025: David Biello, Conversation 1: We Can Do This (transcript)
David Biello is one of the few people I’ve met who understands the environmental issues and he’s not complaining, he’s not talking doom and gloom, but he takes a simple but responsible perspective. Not to say that the solutions are simple. He’s very sober about that. He wrote a book called, this is how I met him, he wrote a book called The Unnatural World: The Race to Remake Civilization in Earth’s Newest Age. He also writes for Scientific American. Behind the scenes, he’s a science curator for TED. How we met was I read about his book that he said, â€œWe have the money, we have the technology, what we need is motivation.â€ In my language it’s a leadership issue. So if you want to know what’s happening from a sober, simple, relatively unbiased perspective, listen. He knows the issues and he cares. He’s thought about what motivates people, what discourages people, what holds people back and what can work. He also takes on a personal challenge that I think many people will resonate with. So if you’re thinking about a personal challenge, I recommend listening.
Joshua: Hello. This is the Leadership and the Environment podcast. This is Joshua Spodek. I’m here with David Biello. David, how are you doing?
David: I’m good. How are you?
Joshua: I’m great. And I want to thank you very much for being on the show. And I thought I would share how we met because it was a really big deal for me. And when I guess I was reading the alumni magazine of Columbia University and it had a review of a book called The Unnatural World by David Biello and it said in it something that I had not seen and was a major precursor to this podcast, and the words that it said was that in his book it said that David said, â€œWe already have the money and technology to make profound environmental change. What we need is large scale motivation.â€ And in a Leadership and the Environment podcast, I read that as saying, â€œWe know what to do. We can do it. The question is â€œWill we do it?â€ Is that about right?
David: Yes. In my view, you know this is not a problem of technology. We have the technologies we need, it could be better. It’s really fundamentally a challenge of human nature if you will.
Joshua: I feel, to me that seems pretty clear and you’re the only person I’ve come across who has said that. I feel like everyone else is saying, â€œWe need massive change and changes in technology, we needâ€¦â€ I mean the stuff you wrote about in your book of seeding the ocean with things to cause algal blooms and things like that. Is it a rare that perspective?
David: Well, I don’t want to say that it’s rare because I think a lot of people are aware of it. It’s in my view anyway an uncomfortable perspective because it asks people to do something and if there’s one thing, and to really kind of take responsibility for their actions, and if there’s one thing I know about myself and you know most of the humans that I know that’s what we’re looking to avoid. And really, we use technology to solve those problems for us, right? And so everybody is kind of hoping that putting solar panels on rooftops or whatever it might be will be the one kind of, and I hate to use this clichÃ© but I’ll do it anyway, a silver bullet that will solve the problem for us. We won’t have to do anything ourselves or like you said seeding the ocean and then or farming the ocean for a kind of carbon management will solve the problem for us and then we won’t have to do anything ourselves. That’s what people are hoping for and that’s why things aren’t happening fast enough to address the scale of the challenge here.
Joshua: So I’ve been motivated because this is how I’ve seen it. I feel like a lot of peopleâ€¦ I feel like there’s this attitude of like you know, â€œI want to fly but I don’t want to pollute. It’s not my fault that the plane uses jet fuel and no one’s invented an electric jet yet. But that’s not my fault. You know I shouldâ€¦ Why shouldn’t I be able to do what I want to do?â€
David: Right. Exactly. Sacrifice. Nobody wants to sacrifice, right. Trust me I get that. And there are a lot of ways in which the modern world is set up so that we’re not even able to sacrifice, you know your job might require you to fly for one reason or another. That said, if not you, who? You know, if we’re not doing these things, then who is going to do them? And if you think that an electric jet is the answer, then you should be working on that problem yourself because it’s not going to kind of magically appear by itself or you know take some small action of your own whether that’s changing your diet or I don’t know. I think you told me this when picking up a piece of trash every day whatever it might be to make the world a little bit better than you found it rather than just kind of accepting the way things are.
