My second conversation with Jared Angaza was recorded almost a year ago, just after launching the podcast. It’s more conversational, less directed than I’ve done more recently. I think I’ve come a long way on focusing more but I’d love to hear listeners’ юreactions. It’s also my old microphone. So the quality isn’t quite as good. Jared has acted a lot more than most to live by his environmental values. So you get to hear someone not complaining but acting. So he’s taking personal responsibility but also open that he’s not figuring out some challenges. He’s not exactly sure how to move ahead on some things. So how big changes should one take? Should you grow your own food? Should you move? Should you move with your entire family? But then what about moving? Answering these questions is not obvious and I think leaders openly discuss them and try to figure out what to do. They don’t just say, “I can’t do it because of X.” They say, “Well, X is a challenge. What do I do?” Anyway. Jared and I became really great friends over this time. I’m actually meeting him in person for the first time later today. I’m recording this after he’s moved to San Diego. And longtime listeners will hear the contrast of someone before and after 100 recordings. So I’m curious about people’s thoughts. Let’s listen to Jared.
Joshua: Hello everyone and welcome to the Leadership and the Environment podcast. It’s me Josh Spodek with Jared Angaza. How are you?
Jared: I’m doing well, man. I’m excited to be on the podcast. I listened to your show last night, the first one and it was excellent. I was sitting here working and doing some design stuff so I put it on and I got sucked in, man. It was excellent.
Joshua: I’m so glad to hear that. So for people who don’t know it’s now December 1 and I gave myself a deadline like finish it by November and so like November 30, 11:59, I’m like, “OK. It’s ready to go.”
Jared: I remember when we were talking about this just a few months ago and you had a spark of an idea and now here you are. It’s excellent.
Joshua: Yeah. And I credit you and I thank you very much because you’re doing yours was like one of the ones where I felt like I could just open up and talk more freely because before that it was a lot of like here’s my book and here’s what I have to, not really… It’s just sharing more what I would say openly and genuinely and authentically. So thank you for having me.
Jared: Yeah. Hey it was a great one for me too. It was one of my earlier ones and I really enjoyed it.
Joshua: And yes, so everyone out there if you want to do a podcast, it’s a great idea but it’s holy cow! It’s not like you work like you break a sweat but there’s so just many little nitty gritty detail things that it just takes a lot of work to do.
Jared: Yeah. Mine has suffered. Mine has ebbed and flowed a little bit because of that. You know I have quite a few other projects, businesses and just the production stuff…Again, no one part of it is that difficult but all the parts together. Yeah, you got to wade through that.
Joshua: Although I love my…. I make it a SIDCHA. I make it a pattern, one of my daily [unintelligible] done now. Before there’s this big jumble of like building the web page, interviewing new people, editing the old stuff and it was all like one big jumble and now I have a better sense of how it all fits together. Now I don’t have to build a web page. It’s lots of editing and stuff to do but it’s mostly done and now I can focus on interviews and getting [unintelligible]. I have like 50 interviews to get through. I just mean this podcast is… OK. I haven’t marketed it yet so maybe I’m doing a bad job of interviews. But assuming that’s okay it feels like people really get that there’s something here that of getting people to act and acting on their values, not being told what to do. I think it’s really… No one’s doing it and I think I’m tapping into something that’s useful.
Jared: Well, just in listening to your show last night obviously I know it was your first one and so I’m sitting here thinking like he’s going out into this territory. Is this unique? Is this different? And so on. [unintelligible]
Joshua: And helpful.
Jared: And helpful. Yes. And perhaps being helpful is somewhat unique sometimes in this phase but I listened to it thinking about it from that perspective and just thinking, “This is different.” You have engagements, opportunities that you put together in terms of taking the challenge. You’ve got the webpage that you’re putting up for that and taking it from that perspective as well. Those kind of action elements and getting engaged and you engaging your audience the way that you’re doing I think is important territory for a podcast that not a lot of people go out into. I’m looking for stuff like that to do with mine as well. But that engagement is what’s so important. Obviously with what you’re trying to do anyway is the leadership and the environment. You want the people actually engage and actually do something, not just listen to it, check it off the list and then go about their day. So I love that you’ve got those kind of things incorporated and obviously you can’t make everybody get up and move but you can certainly put your best foot forward and I can see you doing that. So cheers.
Joshua: So the goal is not for me to get others to do it but I think that there’s a lot of people out there who want to do something and don’t know how. Either they are not really sure what to do or they think, “Well, I could do this but if the whole world doesn’t do, then what’s the point?” So everyone listening right now click on Commit to a Personal Challenge and do something. And now we’ll talk to Jared and we’ll hear… Jared has been…. If I remember right, you’ve been avoiding package food… You have this challenge that a lot of people…I faced it really strong with Elizabeth Colbert. I’m not sure if you heard that one yet. She’s done so much and she’s so aware that’s hard for her to come up with the next thing that’s not just some trivial thing like as she says, “I’m not going to get coffee cups for a month.” Well, she lives far enough away you know she just does it on her own. It’s not so easy for her to do something new. Whereas if you’re like someone with a Hummer who goes to McDonald’s every day it’s a pretty quick and easy to figure something out. And so your way at the end of the Elizabeth Colbert end of you’ve done a lot. But actually, if I remember right, you said you would go to the big box stores to pick up a bunch of stuff.
Jared: You mean the bookstores.
