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!

Upcoming guests include

  • Anna Tobias, Olympic gold medalist, Crossfit Games champion
  • Anand Giridharadas, bestselling author of Winners Take All, writer for NY Times, New Yorker, and more
  • Col. Mark Read, West Point’s head of Environmental Engineering

Hear my Rants, Raves, and Monologues: Vol. 1, Vol. 2, Vol. 3, Vol. 4

Popular downloads include

  • Seth Godin, multiple #1 bestseller, teacher, marketer, 11+ million TED talk views
  • Dan Pink, multiple #1 bestseller, 40+ million TED talk views
  • Beth Comstock, former Vice Chair and CMO of General Electric
  • Marshall Goldsmith, #1 ranked leadership guru and author
  • Frances Hesselbein, Presidential Medal of Freedom honoree
  • Elizabeth Kolbert, Pulitzer Prize-winning author
  • Ken Blanchard, author, The One Minute Manager, over 13 million sold
  • Jonathan Haidt, #1 bestselling author, 8+ million TED talk views
  • Vincent Stanley, Director, Patagonia
  • David Allen, author of Getting Things Done, over 1 million sold
  • Dorie Clark, bestselling author
  • Jordan Harbinger, top 5 podcast, 4+ million monthly downloads
  • Chris Voss, FBI’s lead international kidnapping negotiator, #1 bestselling author of Never Split the Difference
  • Doug Rushkoff, #1 bestselling author, producer, media theorist
  • Dave Asprey, founder Bulletproof, NY Times bestseller
  • Bryan Braman, Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagle
  • Marquis Flowers, Super Bowl highlight reel star New England Patriot
  • John Lee Dumas, top entrepreneurial podcaster
  • Alisa Cohn, top 100 speaker and coach
  • David Biello, Science Curator for TED
  • Col. Everett Spain, West Point Head of the Department of Behavioral Sciences and Leadership
  • Andrew Revkin, award-winning National Geographic and New York Times journalist
  • B. Jeffery Madoff, Director, writer, professor, and producer of Victoria’s Secret Road to the Runway
  • Sally Singer, Vogue’s Creative Digital Director
  • Geoffrey West, Time Magazine “100 most influential people” theoretical physicist turned TED speaker
  • Bea Johnson, NY Times named “Priestess of waste-free living”
  • Sir Tim Smit, founder The Eden Project, author of bestselling environment book of century, and platinum selling writer/producer

Our first in-person expert panel featured

  • Vincent Stanley, Director Patagonia
  • Robin Nagle, TED speaker, author, NYU professor
  • RJ Khalaf, Dalai Lama fellow, TEDx speaker

Subscribe and review on iTunes, Stitcher, PlayerFM, Castbox


Episode 000: the back story:

141: Dune Ives, part 1: Let's Talk Ocean Plastic

February 20, 2019
Dune Ives is the executive director of award-winning Lonely Whale, where she designs and leads initiatives that address environmental degradation and species decline. Through her leadership, Lonely Whale has received global recognition as one of Fast Company’s World Changing Ideas, Huffington Post’s Top Ten Movers and Shakers in Environmental Sustainability, the P4G 2018 Circular Economy Award sponsored by the Danish Government; and more. Dune has spoken at Milken Institute of Philanthropy Expert Convening, Washington Post LIVE, and as the Plenary Speaker at the 2018 Our Ocean Conference in Bali, Indonesia. Prior to Lonely Whale, Dune designed and oversaw Paul G. Allen’s Vulcan Philanthropy, co-founded the Green Sports Alliance, and was among the first individuals trained by the Honorable Al Gore to deliver his presentation on global warming. Ives’ contributions also include global speaking engagements at conferences including 61MDC, GLOBE 2018, Plastics Recycling Conference, Washington Post LIVE, Milken Institute of Philanthropy Expert Covening, and Dell Technologies World. She has been featured in Fast Company, NPR, CNN, Grist, The Guardian, Al Jazeera, and Washington Post, to name a few. Dune has a Ph.D. in Psychology from Utah State University.
Dune Ives

141: Dune Ives, part 1: Let's Talk Ocean Plastic

If you've heard about avoiding straws -- if you're actively avoiding straws -- Dune Ives and the Lonely Whale, the organization she's the Executive Director of, have influenced you.

If you've asked yourself, why straws or what the point was, that's what she wanted: for people actually to talk about things on a human scale.

If you've taken the next step from straws, Lonely Whale has influenced you all the more. When Dune co-founded Lonely While, she didn't know the untapped demand. They just started and finding one change leading to another.

Her approach helped change my views about straws and small changes. I no longer see them as just the one act any more than playing scales is too small to learn to play piano. Nor do I see them as small things that might add up. I see them as practice. If you don't do small things, you may never get to big things. Mastering small things makes big things easier.

If straws connect with a value of yours, start with straws. Act on your values. Talk about them. Once you master them so that no straws come your way, then take the next step.

Or if you're thinking of starting your own initiative, take a lesson from her that starting will lead to more success than just thinking about it.