Joshua: And do you see that happening much?
David: No. I see some of it. And certainly, there are areas where it’s been more effective. So here’s an interesting story that I’ve found via my reporting about solar power out in Arizona. So I mean there are few places on the planet where solar power makes more sense than Arizona. I mean it’s sunny, almost all the time, the electricity use is largely, air conditioning so that’s when the sun is up is when the electricity use is kind of going bananas. And yeah, solar power just makes a lot of sense there and yet it wasn’t happening.
And so as solar power finally became cheap enough and some new business models emerged a few people here and there start to put solar panels on their roof and their neighbors noticed that. And those people by the way are kind of the trendsetters, the people who make it cool to have a solar roof, the early adopters in tech parlance I guess. And the number one predictor of whether youâ€™re going to go solar or not, and this isnâ€™t true just in Arizona, itâ€™s everywhere, is whether your neighbors have solar panels on the roof. And in fact, there were so many solar panels going on rooftops in Arizona that the local electric utilities freaked out because everybody was kind of generating their own electricity and the utilities were not able to make money anymore because obviously the use of the electricity they were providing from burning coal or whatever else was declining.
And so it became this huge political battle. But that’s another story. What I really wanted to focus on is this kind of domino effect like one early adopter does something whether its pick up a piece of trash or put solar panels on a rooftop and then that sets off a kind of chain reaction because you know his neighbor or her neighbors sees those solar panels and heâ€™s like, â€œOh, thatâ€™s pretty coolâ€ and â€œOh, manâ€ that gives them kind of energy independence and they look pretty cool. I like the way they look up there and suddenly you’re off to the races because then that guy’s neighbor is like, â€œOh, man, I want those too.â€ And that’s how you kind of get to the pace and scale of change that we need to address climate change and all these other environmental challenges that are a result of our kind of heedless lifestyle at present.
Joshua: So that will address just one situation of household power in Arizona. It doesn’t address things of like fuel use, like airplanes orâ€¦
David: â€¦ cars. Yeah. No, it’s… Yeah, that’sâ€¦ It’s got to get bigger. Right. That’s why I’m saying it’s not big enough yet. And that’s why I’m also saying that the biggest impediment to that, the biggest challenge is getting enough people onboard, getting people to realize that it’s on us, each and every one of us to make these changes, to take these actions and to you know get into motion. And it can be whatever it is that kind of inspires you. You know maybe you’re I don’t know an animal lover. You love your cat or dog, your pet. You care about tigers in India and elsewhere, you want animals to be saved. Well, there are you know animals waiting to be saved not too far away from our day-to-day lives and they’re called cows, pigs and chickens. So maybe you just kind of reduce your meat consumption because you care about animals. You have to be the person who starts making these changes so that we can get to the scale of change that we need so that species aren’t going extinct. So that carbon dioxide in the air we all breathe is not continually increasing because we’re burning so much coal. So that we’re not you know putting billions of tons of plastic in the ocean. All these problems, all these environmental problems they seem very separate but they’re actually all connected and they can only be solved together. And the sooner we can kind of realize that and get in motion on that, the sooner we can get where we want to be which is a planet, frankly, where all life is thriving â€“ people, plants, animals, microbes, fungi, you name it.
Joshua: Yeah, it seems like everyone wants it and I don’t see a lot of people saying, â€œI do want to take personal responsibilityâ€ or rather the people who do it are the ones who are already predisposed or people changing from like you know I want a Hummer, I want to go to Machu Picchu whenever I want. I mean the reason for this podcast is to try to get examples of people and I want to get like well-known popular people, influential people to try itâ€¦ You know I wanted to start on a small scale because it’s much easier with the mindset of I think that a lot of people when they do it after they’ve done will say, â€œI wish I’d done this earlier.â€ I hope to have an effect like I hope Iâ€™ll affect millions and hundreds, millions, billions of people and I don’t know what else is going on out there to influence people because so many people theyâ€™re like, â€œ[unintelligible] Well, you know I got to wait for U.S. to get back in Paris and laws to pass to force me to do stuff.â€ But you don’t… I mean I don’t see a lot of people saying like, â€œI want to do this.â€ or â€œI wantâ€¦â€, you know.