Jared: Yeah. We do that already. And my progression here has been… I’ve been a vegetarian most of my life, have been vegan for the last few years so there’s all those kinds of moves. So yeah, you’re right. What’s next? Where do I go from here? And for us I think the biggest thing and we’ve been talking about this for a while because you know I’ve been running creative agencies for a long time. We end up doing packaging. I’ve had a conflict with that a few times. I was like, “Wait a minute. What am I doing? I am creating a package. It’s beautiful but I don’t even believe in this.” That was like three years ago I guess when I kind of had that epiphany and also consequently stopped doing packaging design. And the interesting thing too is now I’m interested in a lot of this reusable packaging. So you have one thing that you use and you go and you take it to the grocery store and so on. And I appreciate that. That’s another angle, it’s another way of looking at kind of the same thing. But for me and I should say not just for me but for my family of five, we have [unintelligible] I have little ones. And buying things is important and costs, that kind of stuff or whatever it comes into play when we’re living in the United States. And it’s lots of big packaging stuff and we’re like, ”OK. What are we going to do about that?” Man, with this challenge, to pick up where we left off last time…
Joshua: I am very interested to hear.
Jared: Well, challenge it was my, friend, and continues, the saga continues but I start with where we’re at. The first thing you know talking to my wife about this, and she’s aligned with me in this perspective, in our impact on the planet and our relationship with it. So we know that it’s the next thing for us having a family with little ones, we have two two-year-olds and a five-year-old in the house and it’s tough. So the inconvenience part is the part that cramps people up a lot of times. But we’ve been pretty deliberate for most of our lives so it’s just for us it’s like, “OK well, that’s what we’re going to do. How are we going to do it?” Rather than “Are we going to do it?” So we started walking through that. I would say that in general we’ve reduced our packaging by about 30 percent since I talked to you last. I wanted to do more but here’s some interesting stuff that came up along the way you know because I’m analyzing as we go and obviously, I’m truly interested in this venture that you’re going out into and talking about leadership and the environment.
So this is making us think even further not just about our eating habits but about where we live. You know I’ve lived out of this country for a quarter of my life or whatever the last 12 years and now we’re back here. We’re outside of Nashville, Tennessee, my hometown, out in the sticks where everybody’s got a monster truck and they shop at Walmart and that’s it. There’s no other place to shop. So what do we do? Being the conscious people that we are driving an hour into town and go to Trader Joe’s and Sprouts and whatever and those are great places. I really appreciate a lot of them, especially Sprouts. We get all our stuff in bulk and we just have our own little reusable bags and stuff but I have to use an hour of fossil fuels there and an hour back. So that’s our long-term solution either, I mean maybe it’s a little better but who knows. So I think OK well, we got to do better than that. What’s the next step?
So in doing that in light of the fact that it’s also the end of the year and it’s a time that we’re planning for our future for next year and things like that we’ve been talking for probably last three years I guess very seriously about our next big move being into a farm situation and growing our own food and taking it to that next level, especially in light of where our kids are at. We want them to kind of grow up with it. Now we did some of that this year. I’d say we grew about 15 percent of our food or whatever and that was great. So we’ve got a taste of that, it was wonderful and we want to do more of that. Now it’s interesting this little challenge that I took of yours has now transformed into us saying you know what, we’ve been talking about moving into this farm situation and I think we’re looking at Hawaii quite specifically but that’s another part of the story but we’re looking at this and saying, “What kind of food do we like?” Because we’ve been in tropical areas for a long time. Our kids grew up on mangoes and avocados and things like that and it’s delicious and I can get it at the restaurant but it came with a price. A lot of fossil fuels, a lot of supply chain that brought it there. So I can’t really justify doing that. I can’t really justify eating a watermelon in December or whatever, February in these parts.
So we are looking at that and say let’s look at where we want to be the kind of environment we want to be and the kind of food we want to eat and things like that. And if that means somewhere else, then let’s go there and do that rather than living in this place and trying to kind of superimpose those things because there is a price to be paid for the planet to do that. And yeah, I can’t really justify doing that anymore. So rather than just sitting here and say, “Well, we’re out in the sticks, we can’t eat those things anymore.”, well, let’s look at where we want to be and hunker down there, take care of our community there and grow our food there and so on and so on. So this whole thing has made us look at, first of all, we’re studying the zero waste movement and really, really pushing towards that as a family no matter where we are. And second of all, looking at where might we go, where this would be easier lifestyle kind of situation where we don’t have to force it so much. The more you have to force it, the less likely it is to sustain itself. So I want to be in the flow. So we’re looking at that now and moving up our dates to next year 2018 for moving, for being more integrated into the land like that and hopefully never having to use any packaging at all. Anyway. That’s where we’re at. I mean all of that came from you and I talking and having this discussion and we’re pushing up the plans, man.
Joshua: Well, I’m very happy to be amid you talking about these challenges and how you answer these difficult questions and how do you balance different things and these values. I’m happy to have played a role in instigating the change because you know what you’re talking about is the challenge is I say it’s facing the systems, that’s the big challenge. It’s not like a trip here or there. And pardon me that living in New York City I know you can hear that siren in the background talking about places where we live and the ups and downs of them. Although, when I go to get my farmers’ market stuff it’s a 10-minute walk and it’s lush, amazing stuff.
Jared: I thought about that when I was going through this thought process. On my side, I’m thinking while you’re in New York City and a lot of our close friends are in New York City and I’ve lived there for months at a time doing different projects and I know you can walk right down the street and it’s easy and it’s right there and I love that. It’s not always like that obviously.
Joshua: I mean it got trucked in and I’ve been talking more and more about how at some point I’m going to go to my co-op board and talk them to putting… There’s a lot of space on the roof and I want to put… I guess I’ll have to get some dirt up there somehow and I have to get permission and then start gardening up there because…
Jared: I can send you a couple of groups that will help you out with that, by the way, in New York City.
Joshua: Yeah. Put me in touch because on my own I’m so busy. But if I got you going so if you start getting me going and it will help things happen faster.
