Community. Support. Vision. Resilience. Experience.
We believe these elements of leadership turn feeling alone and complacent into action.
We turn despondence to resolve, confusion to confidence.
We bring leaders to the environment.
They share what works. Less facts, figures, doom, and gloom. More reflection, self-awareness, connection, support, and community.
We help leaders create an environmental legacy.
Upcoming guests include
Popular downloads include
Our first in-person expert panel featured
Episode 000: the back story:
233: Future Generations and Us
I've been sharing the sentiment of how people today seem to think of our times versus how people from other times would see now. I expect they'd view us with horror, disgust, and disdain.
We can change how we act. We can turn this situation around.
Today's post reprises that perspective.
Here are the note I wrote that I worked from:
People say homeless live better than kings before. TVs, fly around the world, any fruit or vegetable any time of the year, music any time you want, meat without meat, etc.
They think any one from any time would prefer now to then. That we live in the most wondrous of times. Sure there are some disagreements, might not like this politician or that social problem, but materially, they think we're better than ever.
I think future generations will not envy us but look at us with horror and disgust, maybe disdain. That we chose to go to Paris all the time and destroy Earth's ability to sustain life and human society for our fleeting selfish pleasure. If they live in a world we polluted, I suspect they will wonder how we could have neglected caring for others in exchange for polluting with little to show for it but social media pictures that look like everyone else's, addiction, obesity, heart disease, diabetes, not seeing our families under the guise of seeing our families because flying separates us, otherwise we wouldn't have to fly to see them. Eating whatever we want and not caring that we destroy the land and water.
On the flipside, those of us who change, I believe they will look back on as heroes if we turn things around. If they live in a world only a little more polluted than ours because some of us, maybe you, took a stand against the prevailing winds, stood our ground, and dare I say, enjoyed our communities, connected with people around us. What does it say about your community if like most people with a certain amount of discretionary income, you say "I have to get away from here sometimes?" Annually. Probably more than annually?
Today is our chance to enjoy each other, unmitigated by material junk, craving to be elsewhere, neglecting others, and externalizing costs. If you haven't, give it a shot. Create your world. Think of something you care about, think of a way to act on it, and act, without waiting for someone to tell you what. The more you figure out the more value you'll find.
Let me know how it goes.
Since recording this episode, Michael has become Google's Lead for Circular Economy.
Michael took on a challenge many people consider: biking to work for a month. He challenged himself amid product releases at work and family obligations as his wife traveled, so he couldn't just start. He had to plan and work at it. Even so, he created cheerleaders of his riding at Google among his coworkers.
He led them by doing what others wanted to but didn't.
I can't help wonder if his biking contributed to his promotion to a role of environmental leadership.
Before all that, you'll get to hear about his spectacular blow out.
Michael clearly explains his plans, actions, and results -- what worked and didn't -- so if you're thinking about biking more or any environmental action, you can use him as a role model.
I'm curious if he'll follow his personal experience with leading people more at Google or steering Google beyond where he would have otherwise.
When we pollute, we think we act for the reasons in our minds that justify that behavior, but those reasons generally come after we choose, motivated to justify behavior we consider wrong.
Most environmental analysis looks at the science of what pollutes more or less.
Today I look at the mental processes and emotions behind choosing polluting behavior. Almost always pollution results in separating yourself from others---you don't want to pollute your world. Avoiding polluting connects you with others because you account for your effect on them.
Acting sustainably and regeneratively build community and connection.
I suggest that when you get this pattern and internalize it, you will stop trying to justify what you've been doing that pollutes and that those behaviors and results will create disgust in you. You'll prefer that disgust to the blissful ignorance it replaces.
Brad identified the problem of people acting or not as our emotions and behavior, which many forces contribute to. We also talk about media and scientists.
This refinement of the understanding to emotions points to what to work on that I see few environmentalists unaddressing: emotions, feelings, and community, not technology, innovation. Almost the only emotions they evoke are fear, panic, and worry, which don't motivate acting on the environment. They motivate disengaging from the speaker.
If you associated attraction coaching with trickery or games, you might not expect this identification. On the contrary, Brad knows about relationships, people, and teaching. These things happen to lead to more intimacy---physical, emotional, and intellectual---and they are big elements of leadership.
We talk about vegetables, CSAs, helping people in need from the opioid crisis, habit change, and long-term cooking habits with long-term girlfriends. On a personal note, I've found it very relieving to share this part of my life that I've kept confidential so long. In retrospect it's more like sports and acting than I thought.