David: Yeah. Well, there’s always a reason why not to do it. Like it’s complicated, it’s hard, â€œOh, man, how am I going to…â€ and I just keep coming back to this example for whatever reason, â€œHow am I going to give up meat you know when I go out for lunch you know there arenâ€™t so many vegetarian options or if there are, there are not delicious or they don’t appear delicious to me.â€ It’s very easy to come up with reasons why not to do this and the easiest one of all is like well, once, and you kind of alluded to it in that list you just gave, once the world changes, then I will change. Once everything else is perfect, then I will be you know then I’ll be doing this thing whatever it might be kind of living a climate friendly lifestyle or you know living in a way that enables like I said all life on this planet to thrive.
But the reverse is true. The world is never going to change in that way unless you change. And so yeah, that’s why I wanted to come on your podcast and I hope you succeed in your ambition. I think it’s important you know to get these ideas out there, to be at least discussed, right, even if not everybody is quite ready to give up flying or pick up a piece of trash or whatever it might be you know at least those ideas can be out there, they can be debated, they can be adopted hopefully and we can get some of that change in human nature that I feel that we need.
Joshua: Yeah, I really hope that people listen to this and feel inspired and actually do stuff because so many people are, a lot of people I think they feel like awareness, they view it as a step on the way to action but I think in practice for most people it becomes the endpoint.
David: I was going to say well it also feels very disempowering, right, because climate change is a global problem. Plastic pollution in the ocean is a global problem. Plants and animals going extinct is a global problem. But we live in a very local way and it’s easy to ignore something that’s kind of at the planetary scale even though it obviously affects every individual location and it feels like, â€œWell, I can’t change everything so I’m not going to try anything.â€ When again the reverse is true. If you want the United States or if you want your city to stop burning coal for electricity or stop using natural gas whatever it might be, then you need to stop burning coal or using natural gas. It doesn’t work the other way. So yeah, we’re in sync on that front. And then of course you do, I mean the most important thing we can all do frankly is kind of get involved. Because how do we deal with problems like this, how do we [unintelligible] challenges of human nature and challenges of behavior?
Well, it’s called politics. And you know it’s more important than ever to be involved in kind of hashing out those decisions. You can’t just leave that to someone else because we can all see where that has led us. If you don’t do it, if I don’t do it, then it’s not going to get done. And again, you can do it in a way that it kind of lines up with what you want to do anyway. So you know in a selfish way I like to write, you know that gives me great pleasure. And so, you know I can write about these ideas in a book like The Unnatural World and hopefully change a few people’s minds, change a little bit of human nature and in that way I make my contribution. We need everybody kind of onboard with us and that’s how all those kinds of little actions are, you know, what might seem trivial like picking up a piece of trash. You know if it’s just one person, maybe it is trivial. But if it’s one person who then inspires two other people who then inspire to other people pretty quickly you can get exponential growth and then suddenly you know the world is a cleaner place or everybody’s got solar panels on their roof, or you know name your cause or your solution. And that’s really why I say this is not a technology problem, it’s a human nature problem. We have to take action.
Joshua: Yeah, I think that what I’m trying to doâ€¦ Can I mention what you’re the curator of?
Joshua: OK. So David is the science curator of TED and one thing you said last time that we met was that you said it’s important to have one clear message in a TED talk. Do I remember that right?