So there’s a couple of things that come to mind. The old system has its old values of like you know driving it’s no big deal and such big joy. So enjoy the driving. The stuff coming out of the tailpipe is maybe invisible but it’s still there. And also, the challenge you’re facing is common. I think there are several things you said that I think a lot of people listening are like, “I don’t know if I want to do this. It’s maybe too much work.” But once you get started, it’s really… I’m reading that are like, “Yeah, these are the challenges that I want in life.”
I mean you know I was walking down the street the other day coming home and you know pick up at least one piece of garbage per day and that makes me more conscious of how much garbage there is around the streets and it hit me. Why is there so much garbage? People don’t value stuff like all these things that we throw away, we don’t care about it. We give gifts that we enjoy for like five seconds and it’s then off to the landfill or it’s clutter and we haven’t gotten the idea that like let’s drop this stuff-stuff. It was fine when nothing was made out of plastic. There was only like a billion people on the planet but it doesn’t work anymore. And people keep asking me, every time now when every time someone asks my address, I write them back and I say, “Here’s my address. But if you were going to mail me something that’s going to end up in a landfill, my big passion now is avoiding that and I believe that it’s the thought that counts. That’s why I was taught when I was a kid I really believe it. And if you’re trying to represent emotion with something material, then I prefer the emotion. And I don’t need the material.” And some people are getting it but I think we…
Jared: This is an important time of the year to be talking about that obviously.
Joshua: I agree. And we don’t value stuff and so that’s why we’re giving it all away and dropping on the street. And if you don’t value something, just don’t accept it in the first place, don’t get it.
Jared: We have to get off of autopilot and just going through the motions, especially with Christmas stuff. I mean that’s a good example. Eating and Christmas are very habitual, just like things that we do, there’s expectations, there’s processes, there’s habits, there’s family pressure, there’s friend pressure, you know there’s things like that and I’m not [unintelligible] on Christmas. Christmas is great. The traditions especially in America with the consumerism and so on it’s like OK, we have you know these family members X amount. We have to do these many gifts. We have to do this. And there’s like this checklist. And I’m all about gift giving. That’s fine. But again, what you’re saying. I agree that we have to be more conscious about the gifts that we’re giving and also asking like does this actually fit with my lifestyle, my ethos, my principles and values that I carry on every day? Am I just because it’s Christmas time stepping outside of all of that just so that I can kind of be normal?
Joshua: Yeah, last year I was walking around New York and I just said one blog… This was like December 30 or something. It was after Christmas and I’m walking on the street. I’m like I’m going to take a picture of every Christmas tree being thrown out. Not even every, just a bunch of Christmas trees there on the street to be collected. And there’s like all those pictures I put up on my blog then and then I did it again now and then I was like a Christmas tree. That’s a tradition. But what does it have to do with Jesus being born? Because there weren’t fir trees in Bethlehem. That’s a pagan ritual. Look it up. It’s a pagan thing from not Christianity, that Christianity started using but it’s not a Christian thing. And so people are doing this pagan thing and I’m like all right that was a tradition for a certain context. We are in a new context and that tradition… Maybe it’s time for a new tradition because that one was a new one and it certainly has nothing to do with some guy being born in Bethlehem.
Jared: Traditions have been [unintelligible] around economic.
Joshua: Just let the forest grow. Well, I think we should be planting a tree every Christmas, not cutting. I’m 40 years old but I’ve never had a… I think maybe when I was a kid we had a live tree maybe once or twice but we haven’t had a live tree since I was four or five years old. And even as an adult now and in my household and so on my hippie friends and so on are like, “Oh, man you got a fake tree. What’s up with that?” And I’m like, “Are you kidding me. I didn’t cut a tree down for a month to sit in my house.” I couldn’t imagine just going and cutting a tree down for that kind of purpose.” You know maybe if it was for my shelter for that year, fine. But it just seems so ridiculous. And I think that’s another good testament of how far removed we are from all of this and just kind of we’ve detached I think from some of these traditions and they just kind of rule us. It’s a time when we allow ourselves to just like kind of set our values to the side because it’s Christmas. This is the season.
Joshua: The point of this podcast is if you examine your values and find the ones that you’re not living by and usually it’s comfort and convenience, just going with the flow of the system, of the mainstream stuff, then it improves your life to question these things and not just question but to act on them. And breaking traditions or changing traditions. When I was growing up, my sister and I we loved my mom’s apple pie and when I learned about hydrogenated oils I was like I can’t eat that stuff and I can’t eat the crust that’s made with Crisco and my mom was like, “Josh, Crisco makes the flakiness crust.” And was like, “OK, I’m not eating it and I’m sorry. I love your pies but I just don’t have it in me to eat all that hydrogenated oil in the crust.” And she was really annoyed like you know. But this year she’s doing it on her own. She was really annoyed at me. She really wasn’t happy about that. But now she’s like, “Yeah. I’m not making those pies. I can’t do that anymore either.” I was like, “Do you remember how angry you were? She was like yeah. She doesn’t want to bring that up.
Jared: I have a similar situation with my mother.
Joshua: She’s choosing on her own, and now I have to be nice to my mom also because one time my two sisters and I we’re sitting and talking about how… This is years ago. We were just there at some table talking about how when we go to friends or out or whatever we never get apple or cherry pie because it’s always disappointing relative to my mom. We’re like yeah. The three of us are like, “Yeah, it’s so disappointing.” And we look at my mom who’s at the other table and she’s floating up in the air. She’s like, “My pies. [unintelligible].”