You'll hear some big names mentioned: Besides the Kardashians, co-founder Adrian Grenier, and Microsoft cofounder Paul Allen.

Show Notes

Coming soon.

140: Joanne Wilson: Gotham Gal

February 19, 2019

If you're in entrepreneurship in New York City, you know Joanne Wilson, especially among the women entrepreneurs I talk to. She's prominent in the New York entrepreneurial world, as well as art, travel, food

A lot of investors live stressful lives. Joanne doesn't. As you'll hear in our conversation, she also leads a rewarding life, which you'll also read in any of her blog posts or hear in any of her podcast episodes -- the happiness, fun, and emotional reward she describes her life with. I think it results from her focus on people, relationships, and community.

Like any great leader, she focuses on people. The first thing she does after vetting people she invests in is to support them.

Our conversation covers more personal leadership, but her success points to what I think environmental leaders could learn from her. Environmental work overwhelmingly focuses on science, politics, compliance, and facts. Until they focus on people, it's hard to call many of them leaders. Seeking compliance or browbeating people with facts, no matter how science-backed, or laws, no matter how well-meaning, won't get results. Nor will people enjoy it and keep doing it after your extrinsic incentives go away.

That's why I could only start trying environmental leadership when I found reducing my waste to about 10% of the average American improved my life. Yes it took time, just like Joanne doesn't blindly invest but has to vet people and research.

I didn't press her on taking on a new challenge, partly because she told me when I arrived to her office about just having reduced plastic in her office. Partly because she just built her house and is building other new homes that way.

Also, I see her around New York, so the next time I see her, I'll ask her if she's done anything new by then. I predict she will have and I'll invite her for a second episode.

139: Chris Voss, part 1: FBI Hostage negotiation through honesty and fun

February 18, 2019

When you think of negotiating, do you think of honesty, fun, and openness.

How about hostage negotiation with terrorists?

Chris Voss brings the experience of negotiating in some of the world's most challenging situations to teaching you to negotiate and honesty, fun, and openness are some of the top things he brings. How would you like to look forward to your next negotiation that way?

He also brings social and emotional skills to a field long dominated by abstract principles, which help, but develop your performance.

His approach, beyond just book learning, is relevant to all negotiation, particularly relevant to environmental leadership.

His book has several effective techniques that overlap with mine (compare with Leadership Step by Step's chapters 18 and 19) though he has a couple decades more experience.

If you like learning leadership, you'll find learning from Chris valuable. And fun.

138: A National Civilian Service Academy

February 16, 2019

Today's post covers a dramatic proposal I see as a clear winner. It's big and bold but everyone benefits from it. Its challenges are in garnering support and implementation, but once started I see it sustaining itself as a national jewel.

First some context.

I've talked about my return from Shanghai a few years ago to a crumbling airport, creaky trains, and crumbling train stations. Anyone can see this nation's crumbling bridges, roads, and infrastructure.

Same with my train trip across the country. Amtrak is a third-world train system. It measures its delays in hours. First-world train systems measure delays in minutes and seconds.

As a New Yorker I see our subway, which carries billions of rides annually, has fallen to disrepair. Its slipshod weekend repair schedule means you can't predict what lines will work or how long to plan a trip. First-world systems have built whole cities worth of systems. Other cultures update old systems instead of starving them like ours. We act like a few new stations are a big deal. That pride is a shame.

From New Orleans after Katrina, Miami's regular floods at high tide, New York after Sandy, California after earthquakes, Puerto Rico, Flint, MI, the list goes on, of our poor preparedness. Same with the aircraft carriers we send around the world after natural disasters. We do the best we can, but far from our potential.

The climate-based challenges are only increasing as the planet warms. The future's normal is a world where such challenges are normal. We'll have to move cities.

The nation lacks readiness to respond to aging infrastructure and climate change. Those problems are our future.

I propose a civilian service academy.

Its goal would be to teach trades -- construction, carpentry, electrical, programming, engineering, and so on. What we'd need to rebuild cities -- in the style of military academies, requiring academics, physical training, sports, arts, but civilian, not military.

It would embody a culture of rigor that would include uniforms, marching, honor, service, and military precision, but not military. More like engineering precision. Making beds, teamwork. Elite opportunities. Leadership through practice.

It would provide the leadership among and for the millions of students, veterans, and young people of McChrystal's program.

Listen for more depth.

137: Why Famous Guests

February 15, 2019

This podcast has featured some world-renowned guests, with more renown to come.

Popular downloads include Dan Pink, multiple #1 bestseller, 40+ million TED talk views, Beth Comstock, former Vice Chair and CMO of General Electric, Marshall Goldsmith, #1 ranked leadership guru and author, Frances Hesselbein, Presidential Medal of Freedom honoree, Elizabeth Kolbert, Pulitzer Prize-winning author, Ken Blanchard, author, The One Minute Manager, over 13 million sold, Jonathan Haidt, #1 bestselling author, 8+ million TED talk views, Vincent Stanley, Director, Patagonia, David Allen, author of Getting Things Done, over 1 million sold, Dorie Clark, bestselling author, Jordan Harbinger, top 5 podcast, 4+ million monthly downloads, Doug Rushkoff, #1 bestselling author, producer, media theorist, Dave Asprey, founder Bulletproof, NY Times bestseller, Bryan Braman, Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagle, Marquis Flowers, Super Bowl highlight reel star New England Patriot, John Lee Dumas, top entrepreneurial podcaster, and more.