Joshua: And I’ve tried to distill what my goal is here because a lot of times I’ll tell people Iâ€™m trying to get people to change their behavior like the man on the street, you know, a person on the street. And a lot of times they’ll say, â€œYeah but you’ve got to get industry to change and you’ve got to get laws to change.â€ And ultimately and I point out how big social changes in the past, if you look at Martin Luther King or Vaclav Havel or Nelson Mandela or Gandhi, those changes came from outside government but ultimately, really, ultimately it’s to change government politics. And so I think of what I’m doing is trying to get these laws passed that right now don’t have popular support. I want to make it easier for the politicians or hopefully get some more politicians in there who maybe don’t think climate change is a hoax. And without that support coming from the ground level, you know for the U.S. to pull out of the Paris agreement makes economic sense if you’re in a tragedy of the commons and you defect, you gain in the short term. Well, we can lower our emissions without the government telling us to. And then it doesn’t make sense for us to pull out if we were emitting less than the limits, we wouldn’t need the agreement at all. And you know that’s why I try to get to people like if you’re not changing yourself ahead of time, it’s tough to criticize someone who pulled out of the agreement if you yourself aren’t really abiding by it.
David: Right. Yeah. No, and it’s, like we discussed, our society is set up for flying and driving and using electricity generated from burning coal and you know eating steaks from industrial feedlots and kind of that’s the way our society is set up. And if you want to change that, the change starts at the individual level and then like you said if there are enough individuals who are kind of doing this, then suddenly it becomes easy to change the laws or change behaviors at a much larger social level. And I think you know you look at the history of social movements, like you noted, these things seem impossible, then they seem unlikely and then they seem you know like something that has to be stopped for certain people and then they seem easy.
Like you think about kind of the moral switch on slavery or smoking, those things seemed impossible. You know you go back to the 1950s and you look at a comic book of the future. There were the flying cars and there were the kind of Brilliantine smoking dads. No one could imagine that people would not be smoking in the year 2017 which is where we are, which was the impossible future in the 1950s. And yet here we are and smoking is, I mean it’s not gone but the shift on smoking just in my lifetime has been transformative. It’s great for people’s health. It’s good for the planet. And that’s the kind of example, I mean it seems small compared to say slavery or you know free India and the apartheid in South Africa but that’s the kind of shift that I think many Americans alive today have actually seen in their lifetime. And that’s the kind of shift that we’re talking about here. And that happened because you know individuals realized, â€œOh, smoking is not good for me. So I’m going to quit.â€ More and more people quit. Suddenly it became possible for there to be laws against smoking in say a restaurant. When I was growing up who would have imagined that there wouldn’t be smoking in bars? Like that was the place where people smoked. And yet here we are in New York City and there is no smoking in bars.
Joshua: Yeah. That’s actually when they passed that law in New Jersey they didn’t pass it and people thought, â€œWell, people are going to go to New Jerseyâ€ but ultimately New Jersey had to change it because people were leaving New Jersey to come to Manhattan to avoid the smoke. The opposite of what people predicted at the time.
David: Right. Because. Because it made for a more enjoyable place and kind of the moral switch had been flipped. Smoking was not perceived the same way that it had been even 5-10 years before and people were like, â€œNo, I don’t want that around me because it’s bad for me.â€ And that is the switch that hasn’t quite been flipped yet on the environmental front. It’s like, â€œOh, it’s probably bad for me and yeah, I’m noticing all these bad things but it’s seems really hard and I don’t really want to do it. So you know I’m just going to kind of keep living my life the way I have.â€
Joshua: And that is the switch that I am working on and that I want to change that mental model, that belief, that association of changing your behavior to reduce your pollution, your emissions, your resource depletions, I believe that people view it as sacrifice and deprivation. And what I want to get out podcast just lots and lots of people including increasingly influential well-known celebrities and people like that to try it out and I predict that some will not do it. Theyâ€™ll say, â€œI’ll tryâ€ and they won’t. But some, and I think theyâ€™re the majority, I think that they will come across on the far end of it saying, â€œI wish I’d done this earlierâ€ because I’m not telling them what to do.