Jared: Yeah. I grew up from 15 years old aunt and I have a younger sister, three years younger and my older brother, three years older. All of us went veggie, vegetarian at the same time and this was 20 years ago or so and my poor mother had to learn how to cook vegetarian. Never done it in her life. My parents have never been vegetarian. They don’t eat a lot of meat but they’ve never been strict vegetarian and a lot of us are vegan now in the family so anyway, yeah. God bless our moms.
Joshua: So I think a lot of people listening are thinking, “Do I want to get into this? Do I want to deal with this? It’s so much easier not to.” I put to you that these are the questions that it leads to deeper relationships with your mom, that sort of thing. The example I often do is if you walk out in the morning and your feet get wet and you walk on all day with wet socks, then at the end of the day when you take them off it feels really good and you realize, “Oh, men, those have been bothering me all day.” except it’s your deepest values and your conscience as opposed to just a little bit of your feet. And once you take them off, once you take off the wet socks you are like, “Man, I wish I’d done that before and then you start thinking of all the other uncomfortable things you’ve been allowing yourself to stomach. That’s why we’re talking about pies and we’re talking about travel, we’re talking all these different things and all these little details start becoming important and meaningful.
Jared: I think most people are just not aware that they’ve got wet socks on or that they could take them off if they do.
Joshua: And once you take them off, you are, “This is so much better.”
Jared: You get a taste of it. Yeah. And that’s what helps to build some momentum.
Joshua: A couple of thoughts. You were talking about going to Hawaii. You know I’ve been not flying for a long time and I’m thinking a little while ago I was thinking, “Am I ever going to see Paris again? I lived there for a while and I really loved it. Am I going to taste Thai food in Thailand? Because I love Thai food in Thailand. That’s my favorite. At first, it’s what you’re not doing. And then you think it’s “What can I do?” And I started looking to freight boats that you can take. And now unlike an airplane, the freight boat really was just going to go. Like an airplane that takes passengers it’s only going to go if enough passengers go. So every little bit that you provide is you’re contributing to it. Freight boats are a little less so. But you’re still paying for it. But then I started looking at sail boats and I don’t know if I’m ever going to do this. I don’t know. But people sail across the Atlantic, it’s not like a rare thing and I’ve been mentioning it to people here and there. First, it is kind of like this kind of not [unintelligible] dream, but it is just wacko. Even for me thinking it’s kind of weird, not weird but “Am I ever really going to do this?” And a lot of people are coming back to me and saying spontaneously that sounds like the trip of a lifetime. I’m sure I’m going to puke a lot over the side but I haven’t spent time on water in a long, long on time but it’s really interesting. Like I’m curious if you are thinking about how you get to Hawaii because five people [unintelligible.]
Jared: We talk about that lot, honestly. We’ve looked at you know alternative as activists and humanitarians living in Africa and all over the world and everything obviously, we’ve explored some alternative routes for travel mainly just financially. back then that was issue. When we’re looking at these alternative ways to travel like what we’re talking about now I think that’s important. Obviously, you know that the freightliner going across the Atlantic is obviously a lot of fossil fuels being burned but as you said it’s going to be going anyway and it wouldn’t normally be transporting a person like what you’re saying and so on. And then with a sailboat you’ve got virtually none. And I really like that idea. We’ve looked at the option of doing kind of a freight scenario especially if we were to take a container or take our stuff there or whatever and just doing that as like a family adventure. I think that would be really cool. So we are exploring that as well.
In terms of the airplane thing too. That’s been another discussion that you and I had ages ago and it’s been a big win for me. We’ve traveled so much now or we’ve lived all over the world and so on but I am not usually traveling a lot during those times I mean even then when I was living in Africa I only really flew like once or twice a year maybe. It was a big flight all the back the United States. But now I think in the last year and a half I guess I think I maybe have flown once or twice. I was up in Boston recently for business stuff and a friend and that was it, once. So we’re flying less and less and thinking more and more about less and less travel or that kind of travel with the airplane and looking more and more about like, “Hey, man, we’ve got stuff right here. We’re in Tennessee, there’s all kinds of stuff here.” We need to take advantage of that and quit acting so privileged going other places, go to another state that’s two- or three-hour flight away to experience something that I could probably go down the street and experience as well. So for us being you know the adventurers and travelers that’s another aspect that we have to really look at this well and say, “Hey, let’s be real about this.”
Joshua: Yeah. Talking about enjoying what you have, this past winter, I probably said this to you before but I’ll say it again, I love talking about this. This past winter was when things started coming together with my cooking. That’s when I really started enjoying the stuff. I go to the farmers’ market and what I used to be like I don’t know what that stuff is. Kohlrabi, parsnips, rutabaga, beets, turnips and that stuff grows here and before… I mean, first of all, I would not go to a farmers’ market in January or February or March because I didn’t even go in the summer and when I went in the summer, I just buy the bread and stuff that is still processed. And now I am like oh, man, I love the feeling. I look at other people buying their processed stuff and they get the cheese and the maple syrup and stuff and I’m like that’s pretty cool to get. I’ve got no problem with that but I’m getting the stuff you know that it has still dirt covered in the roots.
Jared: That’s my favorite. I always pick out the nastiest looking vegetables like the ones that are all mangled and nobody’s going to pick up. Those are the ones I want to bring in my home.
Joshua: Yeah, for me. Actually, it’s funny you mention that because when I was getting horseradish and I was like, “What is that?” I mean it’s just some root. But we make it. And up until then I thought when my sister got me into the stuff and she will point out all these different things like, “Oh, now this stuff is in season, that’s in seasons.” I was like, “I don’t even know what you are talking about. I mean I see what you’re pointing at but I don’t know what it is.” And now when you don’t know 99 percent of it, you’re swimming in, “What do I do?” But when you know 99 percent of it, then when you see something new you think, “Now if one little variable I can put that in and see how that affects everything else so I could get the horseradish and experiment is it better in salads, is it better in soups, is it better… Do I spice up something that’s already spicy or I just give a…” And you play around with these things. No one taught me this stuff. Maybe I’ll take a class one day to learn it more. But when you said I mean if you like tropical stuff… What you’re saying is like staying in one place I am like, “I like the sound of that. “ I mean there’s also other kinds of travel.
