People want pure, clean, safe air and water but keep polluting. We want to steward this beautiful Earth we inherited. Many feel If I act but everyone else doesn’t, what difference does it make?
Leaders help create meaning and purpose. Leaders help people do what they want but haven’t.
This podcast brings leadership to the environment—replacing doom and gloom with acting on your values, joy, and integrity.
You’ll hear leaders act on their environmental values, struggle, and then say: I wish I had done this earlier. Thank you for getting me to start!
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Our first in-person expert panel featured
Episode 000: the back story:
104: Jared Angaza, part 2: Motherhood and Apple Pie
Since appearing on his podcast, he and I have become friends. You can't hear it in this recording, but since meeting on line, I've met him in San Diego, where I stayed in his guest bedroom, meet his family, and cooked my famous no-packaging vegetable stew together.
So this episode is more personal.
Jared has acted more than most to live by his environmental values, so you'll get to hear someone not complaining. You get to hear people who have acted sharing our experiences. If you haven't acted and mean to, you'll hear that from other side. We don't complain, though we wonder why people don't act.
To me this was an open, honest conversation among people who are making meaningful changes in their lives and enjoying it. The leadership part of this podcast is about that joy, as well as meaning, value, importance, and purpose.
I hope this conversation showed that you'll enjoy changing when it's to live by your values and you'll wish you had earlier. Yes, you'll stop doing some things you are. Think of great historical change -- civil rights, slavery, and so on. People who made big changes are glad they did.
Incidentally, Jared introduced me to people who held an event where I spoke on leadership and the environment while cooking my famous no-packaging vegetable stew for 50 people
Evelina said she'd avoid plastic for a month before she could think twice about it. Did she complain or back out? You'll hear in this episode, but the big picture is that instead of giving up, she worked harder.
I've spoken to a lot of people who started from less and took on smaller projects, if anything. A lot of people talk. Evelina acted. She did a lot.
And what do you know? She enjoyed acting more than most people, who seem to prefer saying how helpless they are, despite the sorrow it seems to bring them.
Recall, she is a travel writer and chose not to fly. She's already done more than nearly anyone. She takes personal responsibility for what she does. But hearing her speak, you don't hear sadness or missing. I hear her creating joy, taking initiative, not waiting for others.
I think the root of her activity and joy is for doing the opposite of what most people do when they face not acting by their values. Most people delay acting by making a goal of "awareness" or "being more conscious," as if reading front page headlines nearly weekly on predicted environmental disasters recurring. Anyone not living under a rock is "aware."
Evelina differs because she acts. Her behavior sets her apart and replaces guilt with enthusiasm. She knows she's aware enough to act. I'm not sure how many back-to-back once-a-century droughts or coral die-offs they need to know about to break their threshold for awareness.
All their delaying personal action with talk of ineffective vague awareness led me to see that behavior leads to more awareness than the other way around.
In our conversation, you'll hear how people who are doing more than most sound. You won't hear us complaining. It's a delight talking to someone who acts and achieves.
Plus you'll hear my punch-a-kid view that will get me in trouble one day.Read the transcript.
In our second conversation, Geoffrey and I continue to pursue his unique approach to viewing the environment. I find it fascinating because he approaches the environment from a different direction, but he arrives to the same conclusion---the need for leadership to change cultural norms.
Talking here gave him the chance to explore ideas he raised in his book but didn't pursue. He wanted to do so, as I understand him. His book went in that direction, but he kept conservative.
We also considered the role of a scientist in our world's situation, then spoke about science, culture, the environment, and the role of scientists. It seems to me that we have to change the goals of our system, which doesn't mean stopping capitalism.
On the contrary, rules like bankruptcy and antitrust legislation fix inherent problems in capitalism of monopoly and debt turning into slavery. Markets also overproduce. We've accepted laws fixing such problems. Why not things like pollution taxes and externality taxes?
We also regulate accounting. We don't allow companies to lie about their finances. What's wrong with accurate accounting, not allowing companies to unload their costs on me?
Geoffrey was light on specifics on what to do. Leadership isn't just about a vision but how to implement---not just we should do X, but how to motivate people to do it. I'm a fan of basic research, science, and education, but I think we know enough. We aren't acting.
Many who serve in the military become leaders in business, politics, entrepreneurship, sports, and many other places.
What does the military teach so well?
Few people can answer better than Everett, as the head of West Point's leadership department. To say he and his department have extensive experience and knowledge leading and teaching others to lead is an understatement. You'll also find few people more calm, gracious, friendly, patient, and helpful.
I consider his voice eminently helpful to environmental causes because I see the lack of effective leadership to the greatest impediment to effective environmental action.
If you want to improve your leadership, this conversation will tell you all you have to do. You may have to listen many times, but you'll hear what it takes. Implementing will take a long time, but I'm not aware of shortcuts.