Upcoming guests include an Olympic gold medalist, TED speakers with yet more views, and more. I'm speaking with a Victoria's Secret model and a Nobel laureate.

I love meeting and talking to successful people who have overcome challenges, and I presume you do too, but I'm serving two goals:

  • Materially measurable environmental results
  • Emotional reward in doing so, meaning joy, discovery, meaning, purpose, and such as the leadership part

I seek out renowned guests to achieve these goals. This episode explains the connection.

136: Nataly Kogan, part 2: Happiness Comes From Skills You Can Learn

February 14, 2019

Happiness comes from skills, which you can learn, which Nataly teaches.

Environmental action does too. Happiness and living harmoniously with the environment and your values go well together, as would make sense given our environmental history.

Many people think starting small isn't worth it. Watch Nataly's videos and read her book about improving happiness. Any skill you learn helps you learn other skills. Starting small works.

I suspect her experience developing happiness-related skills enabled her to reduce her bottle use by 99%, improving family morale in the process. You tell me if you think she'll apply it more, since you'll hear how she made it meaningful.

I suggest that if developing happiness skills helped her act on her environmental values, that acting on environmental skills will also help her become happier.

Nataly is all about making things you want to do rewarding, fun, enjoyable. What are you waiting for to start? You can make it enjoyable, even the starting.

Naturally, I hope you'll take on acting on your leadership or environmental values, not anyone else's.

But act. You won't regret making yourself happy in the process.

135: Why We Want a World Without Growth

February 13, 2019

People seem to have a hard time imagining a world without growth, specifically economic growth or population growth. There's personal growth, but I'm talking about materially measurable growth.

People seem to believe that economic growth is necessary. I've looked and haven't found any reasonable proof of its necessity.

People say you need inflation to keep motivating people, but I don't see any founding for such a belief besides their unfounded, and apparently self-serving, idealism. We understand people and our motivations better than they used to when these economic theories started. Sadly, our financial and political systems keep operating on these flawed understandings.

On the contrary, I've found societies that have lived for tens to hundreds of thousands of years, stably, which disproves that you need growth.

Nobody thinks that if a thousand people were stuck on an island that had resources to sustain a thousand people indefinitely -- imagining a time without satellites and our modern ability to find any group of that size anywhere -- that those people couldn't figure out how to sustain themselves on those resources.

Actually in such a situation, everyone sees growth beyond a thousand people would be a problem.

We are in such a situation, only a bigger island. Today's post explores this view from several angles, including how it might guide living one's individual life.

134: Tim Kopra, part 1: Seeing Earth from Space

February 12, 2019

Hearing an astronaut talk about space is unparalleled. I imagine anyone and everyone wants to hear about seeing Earth from space and what launch feels like. You have to listen to hear it from a man who experienced it.

Having walked in space twice is a minor part of his achievements. He earned degrees from West Point, the U.S. Army War College, Columbia Business School, and London Business School, on top of his military and NASA careers.

What gets you to space isn't just fitness and technical skill. It's knowing that you will succeed no matter what. That you can work with everyone. Like business, leadership, family, and most of life, success reaching space is about people.

Tim talks about integrity, consistency, and followership, which I agree is integral to leading. He talks about finding something bigger than yourself.

Something we covered connecting visiting space with valuing and protecting the environment: Before flying, hot air balloons were unbelievable. Now they're nothing. Then flying was unbelievable. Now people get annoyed at it. Maybe one day people will get bored with space.

I look at it the other way. If people could find beauty in flying, so can we. If they once found wonder and awe in hot air balloons, so can we. You can find the beauty and wonder of nature everywhere if you know how to look. I try to find it in the basil plants on my windowsill.

The view and practicing it makes me feel every part is worth saving.

I can't wait to see his gallery show.

133: At Least Try

February 11, 2019

When I played sports competitively, I once watched a pass go by me without trying because I thought I couldn't make a play on it. A teammate asked why I just watched.

I said, "Because I couldn't reach it."

He said, "At least try!"

Larry Bird said something similar: "It makes me sick when I see a guy just watching it go out of bounds."

The view has stuck with me. I haven't gone for every pass I could, but I respect when an outfielder sprints to the wall even when he know the ball will carry over the fence. The difference between watching and trying is meaning and purpose. I try for as many passes as I can.

The pervasive environmental view, "If I act but no one else does then what I do doesn't matter," and the passive behavior it leads to, embodies a meaningless existence.

I try in part today because I tried then. Today's post explores this view and several related ones in more depth.

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