Jared: Oh, yeah, for sure. We want to do a lot of boat travel by the way. That was another thing we talked about.
Joshua: I want to hear about it when you do it so I can…
Jared: I know when you were talking about it, I was like, “Hey, man, call me up. I’ll go with you.” But we like we’ve talked about that a lot. My wife and I have talked about kind of later on when the kids are a little bit older doing a sailing adventure with the kids and so on. We’ve talked about later on we wouldn’t mind doing like a year or two out on the water but we’re looking at all kinds of alternatives. You know you and I talked about this and we’re obviously having conversation about this with everyone we meet and I find that it’s just an interesting disconnect where the food thing seems to… And I realize this is big discussion now. But for so long it’s been this other thing that we don’t talk about like the food thing it’s like we do that over there. But I’m an environmentalist and I volunteer for Greenpeace and I’m like well, that’s great. But what about your eating habits? Why is that such a taboo thing to get into? Because it’s so habitual. It’s like Christmas. It’s like don’t mess with Christmas, man, and don’t mess with my eating.
Joshua: Or flying.
Jared: Or flying. Yes, you’re right. That’s another really big one. And I think that’s like I get it. I get it. I totally get it. I mean and again, I understand I’m also human. I am also driven to some extent maybe lessеr by a desire for comfort and safety and all those kind of things, convenience but at the same time I also recognize like you and I talk about a lot that these disciplines in our lives are what bring us kind of the sweetest elements of life as well and they bring in conversations that we wouldn’t normally have. And in your case you know coming closer to your mother actually, mine as well. But the thing is that people look at this and say, “OK this lifestyle is going to be much more difficult. It’s got to be a sacrifice.” You know I’m fasting right now. I am not currently on a long fast right now but fasting is part of my practice. I fast from like 8 o’clock at night until noon every day. The next day and then I eat a little bit for lunch and then I have an early kind of dinner or whatever and then I don’t eat again. I usually don’t even after like seven. But I’m doing this stuff, because it feels good, because it feels harmonious, because I enjoy it, because my body likes it and you know there are other elements of this obviously that have Earth impact and are less of an issue in this case.
And you know I’ve had people ask me like, “Oh, why are you making this big sacrifice? or “Why do you make it so difficult?” or “Why do you torture yourself like that?” And I am like, “What? I’ve never felt more in tune with my body and more like strong and healthy even in my mind and everything because of the way that I eat because of the way that I’m living and I really do enjoy it.” Now I also recognize that there’s a kind of a hump that you have to get over. And that’s the tough part. And that’s that gap, the mystery kind of between here and there like, “Oh, it’s just going to suck. I don’t know if I want to do that. I have too many things going on.” But I do think that’s where we get those sweetest elements of life. And we’ve found that with our family changing up some of the eating traditions changing a lot of the holidays. I mean I teach American-Indian ways and culture and principles so on. So obviously there are a few particular holidays we don’t celebrate in our family but we transform them into holidays that are beautiful and that do really have meanings I guess that are really beautiful for our family. I think everybody can do that.
For instance, for Christmas, you’ll appreciate this I think, a lot of our Christmas gifts rather than just giving the obligatory gift scenario, checking it off the list, you know there are some gifts that are things we know that each other want, we’ve been talking about it for a long time and they’re very intentional and so on. But for people outside of our immediate family we’re looking at giving gifts of kind of little kits for helping people navigate this space easier, not just random people but friends that we know that are looking at this and saying, “Look, I want to eat more deliberately. I want to have less negative impact on the earth.” And so on. So we’re saying, “Cool. Here. Merry Christmas. Here’s a little gift. Here’s a bunch of resources. Here’s a bunch of links. Here’s a bunch of how-to’s” and fun things like that. My wife does a lot of this anyway and she’s really, really good at it and making these things really user friendly and cool and fun and she’s done wonders on our kitchen to transform the way we eat. I can’t imagine eating differently than what we do now where it’s this organic food, it’s wonderful. She comes up with all these creative recipes. There are amazing things like a The Minimalist Baker you know and she think all the recipes are like five ingredients in like 10 minutes and they’re all vegan and they’re amazing. It’s changed our kitchen. Thanks for that and Food 52 is one that helped out and Clean Plates is another one that I get the newsletter, and then there is Trash is for Tossers, girl Lora Singer whatever, she’s zero-waste in New York, by the way.
Joshua: Yes, she is also a NYU student. I haven’t met her in person yet.
Jared: Cool. She was one of the ones that we discovered a couple of months ago when you and I were talking about this originally. So we’ve been following her and we’re doing some of those methods that she uses we’re then transplanting into our gifts for other people here and saying, “Look, here’s some ways that you can make this easier.” And it’s not, “Here’s some ways that you can sacrifice and hopefully you will have a less negative impact on the planet.” It’s “Here’s some things that are really amazing and have really brought so much life into our family. I hope it does for you too.” So we have to change the way we’re looking at it. But I think we’ve got to start to question some of these traditions that we have. The way that we eat in our holidays and have eating and consumerism attached to them as most of them do in the United States. We don’t have to burn it all down. That’s the thing that I think a lot of people get caught up in and they’re like, “Oh, you just want to kill Christmas.” I’m like, “No. Why don’t we just let it evolve with us as humans into something that is more beneficial for us humans and our planet?”