As I've mentioned, I haven't shared this part out of fear of people with preconceived notions but powerful voices misunderstanding and attacking. Maybe later someone will push back in a way I feared, which would be from a misunderstanding. So far I think people understand.
Listeners who contact me tell me they find the podcast inspirational. I love when they tell me the passions they've unearthed. Yet many tell me they haven't changed their behavior.
I hope Brad's experience shows you that whatever effort you put in, you'll find it worth it. If you aren't acting on listening, you're missing out. When you act, you'll not only pollute less, you'll love life more.
I believe many people believe we live in an age of wonder and that people from any other time would envy us.
I believe future generations will not look at our flying and pollution not with envy but with horror, as we look at slave holders and people who didn't resist Hitler.
The sooner we get that into our thick skulls, the sooner we'll enjoy life with less craving, excuses and acting like spoiled brats.
How many spoiled brats do you know where you think, I like how spoiled that person is, I'd like to be like them? But they don't know it, do they? So we don't know it either, spoiled brats that we are, telling ourselves we can't live without eating pizza in Napoli before we die while putting local farms out of business eating vegetables flown from wherever.
Or could we live so future generations see us how we see Frederick Douglass, Rosa Parks, or Oskar Schindler?
People keep describing my environmental actions as praiseworthy. I think they do it to make it seem harder and less accessible to do themselves what they expect will be hard, deprivation, sacrifice, and not what they want to do.
Making what I do sound good makes what they do normal. I prefer to see not polluting as normal and polluting as abnormal and worth changing.
I feel that praising someone for not polluting is like praising someone for not kicking puppies or abusing their children. I suggest seeing not kicking puppies as normal and kicking them as abnormal.
This episode explores this perspective.
A few words on growth and how people misunderstand it, especially economists.
I start by talking about my window garden cherry tomato plants and how the inability of the insects eating them to regulate their growth and up destroying the plants and thereby their own population.
Can we outdo bugs?
I'm not sure. An educated friend showed surprise to me that his having four or five kids is one of the biggest effects he could have on the environment. How can we not get this? People don't seem to think in this area but instead parrot knee-jerk irrelevancies that distract from that if we don't control our population, nature will for us, which will be painful on a scale we've never faced.
We can replace the cultural value of growth with enjoying what you have. When I learned to enjoy what I have more, growth started looking more like craving. I haven't seen craving make for a great life.
Today's episode with guest Brad P, a dating coach and guru---well, former, since he's moved on, as he'll share---partly reveal a major part of my social and emotional development as an adult.
He was in a sense my boss when I coached mostly men but a few women on dating and attraction skills, which I did before coaching executives, entrepreneurs, and so on on leadership, initiative, entrepreneurship, and more mainstream things.
The episode begins with a long introduction to address the extraordinary misconception about coaching dating and attraction, especially for men.
While I haven't kept it formally secret, I haven't shared it publicly, though I tell all my coaching clients soon after starting working with them since it opens up the coaching relationship and makes for faster and deeper improvement. I've also shared with my family. Now I'm sharing it publicly, that I taught and coached people on skills in attraction and dating. I was the #1 coach in the #1 market for the #1 guru.
My corporate leadership practice is so based in openness and facing and handling vulnerability that I had to share. Not sharing it was keeping me back. Nearly everyone I've shared it with is intrigued and supportive, but the media covers people who like to create controversy, so I've feared attacks, however unsupported. Well, I can't live in fear of people with misunderstandings. Rather, I choose to face the fear and handle the consequences, knowing that the more anyone knows about me and this part of me, the more I believe they'll support me and my choices. I consider this work some of the most helpful to my clients, community, and world.
The episode is long but covers a lot about relationships, education, personal growth, attraction, overcoming fear, and more. It may be my most personal and vulnerable episode yet.
Polio terrorized the world. People died and became paralyzed and there were no defenses to it.
Science understood it and eventually Jonas Salk found a vaccine. Just having a vaccine wasn't enough. They needed massive global public projects to disseminate it.
Is the connection to our current environmental problems obvious? As I see it, our behavior is causing the problems. If I'm not too full of myself, this podcast's technique, which I describe in my TEDxNYU talk, in a sense inoculates people from inaction on environmental values. It changes people to where they enjoy wasting less and taking responsibility.
We don't need a massive global public works, but what if we spread that technique globally. Instead of trying to figure out how to feed 10 billion or how to accommodate billions in third world countries wasting and polluting as we do, what if first worlders reduced our waste by 75 to 90% and the world over we chose to decrease our birthrate to where we lived well below the carrying capacity?
We could solve many of our environmental problems and improve our lives.
Am I crazy to see the polio vaccine as an inspiration?