—Systemic change begins with personal change—

(Formerly Leadership and the Environment)

Community, support, vision, stories, role Models, experience.

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.

Click for a list of popular guests or a list of all episodes

Subscribe and review on

iTunes | Stitcher | PlayerFM | Castbox | Spotify | Google

631: Stephen M. R. Covey, part 1.5: To Arrive Where We Started and to Know the Place for the First Time

September 24, 2022
Stephen M. R. Covey is co-founder of CoveyLink and the FranklinCovey Global Trust Practice. A sought-after and compelling keynote speaker and advisor on trust, leadership, ethics, and collaboration, he speaks to audiences around the world. He is the New York Times and #1 Wall Street Journal bestselling author of The Speed of Trust, a groundbreaking and paradigm-shifting book that challenges our age-old assumption that trust is merely a soft, social virtue and instead demonstrates that trust is a hard-edged, economic driver. TheSpeed of Trust has been translated into 22 languages and has sold over 2 million copies worldwide. Stephen is also the author of the forthcoming book, Trust & Inspire: How Truly Great Leaders Unleash Greatness in Others, which will be released on April 5, 2022. While the world has changed, our style of leadership has not. Most leaders and organizations—faced with ever new and disrupting challenges—continue to operate from a base model of “Command & Control;” they’ve just become more advanced and sophisticated at it, what Stephen calls “Enlightened Command & Control.” In contrast to Command & Control, Trust & Inspire is all about unleashing greatness in others. Leading in a way that both inspires and empowers people to become the best version of themselves—tapping into a sense of purpose, meaning, contribution and inclusion. The result is a level of belonging, collaboration, and ultimately innovation that Command & Control is simply not capable of producing. Stephen asserts that trust has become the new currency of our world, and that having the ability to develop, extend, and restore trust with all stakeholders is the number one competency of leadership needed today. He passionately delivers this message and is dedicated to enabling individuals and organizations to reap the dividends of high trust throughout the world. Audiences and organizations alike resonate with his tangible, practical approach to trust. Stephen is the former CEO of Covey Leadership Center, which, under his direction, became the largest leadership development company in the world. He personally led the strategy that propelled his father’s book, Dr. Stephen R. Covey’s The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, to become one of the two most influential business books of the 20th Century, according to CEO Magazine. A Harvard MBA, Stephen joined Covey Leadership Center as a Client Developer, became National Sales Manager, and then President & CEO. Under Stephen’s leadership, the company achieved Inc. 500 status, nearly doubled revenues while increasing profits by 12 times, and expanded into over 40 countries. This greatly increased the value of the brand and company. Within three years of being named CEO, Stephen had increased shareholder value by 67 times in a merger with then FranklinQuest to form FranklinCovey. Over the years, Stephen has gained considerable respect and influence with executives and leaders of Fortune 500 companies as well as with mid- and small-sized private sector and public sector organizations he’s consulted. Clients recognize his unique perspective on real-world organizational issues based on his practical experience as a former CEO. Stephen serves on numerous boards, including the Government Leadership Advisory Council, and he has been recognized with the lifetime Achievement Award for “Top Thought Leaders in Trust” from the advocacy group, Trust Across America/Trust Around the World. Stephen resides with his wife and children in the shadows of the Rocky Mountains.
Stephen M. R. Covey

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.

630: Simplifying Meditation Words and Meaning

September 19, 2022

The notes I read for this episode were long, so instead of including them in the podcast notes, I posted them as a separate blog post.

629: Michelle Nijhuis, part 2: Stopping doom scrolling

September 17, 2022

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.

628: Jay Walker, part 2: Kayaking on the Hudson

September 15, 2022

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!

627: Nadeem Akhtar, part 1: A Long-Time Listener from Norway

September 13, 2022

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.

626: Jay Walker, part 1: Organizing New York City's Queer Liberation March

September 11, 2022

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.

625: Listener Questions, volume 01

September 7, 2022

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:

  1. Hi, Joshua, in the winter months of this year, in New York, in your flat, will you use heating or blankets?
  2. Can you describe a time when you struggled with a decision about a polluting act? To give an example of what I mean from my own life, as you know I'm trying to reduce my car use. To go to my modern jive night requires car use (no suitable public transport and too far to walk in dark). So I've wrestled with giving it up but decided I didn't want to because of all the benefits to me. Can you think of an example like that in your life? Perhaps something that you couldn't find a less polluting alternative but didn't want to give up

624: John Biewen, part 1: Seeing Whiteness and Other Systems

September 5, 2022

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.

623: AJ Jacobs, part 1: Be Curious and Act

September 3, 2022

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.

Sign up for podcast updates

Sign up for my weekly newsletter