Joshua: I applaud that strategy. My strategy is get people experiencing these little things like you’re already well along your path of asking these questions and thinking about what you can do and change. A lot of people aren’t. Even though you are, it’s still reducing your waste, you’re getting by 30 percent, it’s instigating a lot of other change and accelerating change. And that to me… Have I told you this part that a lot of people say… There’s all these things out there if you search the internet, “Ten tips that I can do to reduce to…” 10 green tips. If you type that in, you’ll get hundreds of thousands of possible things that you could do. The people who are doing them are the people who are going to do it anyway. And to me doing little tips doesn’t add up to very much. It adds up to a lot of little things. But what’s really important is the action because once you start acting on something… You know it’s a difference between if you’re listening to music and just listening to music totally passively, there’s some enjoyment to it. But if you even just tap your toes, you start enjoying it much more. And if you were to say dance a little bit and sway or move a little bit, then it’s much more of an active experience. Listening to music when you’re dancing is so different than passively listening to it.
Jared: I agree. The question is how do you get someone to tap their toes.
Joshua: Yeah. Well, I mean that’s what this podcast is about. To me one thing is to bring in influential people because influential people… People are influenced by them. And I think that…
Jared: Yeah, celebrity has led our society since the day we came into existence.
Joshua: And I’d love to have Elon and Larry and Sergey, and Oprah and Serena and all these people on. And I’d love to have… I don’t know Zuckerberg say, “You know maybe I didn’t need those seven hundred thousand square foot houses. Maybe I’ll just drop down to one.” or something like that. And then when someone with ten billion dollars is not flying a 737 all the time, then the one with one billion has got to ask themselves, “What am I trying to prove here when I have more than the person who actually has more money than me?” I think that to me is how if you don’t change the people who are the most influential. So it’s not just people with the most money but it could be people with the most Oscars or people who win championships, there are various ways that people make it to the front pages of newspapers and magazines and so forth. If they don’t change, then… You can change all you want among others but eventually people are like, “Well, I still want to be like that.” Likewise. So I want to access them and get them to change because then I think others will follow.
But how do you get them to change? You know you look at fashion. I think the people at the top of the social hierarchies they tend to do stuff that’s different than the people in the middle of them and the people in the middle of them tend to follow the people at the top. So what do the people at the top do? They do like street fashion. You know they follow what people are the kind of interesting people on the street. And so I want to work with the street fashion people too. It’s getting people who do the new things and people like you who are just going out of the way ahead of time to find out what are the new traditions we can create. And so I think we need to work it at all levels. But I definitely want to go for the influential people. And I definitely want to get the masses for it to be normal. And the view is it’s not sacrifice. It’s whatever you think of it being sacrifice and deprivation. Once you get started, once you start tapping your foot, it’s like, ”Hey, this is kind of fun.” For me delicious is the main, by far the biggest thing, saving money, building community. These are all other things. But it’s delicious as a top one. I don’t know anyone who doesn’t like delicious.
Jared: I agree. Part of what we’re talking about here is that the average… Snd I think and I’m not necessarily separating myself from that. We all need it at different levels I think but all of us to some degree need in our lives some, again at various levels, but some sort of authority or someone that we trust or whatever to kind of say, “It’s OK.” or “I think you’re going in the right direction” and you’re like, “OK, now I feel good about going in that direction.” Or “Now I am excited to go in that direction.” or whatever. And when we see one of our heroes or celebrities whatever that adopts a different kind of lifestyle habits or eating habits or whatever and they talk about it an interview and then we’re like, “Oh, maybe that’s a good idea.” The other thing is, “Oh, I’m exploring this in my life and thinking about not flying as much or being more deliberate about the way I eat and so on.” And then you hear one of your celebrity, the people that you admire or whatever and they’re saying, “Oh, I’m doing this.” and you’re like, “Oh, good. I’m not crazy. This is a good idea.” Never mind the anthropological kind of psychological discussion around that but that’s an important dynamic.
I mean you know as an activist I’ve been trying to figure out how to create movements and understanding human behavior twenty years now and that applies in the brand world and it applies to the humanitarian topic we’re all to understand human behavior, understand why we do the things that we do and how we compel people to act. And, man, I don’t know that I’ve found any other ways that are as strong and lasting as using celebrity influence. And I realize it’s kind of crazy. I’ve written a lot about this over the years about celebrity philanthropy and so on. People balk at that quite a bit. I’m like it’s seems like a pretty good trend. It becomes another direction even if they’re not quote unquote doing it right or the way that you would, it still seems like a good idea to go in that direction. I think direction is important. So there’s power in that. We were led by religious figures and by Hollywood figures and political figures and other pop media and all that. And if we can influence in the campaigning and marketing world, when I’m creating campaigns I’m always talking about using, you know tapping into the some stream that’s already flowing you know a new stream that’s already flowing or into someone that’s popular in the media or whatever to try and piggyback off of their success or their notoriety or whatever. These things make sense in the business world all the time. We’ve got to apply it to the philanthropic world, we’ve got to apply it to our relationship to the planet, our relationship to each other as well. All of these things are interconnected obviously.
Joshua: I’m not just using the celebrity people. My view is that first, guests on my show I think this is designed to make them look good. Now if someone doesn’t value the environment or if their values are different than mine, they might not make such a great guest. Although I do want to have some people deny, who don’t believe in climate change and things like that. Not that we don’t have enough things with pollution and mercury in the food supply and all these other things. You know you cannot believe in climate change and still have a lot to work on here but this is designed to make people look good. I’d love to have people on, take on a challenge. If it’s easy, great. People are going to follow and I’m saying this it’s like you’re some Oscar winner and you could be on the show or your Oprah or whatever, then either it’s easy in which case people are going to follow and hopefully they’ll say… I’m sure these big celebrities and well-known people and influential people have lots of things they could change and they’d probably want something and to get them to and I want to make it easy for them or it’s challenging for them in which case they sound more genuine and authentic and it’s designed to make… It only wouldn’t look good if someone comes on and really just gives up or I don’t see that happening. I mean they’re choosing their own… So far it hasn’t happened.