This is my goal, by saying to them, â€œWhat’s a value that you have? Whatâ€™s something you could do to meet that value?â€ And I think that when they do that then they’ll come out on the far end beingâ€¦ Value, they are picking something that they value, value, evaluate, that means good, they are going to replace something that they don’t like with something that they do like. It will be a challenge because, like you said, we grew up in a world that lookedâ€¦It is such a giant planet. What can one person do? And people still think that, even with the front page of New York Times saying what’s happening.
David: Yep. And what was required in the smoking case was for enough people to realize you know, â€œThis is killing me.â€ And the same is true of these environmental challenges. This is killing me, David Biello, you Josh, and any individual. This is not some faraway problem, this is not some abstract problem. It is short mean lives in the same way that that smoking did. And once we kind of have that same mental model, as you said, then I think the change will become easier and also inevitable. And I doâ€¦ You know I’m, I guess, an optimistic guy, I see a lot of positive indications on this front. So one of the most positive outcomes of that solar war situation out there in Arizona that I talked about a little bit earlier is that the solar homeowners kind of banded together to fight the utilities and the solar homeowners that banded together were both the people who really cared about climate change and put the solar panels on the roof because they wanted to cut down on their pollution. But it was also I guess libertarian types who would put the solar panels on their roof because they wanted to be free of the electric utility and they want the kind of energy independence.
So there were kind of multiple routes to the same solution and then you got this kind of unusual political coalition in favor of solar power. So you had the Greens, the environmentalists in that coalition but you also had the Tea Party types in that coalition. So it’s kind of like the Green Tea Coalition. And that’s powerful because those are not people who get together on many other issues, maybe any other issues. And it cuts across party lines and it’s kind of again, once you get to that point, unstoppable. And so you know that’s where I see like many different signs of hope that these things are happening and that that solar example can show how you go from you know just one person doing something to this kind of powerful popular coalition in favor of clean green energy.
Joshua: I hope that people listening are concluding not, â€œOh, good, something’s happening in Arizona. I don’t have to worry about it.â€
David: That is true.
Joshua: I think that one key thing that happens is people have to act and not just think about. Once you act more than progress happens is your life gets better. And in that case, I presume that your power bills are going to go down, you’re going to get the independence, you’re going to meet your neighbors, you’re going to talk to neighbors you normally wouldnâ€™t talk to. But whatever you do, even if you love eating meat, if you really put yourself, if you put your mind to it and you reduce the amount by a fair amount, I think you’ll probably findâ€¦ If you complain about it and think, â€œOh, poor me,â€ yeah, you are probably going to suffer. If you look at it and say, â€œWell, this is something important to me. Other people seem to be happy. Other people are able to find happiness somehow. Maybe I can too.â€ and you put your stuff up to the challenge I think you’ll find out that you’ll be glad you did it and wish you did it earlier.
David: Yeah, and it’s an empowering. Youâ€™ll feel better. Because when you feel empowered you know you’re out there, you’re making change and meeting people like you said that’s you know we have, and this is a topic for another time, we have a kind of crisis of isolation and loneliness in this country. And this is a way to get moving on that too. Like it’s, to use another horrible clichÃ©, it’s one of those win-win situations.
Joshua: So speaking of action you know this is I’m going to ask you at your option to take on a personal challenge that it doesn’t have to change the world overnight. It doesn’t have to be you know Herculean but something that you value, that you come up with, that will move the needle at least some measurable amount. And it can be temporary but I hope that you’ll think about doing it in the long term. Have you thought of something?
David: Yes. And first I want to say you know it can’t just be writing like I talked about earlier?
Joshua: Actually, one person did… He is a big influencer and he said he grew upâ€¦ His family listened to Rush Limbaugh, and he said he’s going to write an article that is going to go to that community and he thinks he’s not aware of anyone has done something like it before so he’s taken out on his challenge was going to be to get an article that makes an impression in a sense of like it took Nixon to open China. He thinks he has a credibility that people on the left don’t have and that he really likes influencing. So that’s one that he did. So I never thought of that. I was like I can’t wait to see how it goes.