We cover how to learn to lead and what West Point does that you can emulate.
I'm posting this conversation today because Seth just launched his book, This is Marketing, already a #1 bestseller. As he points out, his marketing is close to what I call leadership: how to influence people, to discover your passion, and such. Helping people change is what this podcast is about.
We recorded this conversation months ago, so you get to hear previews of his book. We talked a lot about marketing, leadership, and the environment.
I saw a new side of Seth in this interview, partly because I was in his home. He met me at the train, coming from his farmers market. We talked about CSAs, volunteering, and such.
I'd seen his TED videos and read a couple of his books but speaking to him about my topics revealed something special. A lot of people teach and coach leadership and management. Some are excellent at it.
Few speak with his experience leading and practicing teaching leading. His experience shines through in everything he says. Listen carefully and you'll hear him several times anticipate and answer the next question I am about to ask. That anticipation comes from experience -- having answered and lived that question before.
I'm touched and motivated by his sensitivity and thanks at the end.
Since this conversation, I reread and rewatched his work in his voice and it came alive more. I'm more interested in persisting and persisting and persisting, working on making ideas spread, and accepting and embracing what he calls hypocrisy. These aren't new interests, but renewed from hearing his story.
I want to clarify that I'm not doing this podcast to use celebrities to influence. It's to build community, as I describe after the conversation.
I found him thoroughly genuine and authentic, acting out of passion and caring.
I believe the conversation will help lead you to speak up about what you care about.
Michael is the Executive Director of an organization that inspired me as much as any---The Story of Stuff. They continue to inspire me to think bigger and to focus on the details it would be easier to ignore but that matter.
If you want to avoid plastic, waste, and other stuff, you'll find Michael's perspective and experience helpful. Having cut my waste a lot, talking to Michael leads me to cut it more---not out of guilt, shame, or other unwanted emotion but to live more by my values. Integrity.
Michael shares a lot of facts, grounded in passion.
Many people who have thought and acted long and deeply on environmental issues feel an initial resistance in acting more:
Haven't I done as much as I can? What more can I do?
If you feel that way, you'll be glad to hear Michael shares that resistance. You'll also be glad that he overcomes it, which, I hope, will help you overcome yours. We'll hear in his second conversation if the increased challenge burdened him, as many claiming "awareness" and "balance" tell themselves to expect, or enliven and liberate him.Read the transcript. https://storyofstuff.org/about
Stewardship is Jethro's core message, as I heard---of his community, especially children in it, his country, and the natural world we share. This world is a beautiful, abundant gift we could wreck if we don't steward it as we know we can.
He cares about being an effective steward---not just talk but action. Wait until you hear this Alaskan's commitment to live by this value.
WARNING: if you're full of making excuses why you can't act, Jethro's no-complaining, in-service-to-others personal commitment will belie any bogus, self-serving ones. If you came here for more excuses or to reinforce complacency, you won't like Jethro's dedication and commitment.
We start on education. Jethro is a school principal active beyond his own school with a national audience. He describes how school systems propagandize, which we can and must channel with intent based on our values, not just let happen.
We've been friends since I did his podcast a year ago. He contacted me to do this show because of his personal and passionate challenge. People like Jethro taking initiative to lead himself and others is why I started this podcast. I hope you take initiative in your life as he did in his. I'd love to hear from you too.Read the transcript.
Imagine you were born into a slave holding family. You didn't ask to be born into it. You didn't create the system. You didn't make slavery legal.
Every landowner around you would own slaves. You would inherit yours.
Would you free your slaves?
Have you considered how hard it would be? It's worth thinking about -- how much it would change your life.
If you would, without a second thought, no matter the difficulty, what other actions you do that hurt others would you stop?
If you don't stop those other things, how do you know you'd free the slaves?Read the transcript.
Tim Smit is the co-founder and Vice Chairman of the Eden Project in Cornwall, in the southwest of England.
He turned a lifeless, poisoned abandoned mine into a bountiful green world-class garden people love to visit. Eden has attracted millions of visitors and billions of pounds. Tim is a consummate doer---not complainer or blamer---and an environmental campaign and entrepreneur, Tim tells how he met challenges he couldn't have foreseen.
I love that Tim has no special skills. He did what needed doing to finish the project, then to take it to the next level each time. How did he learn what needed doing? By doing the steps before it.
(Are you not starting because you don't know how to do some later stage? Start with what you can, get as far as you can, and solve each thing when you reach it. That's what Tim did. That's what everyone successful did to become successful.)
Tim's wisdom is useful for anyone looking to make a difference. You just have to start. (Bonus points if you can tell what Tim Smit has in common with Anuta Catuna, winner of the New York City Marathon.)Read the transcript.