And so it’s not like I’m using them. I want to give them an opportunity to be the leaders and I think in the long run I would love to have some of them be the Nelson Mandela’s, the Thomas Jefferson’s, like the fathers and mothers not of a nation like those guys were but of the new way we look at things. If we’re going to make it through the sea levels rising and hundreds of millions of people displaced from their homes and things like that, it’s going to be from changing our models from more, more, more to enough, enjoying what we have and enjoying more what we have than what we were getting out of this craving and that it’s not all about me that we have to you know a lot of stuff taking account on others. And frankly, that’s one of the biggest improvements of my life is responsibility- and accountability- based empathy for other people. Yes, it means I can’t do things I used to be able to do. When I was a kid, I could do lots of things I can’t do now because I wasn’t responsible. Responsibility has made my life better, not worse. I’m much more happy to do the things that I’m doing now that I’m accountable for and I’m responsible for than I was running around and just thoughtlessly doing things when I was a kid. And I think most people like that. I think most people for prefer… Yes, it’s kind of nice to say the privilege and none of the responsibility. But I think ultimately, it’s a deeper more resonant joy, emotional reward, deliciousness that comes from responsibility, accountability, empathy, compassion. I think I’d rather be full of empathy than full of hydrogenated oil.
Jared: That’s a great T-shirt. I agree. What you’re talking about is… We’re talking about a normal situation, like a new normal situation [unintelligible].
Joshua: And I want to give these influential people… I want them to be on the forefront. They could be… It’s like every couple of thousand years you have shifts like this. They could be really if they are thinking legacy or if they are thinking what mark they leave and how people view them. It’s a really big opportunity for them. I think it could be awesome for them. That’s what I want to give them.
Jared: And those end up being the people that people step out that way and challenge the norm or whatever. I mean that to me is what opens up the way for furthering our human evolution when we challenge our normal and say, “Wait. Can we do this better?” When we do that in other areas in our life that there are some areas that are kind of like the Sacred Kalloch. We don’t go there for some reason like eating and traveling plane you know using airplanes and so on. And I think you and I have talked about this a lot just as a general concept but it always comes back up that people just don’t believe that, for instance, just an easy example like with me being vegan or plant-based whatever. And I have a conversation with someone and typically I only have a conversation if they bring it up. I’m not out there evangelizing typically in that regard. But you know if they bring it up, I’m like, “Oh, yeah. It’s actually better, it’s easier” or whatever. And they’re like, “No, it’s not. You cannot convince me of that.” And that to me has been my challenge as an activist to say OK, well how do we affect someone’s perspective at that perspective, that deep perspective level their hardwiring their beliefs and the way they see the world the world. How do we affect them at that level such that it does compel them to change their behavior or act differently?
Joshua: I started with little things and having people, guests to share… And actually, I should get back to asking you if you’ve reduced your packaging by a bunch, what have you replaced it with? But also want to say right now, anyone who is listening to this now, if you’re near New York City, come by. I will make you one of my famous vegetable stews. And when you taste it… I think every single person who’s come over has liked the stuff and been surprised to the point where they say, “What did you put in this?’ I’m like, “You saw me put every single ingredient in here.” And they are like, “What was the oil? What was you know, all the stuff that…?” And I am like, “You just saw. It’s the vegetables.” And. I think that experience, that’s why I want people acting not because little things add up to big things. Maybe they do, maybe they don’t. But action leads to experience which leads to changing how you look at things, how you believe things and then you start realizing like rutabagas are really delicious. And there may be other ways. And maybe I’m not going affect as many people as others do but this is one way I believe that it works. I can’t make dinner for everyone although I’d like to. But getting people to do their things that for them will be their delicious. And then they share it with the people around them. I really want this to…
It’s about joy, it’s about delicious and when you do that, when you experience that, then you share it with others. That’s what I want to get going and that’s why I want this list of personal challenges to keep growing and when I say start with your values not with other people telling me what to do. If you don’t value it, well you’re not going to hear my voice right now. You would have been disgusted by my conversation. If you value it and something is holding you back, find something you care about and act on that however small and after you start tapping your toes, it’s not that big of a leap to start dancing but you enjoy every step of that way. So I don’t know if that’s the big answer to everything there of what you’re saying but it’s the answer I’m going with. It’s like it’s joy, it’s fun. Yes, it looks like deprivation and sacrifice from your perspective now but you don’t like that perspective. You know that there are problems with it. Because we don’t want [unintelligible] over water and Zika viruses all over because of the population density and so forth.
Jared: Yeah, well and obviously in looking at what you’re doing and what I’m doing and what other people are doing, obviously it only works if we all make our unique contribution in different ways and whatever because we’re all going to affect people in different ways and people need to be affected in different ways and so on. They respond to that. So yeah, I think all of this is very, very multipronged effort. But to go back to the packaging thing with us you know…
Joshua: Yeah. What are you doing? What’s the positive side of it?
Jared: I mean I think it’s all generally positive but I think the biggest, maybe the biggest takeaway for us and this… We are kind of thinking through it. But I think the biggest one is here’s the thing. OK. So Jared’s using too much packaging, he thinks. What is Jared going to do about that? That was the question. So for me the immediate thought is kind of the lizard brain was like well I just need to figure out a way to replace this packaging. That’s one way. And we did some of that. We have all these little mesh organic little bag things that we use for all the bulk stuff and then we have all of our own grocery bags. We we don’t get any grocery bags coming in this way like the plastic ones or anything or even paper. And same thing with a lot of other packaging. I can never put my produce like in a plastic bag or something. I haven’t done that even when we didn’t have bags, alternatives.