David: Yeah, that’s awesome. That’s obviously what I do professionally. So it feels a little bit like cheating if I was to choose that. So I’m going to go with just because I mentioned that a coupleâ€¦Well, I’m actually torn because I mentioned two on this – eating less meat and picking up trash. But I feel in the aggregate eating less meat would be more impactful. So that’s what I… And it goes with the smoking. I’ll probably be healthier.
Joshua: So yeah. So I mean when I look at the numbers eating less beef is one of the big ones. To say nothing of animal issues of in terms environmental is a really big deal. And do you eat a lot of meat now or do you not eat that much?
David: I eat itâ€¦ You know I’m from theâ€¦ I grew up in the Midwest. So I was certainly raised eating a lot of meat. I eat less than I did back then. But certainly, I eat my fair share of meat. I’m certainly eating meat, let’s say you go two-three to, even two-three meals a day. Well, no, probably no more than two. I don’t really eat meat for breakfast but you know I will often say you know I have a roast beef sandwich for lunch and piece of fish for dinner or whatever. So eating less meat would be a way thatâ€¦
Joshua: All right. So people listening at home, they can’t say, â€œOh, well, yeah, he doesn’t eat meat anyway.â€ So, this is [unintelligible]. And when you say less, can we quantify that to make it like a SMART goal?
David: Sure. Let’s say I will eat meat no more than twice a week.
Joshua: OK, so that’s a big drop. That went from twice a day to twice a week. And how long do you think it will take to have a meaningful experience?
David: I think it will probably be a meaningful experience kind of right away. But how about a month? Let’s see how that goes. Or you know you advise me. You’re the one whoâ€¦ I don’t normally do that stuff and I mean in terms of you know setting goals aroundâ€¦ I do a lot of environmental improvements but I don’t necessarily set the goals this way.
Joshua: I think a month would be a solid amount. I think you’ll have more than enough chance in that time to face and overcome challenges. Do you have a calendar handy or can we schedule it or should we schedule itâ€¦
David: It’s on my phone that I’m talking to you on so let’s say this startsâ€¦What is today?
Joshua: Todayâ€™s the 17th, so September 17 will be a Sunday. I donâ€™t know if you are up for that but it will work for me.
David: It depends on whether I’m probably not. It kind of depends on travel schedules and children schedules and stuff like that. Let’s say like sometime that week, like the 18th-19th. I donâ€™t know exactly whatâ€¦
Joshua: OK. I mean those days are all open for me. How about Monday morning or Tuesday morning?
David: Let’s say that and I will actually check my calendar once we get off the phone.
Joshua: OK. So you’ll send me a calendar invitation?
Joshua: OK, cool. Yeah. Any time in those mornings works for me. And I havenâ€™t figured out yet how I am going to do theâ€¦ Am I going to edit this out? Because I’ve recorded all these like schedulingâ€¦
David: â€¦conversations. Yeah. Well, no, but I mean it could be interesting to people just in the sense of like it’s not easy, like you know it’s not that it’s sacrifice but it’s like it is a change in your life.
Joshua: Exactly. Iâ€™ve lately become more and more comfortable with saying I’m going to be or I am the Martin Luther King of the environment, the Nelson Mandela the environment. This is like one of the struggles you talked about you know have a struggle and yet to call myself that for me is like a big deal. And so far, everyone has been like, â€œHey, high five. Great.â€ I don’t think they realize what I’m talking about but… Martin Luther King at the beginning no one knew where Montgomery was. No one knew about a bus boycott. No one would have expected that to… You know he didn’t have a Nobel prize. He was doing like scheduling who’s going to pick up so on and so on this morning. It’s 100-degree weather sometimes in Montgomery in summer. So this is what it is. And it’s notâ€¦ It’s to me it’s my grunt model of how to become a leader is like you do what no one else will do.
