(Formerly Leadership and the Environment)
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Leadership turns feeling alone and complacent into action.
We bring leaders to the environment to share what works. Less facts, figures, and gloom. More stories, reflection, self-awareness, connection, support, and community.
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631: Stephen M. R. Covey, part 1.5: To Arrive Where We Started and to Know the Place for the First Time
Continuing a long trend of guests sharing partially doing their commitments but not stopping, Stephen comes back for an episode 1.5, not yet his episode 2.
Stephen committed to sharing his childhood family experiences hiking on a path near a family cabin (my description doesn't do justice to his description, so listen to his first episode, 622, to hear his description drawing on his life experiences). As happens sometimes when a commitment depends on other people, their being unavailable meant he couldn't complete the whole things.
He did his part, as he describes in this episode, and he could have declared he consider it enough. Instead, he shares what happened this time, and that he doesn't consider his commitment finished.
He shares what worked, what didn't, the experience of walking solo (and biking there instead of driving).
Genuine, authentic leaders know one's measure of personal success depends not on things outside of your control. You succeed if you perform to your potential.
We started talking about Michelle's commitment to avoid scrolling on vacation. She did. It sounds like it was both no big deal and something worth building on. We had intended to keep the recording to under thirty minutes for scheduling reasons, but the conversation kept staying too interesting to stop. We talked about addiction, how big a difference small differences can make, the difference between Portland and Vancouver in culture, how to change culture, living off the grid, and what stays with you when transitioning back.
I think Jay's commitment may be the first where I participated and we had a blast!
You may remember he committed to kayaking on the Hudson. He invited me to join. As you can see from the picture, I did, and we kayaked together. We shared about the experience.
Note the change in our conversation and relationship from last conversation to this one. By last conversation we had spoken several times to set up the call, then you could hear our recorded conversation. Then hear how things changed just spending time in nature, in a way suggested by his values. That the Hudson by Manhattan isn't wild like, say, the mouth of the Amazon doesn't change that acting on our environmental values opens us up and connects us. Mainstream culture has isolated us so much and cut us off from nature, we don't know what we're missing.
We're talking about applying this experience to the Queer Liberation March team to help make keeping the event clean fun and enjoyable, not an obligation but an opportunity. Stay tuned!
Nadeem contacted me as a listener to suggest Abdal Hakim Murad as a guest, as I hadn't hosted any Muslims on the podcast by then. I learned a lot and enjoyed meeting Abdal, plus Nadeem and I stayed in touch. When Janet Allaker's first episode with a listener went well, I invited Nadeem to be a guest. He loved the opportunity. I think we both enjoyed the conversation. If you're a regular listener, you'll get to hear another voice from your position.
You'll get to hear another listener's views on sustainability and this podcast. Nadeem cares enough to act, though not as much as me. He listens to This Sustainable to ground him and inspire more sustainability work. We talk about what motivates him, religion, family, Norway, and of course do the Spodek Method.
I think you'll find some similarities and differences in his approach and stick with the podcast.
Regular readers and listeners know my passion for cleaning my local park, Washington Square Park, and how my heart breaks at how we abuse this sliver of a vestige of nature, especially the mornings after the Queer Liberation Marches of the past two years.
As an organizer, Jay didn't have to respond to my request, but he did. By the end of this recording, you'll hear us talk about reducing waste next year. We begin by talking about the evolution of the pride marches from when he started attending in the 1980s. He describes them becoming more corporate, less participatory, but most of all, controlled by the cops, not necessarily helping the march. The cops often seem like they're just dominating parades; all New York City parades, not just this march. As a New Yorker, his description struck a chord. His split with the older march sounds almost heartbreaking.
Then we talk about the mess attendees created. I point out that nearly everyone identifies ground and waterway waste as sanitation issues, but I see them as too-much-supply issues. We talked about collaborating to reduce the waste people bring and buy at the event. For decades, if people brought things to marches and parades, they didn't leave plastic garbage behind. If they did, not nearly in the quantities of today.
It may not seem fair for people to have to decline buying trinkets and bottled water when they just want to have fun, but attendees before cheap, abundant plastic enjoyed parades as much as today. I expect there will be more fun if we communicate to next year's attendees to refuse disposable anything.
We also did the Spodek Method and you may be able to tell from the picture I used how it went before you listen to our second episode.
I answer my first listener questions. If you have questions on topics I write about, like leadership, sustainability, sustainability leadership, sidchas, habits, academia, physics, podcasting, and so on, contact me.
This episode's questions:
I came across John from listening to one of his podcast's season, Seeing White, about the development of whiteness as a race. I listened to the whole series, which I found fascinating and provocative. Then I discovered another season, Men, covering another topic important to me. I invited him to be on the podcast, then I learned from him the most recent season, The Repair, is on the environment.
We start this conversation talking about systems and approaching the topics above through a systems perspective. With such topics, with which everyone connects intimately, meaningful communication about them becomes personal. John shared his evolution beyond his expectations, challenging his identity even to himself. I comment how openly he shared about himself, which must have taken a lot of courage. From another perspective, I think his, I think he felt compelled to share.
He shared how his ongoing research into race and these other systemic issues keeps revealing how baked in to American society inequities are. No one can escape them. He also talks about our widespread willful motivated denial. There are commonalities to my views on sustainability, so I bring them in.
We could have filled hours and I feel we just got started, but he'll be back for more episodes. His experience with nature was touching.
AJ is in some ways a kindred soul, actually doing things many people hear about or even talk about, but rarely do. Regular listeners might remember our mutual friend Mike Michalowicz suggesting we talk. We start by talking about things AJ has done and written about. He read the encyclopedia cover to cover. He lived a year following biblical instructions as literally as possible. He practiced radical honesty.
He shares behind the stories too, the fun and learning that came from it. I believe I heard some resonance and more meaningful respect for my trying to live more sustainably.
Underneath it all from AJ, you'll hear a curiosity, thirst for life, and enthusiasm to experience life to its fullest, the opposite of watching it happen or letting it pass him by. You'll want to live more thoroughly too.