivation. With a defiantly hopeful tone, he profiles some of the most effective change-makers.
Large-scale motivation means leadership to me. Having heard this view almost nowhere, but considering it the most important, I read his book and contacted him. He writes for Scientific American and is the Science Curator for TED.
If you want to know about what's happening environmentally in a straightforward, no nonsense way, listen. Also read his book. He knows the issues and he cares. He's thought about the issues people's motivations, what holds people back, what can work.
He also committed to a personal challenge many of you will resonate with.
He reminds us that making a difference requires taking responsibility. People may prefer technological silver bullets, government silver bullets, and other ways for others to act first, but all those deus ex machinas people dream of will come if we act first. You and I.
He offers many examples of hope. We've done more before: smoking, freeing South Africa and India, slavery.
Michael's schedule turned a modest one-month challenge into a five-month one.
Many would give up. I suspect most people respond that way to environmental challenges---when it gets harder or unpredictable, they abandon it.
I wondered how Michael would handle it.
Needless to say, he stuck to it---amid the extra time, involving his wife, travel, and more.
What do you know, the challenge was easy. Not trivial, but something he could have done earlier.
Michael is an expert at creating habits, so if you're listening in part to learn to create yours, his story will help.
He called some conventional wisdom on habit formation "bollocks," which made me cringe. Until I heard his explanation, which taught me new things and made more sense than what I thought before. I consider myself knowledgeable and experienced on habit formation.
As usual, success involved turning community into a teammate. In Michael's case, he enlisted his wife's help and (mutual) support. Sound obvious? It is with experience, but most people find other people obstruct their habits.
Michael's story isn't the first where a challenge others might consider big became easy. He described the resulting feeling as warm and fuzzy.
My big lesson was that it's hard to do big things when you haven't done the small things.
But doing the small things enables the big things, so doing the small things helps. The key is doing, not just talking, planning, or settling for awareness.
Who doesn't have a dream car?
If you can afford it, especially if you've aspired to it your whole life, isn't owning and driving your dream car one of the great joys and well-earned accomplishments in life?
What if you found something better? What if what you liked better was not having the car?
Does the idea of getting rid of one of your highest value sound crazy?
That's the value of knowing your values. You learn what's better for you.
Dov loves his Jaguar. He worked his whole life to get it. His personal challenge led him to consider that letting go of it could improve his life more than keeping it?
Sound crazy? Listen to this episode to learn how his greater experience led him to see greater values than his car---in freedom, consciousness, responsibility, and things many people with authority talk about but few live.
Speaking of values, freedom, responsibility, and so on, I've read a lot of leadership books. They all talk about values and so on, abstractly. In this episode Dov talks about them in his life---genuinely, authentically, connecting to his life and choices that affect him and people he cares about.
I put what Dov shares against the content of any leadership book and suggest that Dov shares more. Talking about values and such in the abstract doesn't translate to action and how you live your life. Now that I've met many leadership teachers, authors, and coaches, I've seen some not live the values the profess.
I'm glad this podcast is giving people the chance to examine their values, face internal conflict between their values, their actions, comfort, and convenience, and discover the value in persevering through the struggle to live by what they care about.
We start with plants, gardening, and cooking. While I enjoy hearing a world class speaker talking about digging in dirt (as Gandhi did), the deep, surprising stuff comes about halfway through and keeps building
We talk about awareness versus willful ignorance, distraction from what matters, how to get back to what matters, how freedom can be a prison, reflection, meditation, and learning about oneself---not lecturing but in connection to daily life.
He also talked about his challenge, what he loves, and living by his values, overcoming internal conflict. It's not what you lose, but what you replace it with and what you learn about yourself.
Dov's results speak for themselves.
He felt great. He savored. He said he was more than glad he did it. Considering getting rid of his car improved his life by including considering others in his actions.
He increased his freedom. However much getting rid of something he could afford sounds like a loss or restriction, listen to Dov to learn how it increased his freedom. If you think you know better, consider that he experienced more as a result of his challenge.
Dov's considering getting rid of a car took podcast to new level and increased my expectation that starting with as little as a set of one-on-one podcast conversation can lead to global change.
I'm releasing it before other conversations I recorded after. Mugs instead of cups won't change the world. I wondered if podcast could make a meaningful difference.
I hope you consider what your Jaguar is and what your delicious is so that you can act on it.
John Lee Dumas is one of the biggest names in entrepreneurship and podcasting. He also committed to one of the biggest, most enduring challenges of the podcast so far.
He and I met at a talk at the New York Public Library a week after the hurricanes hit his home in Puerto Rico. I was surprised at how that context affected his perception of the environment.
When I teach leadership based on people's existing motivations and passions, people often ask, "What if the person has no motivation or passion." I usually answer that people care about things more than they let on at first. To share what you care about makes you vulnerable, so many people protect their vulnerabilities by hiding them.
When I first asked him for what he cared about the environment, he gave me very little to work with. You'll hear how I handled it. If you're here in part to improve your leadership, I think you'll hear things to learn from.
John ended up sharing something he noticed, thought about, and cared about a lot, but never thought about acting on. Again, by the end, he committed to one of the biggest, most enduring challenges of the podcast so far.
During a book launch, Emily still turned off her computer in a stressful time. Book launches are crazy and people want your time like crazy. She still did it.
Despite her defining environmental differently than I expected, her experience was similar. As others found, it's not what you avoid, it's what you replace it with. I didn't hear her describe the experience negatively.
Instead I heard her talk about ritual, alignment, values, relationships, family, and other things the experience contributed to. As others found, acting on values leads to finding value and wanting to do more.
We also talked about bravery, her just-released book, and the experiences that led to it.
Beyond her challenge and book, you'll hear her sign up for another personal challenge.
I describe the big picture of this podcast. So far I've influenced a few people to make modest changes.
The big picture for this podcast is systemic change on a national, even global level.
I'm not just hoping to achieve it. I have a strategy. It's different and I expect it to work more than the existing strategies.
I describe how you can help.
Learning more about her just-released book, Bare Naked Bravery: How to Be Creatively Courageous, I see why I like her methods of developing bravery. They're based on the same effective techniques I base mine on for developing leadership---active, experiential learning, starting with the basics and building. She brings her techniques from music---the Suzuki Method in particular---which makes sense. Think of the bravery to perform in front of an audience, to reveal your truth and beauty, knowing others will critique and criticize.
If you want to be more brave, I recommend listening. We talk about how acting---to be brave, to act on your environmental values---apply everywhere in life. Explore her community online and read her book.
Emily interpreted environment differently than others, which give me something to learn, which is part of why I'm doing this podcast.
If you're considering committing to a personal challenge but haven't narrowed it down yet, hers may give you ideas on how to.
I coined the term Enron Environmentalism to explain the gap between what people say they value about the environment and what they do.
If you're an American, you probably practice Enron Environmentalism. Sadly, it's the opposite of self-awareness and integrity, as this episode of the podcast shows.
Learning the opposite will improve your leadership, your life, and as a side effect, your environmental impact.
Here are the articles I mention:
Enjoy the episode.
Talk about a generous conversation!
Dorie Clark shares about how to make yourself known, to become a leader, and to connect with others.
She shares her personal experiences, since she didn't start with any advantages, and some of what she shares in her books. We talked about one of my big questions: do you need to go through a major life challenge---a crucible---to achieve greatness or to become a leader.
When we got to talking about the environment and her personal challenge, you can hear in how she takes on hers that she's taken on many challenges before. If you want to improve your skills in taking on challenges and succeeding at them, her perspective reveals a lot to learn from.
Her challenge is, I think, the longest challenge someone committed to as her first. Listen to hear it.