David: Yeah. Yeah. I think that’s a big part of it. And I think the other important part of what you’re doing from an environmental perspective is you know this whole thing there are two pieces to the challenge here. One is we’re trapped in this thinking of like it’s the economy or the environment. Like we can have a beautiful air and clean water and you know thriving forests and what have you as long as you don’t want jobs and if you want jobs, you have to have you know dirty air, dirty water and no forests. That’s the way people think about it. So this starts to address the fact that you can actually have both at the same time and then on the other hand it gets to kind of the hypocrisy challenge which is, â€œOh, well you’re telling me you know not to burn coal or fly or whatever. You know you’re asking people to do it but you’re not doing it.â€ And that too often that has been true. Like you think about these international climate change negotiations and all the people who had to fly this place or that place. And that’s a challenge because you need to have both. So yeah, I’m not here to say that like it wouldn’t be great to invent an electric jet or I don’t know some kind of climate friendly jet fuel if that’s even possible. I guess Elon Musk can handle that in his spare time. I’m kidding. But you know what I mean, like that is a big challenge here. It’s like well you know, you’re not doing this so why should I? Or you know you’re a hypocrite for driving to work or I have to drive to work. Not me personally but you know for a lot of people to get to their job they have to drive. What is the alternative?
Joshua: And so a lot of people I think they look at this and they say, â€œYou know I can’t do anything, Iâ€™ll just throw my hands.â€ And I think that’s what has left us big, I see this big gap for me to start this podcast of Leadership and the Environment is no one’s doing it and they’re all waiting for someone else and I’m like I can’t tell you the number of times I felt like giving up, of just like everyoneâ€™s like, â€œOh, you should work with other people, not me.â€ It’s so many different things, you’ve run down a bunch of things I can tell that you have had these conversations andâ€¦
David: And it’s so much top down. Like everybody’s waiting like, â€œOK, well, we’ll get a law and then that will fix the problem.â€ And that it will come from the top and trickle down to the bottom. But the reality is for the kind of change that we’re talking about it has to come from the bottom up, it has come from people acting individually in their own life to make the changes that we need to have this thriving beautiful version of the unnatural world.
Joshua: So talking that way I really look forward to talking to you in a month to hear how things went. I’ve a feeling and I don’t want to cede anything but I have a feeling that you will also find other things like I think that within a week or two you’ll be like, â€œOK, this one’s down. What’s next?â€ And I mean partly I’m saying that because Iâ€™m hoping because then other people here, â€œWell, if I start this one change, it’ll lead to other bonuses and other benefits and other things that I like in my life.â€
David: Right. Yeah, I know and that’s exciting. Because when you get empowered suddenly you feel like you can do anything or at least that’s been my experience. And it gets you excited to take on other challenges. And it’s not like we don’t have a lot of challenges.
Joshua: And the challenges are how we grow. So I look forward to talking to you in a month. And is there anything, any last things to cover before wrapping up?
David: No. Unless you have other questions, I think we covered a lot of ground.
Joshua: I think itâ€™s the next conversation is going to be really interesting to hear how things develop and change for you. So thank you very much and I look forward to talking to you then.
David: Yep. Have a good end of the summer.
Joshua: Thank you.
As he said, making a difference requires taking responsibility. People prefer technological silver bullets, government silver bullets and other ways for others to act first so that they don’t have to but following others to act against your values is not leadership. By contrast, as he points out research shows that early adopters make a difference. So if you care, adopt early, lead, take on a personal challenge. Go to joshuaspodek.com/podcast and click on Take on a Personal Challenge. And he points out that we have done this before from smoking to freeing South Africa and India to ending slavery. There are many examples giving hope. As he says, this is not about deprivation. This is about caring and community and making a difference on your values.
Read my weekly newsletter
On initiative, leadership, the environment, and burpees