So one part of that little dance is is there an alternative packaging scenario that I can use? Yes, there is. And for most things and we’re doing that. We’re doing a little bit of that before and now we just stepped up our game. So cool. The other thing that happened though is recognizing that I live in an area that requires me if I’m going to be in harmony with the planet, to eat seasonally. That makes sense. I can give all kinds of reasons for why that’s a good thing to do. But for us as a family we say OK, fine I get that. So where do we want to live where we can harmoniously consume the types of food that we want to consume? So if I like eating those seasonal elements in the United States in the south, then I do that or maybe it’s in the north or maybe it’s in the west or maybe it’s in Hawaii in our particular case or some other kind of tropical environment and that’s where we thrive. We like to be in tropic spirit.
So with that it’s really making us say kind of two things. One, where do we want to be that fits the harmonious eating lifestyle that we want best? Because the more you flow, the easier it is and so on. The second part of that is it’s changed our eating habits to some degree, or not our eating habits but what we eat. For instance, there may be these 25 recipes that we really like and we’re using a lot or whatever but now that it’s December in Nashville and we do live here at the moment, we say, “OK. Well, what are we going to eat now it’s going to change.” So we’re changing some of that stuff up.
The other thing that happened that was a bit more nuanced was some of the things that we’re used to getting it in packaging we cannot get in this area or even region without it coming in crazy packaging. It is just impossible. So we have a decision. Do we just compromise that or do we just say you know what? This is the universe saying, “Get more creative.” And this is an opportunity on the other side to find something else, something I can eat that I’d never would have eaten before and so on. So it really does kind of foster creativity and uniqueness and enjoyment in our eating. And I’ve always been a very utilitarian eater until recently and now I’m learning to dance with my fruit a bit more and to appreciate it and to be mindful about it, think about where it came from and so on. And I really appreciate that. Again, it’s brought another level of sweetness and joy into my life, not pain and sacrifice.
Joshua: Yeah. I can’t add anything to that. It’s echoing my perspective as well. It’s like if I’m not going to have this… One thing I realize is in New York City I can get a mango in virtually any store any time of the year. And people say they travel because they want exotic. Well, in New York City mangoes are not exotic. Turnips are exotic. And what you want to get from travel I think people can get in other ways. It prompts you to creativity and to think, “OK. So before there were airplanes, was everybody miserable all the time? Is it possible some of them were more happy than we are today that maybe it’s not so necessary? And if it’s not, then what can I do instead?” And that once you get to that point suddenly your world becomes a world of opportunity and discovery and creativity and relationships. And you don’t have all this stuff to throw out on the ground, all this litter because you’re valuing your relationships with other people and learning and growing and community type things and… You can say you’re on Facebook communities. Yes, there’s community there. Face-to-face I think it’s really a different thing, to meet with someone, to be able to touch them, to spin them around on the dance floors. It’s tough to do that on Facebook. I say that as I am podcasting with someone over the Internet.
Jared: Indeed. As we’re talking and I’m thinking again about you know I’m always kind of looking at the route and looking at like what is this really about and what is this… I’m a brand guy. So when I think about this and I hear you speaking and again you and I have been having this conversation for a long time but it’s bolstered my journey in this direction too as I’m a very grateful for. But I think what I find that I experience you doing in this podcast and otherwise is helping to kind of redefine maybe what delicious looks like, what a delicious life looks like if you will. But it’s kind of like I think what you’re doing is really helping people discover maybe their own little delicious dance with food and so on and maybe that’s a campaign for you Find Your Own Delicious.
Joshua: I’m thinking about it.
Jared: [unintelligible] We’ll talk about that but that’s finding…Actually, now if we are going to talk campaigning, that’s a really beautiful way to frame it. It challenges people to say, “Oh, what? Delicious, wonderful life. I thought we were talking about improving my relationship with the planet. That’s a different thing in my mind. That’s in a different room.” And we’re saying, “No, no, no, no. The finding that is harmonious relationship with the planet is in the same room that you find this delicious dance. It’s that nice.” And I think that’s the bridge that has to happen.
Joshua: One of the things I’ve been saying a lot lately is it’s not out there. It’s in here. I say it in the context of travel like adventure, culture, cuisine, those things, yes, there are some local things. The reason the Thai food in Thailand is because I guess that if you’re going to pick the lemon grass fresh, it’s going to be better than if you get it dried and shipped overseas. But most things are as I say it’s not out there it’s in here. If you want adventure, adventure you can stumble on it if you travel but you can also trade it without traveling. Same with meeting people from different communities and cultures and finding different cuisines. You can create those things.
There’s a lot of things…. You know for me changing my behavior with respect to the environment I keep coming back to delicious because that’s where it started for me was avoiding the packaging led to more delicious, convenient, cheaper, community-based food and not just community-based community creating. And lately I’ve also noticed that my burpee routine which I now call burpee-based calisthenic routine. My calisthenics that I do every day. It’s like usually 27 burpees, three sets of nine burpees, then I do a hamstring stretch, then I do leg lifts, [unintelligible], then I do bridge stretch and I do these rows. All right. I’m going on for a while partly because it’s like a bunch but I want to tell you that in my head I didn’t start doing all that full thing. Like I noticed burpees they do a lot but they don’t do pull for your back. So I had to add something in that would do a pull from my back and then I noticed it didn’t have this and I really want to do an [unintelligible] and had to stretch for that. So I kept adding things in. And some things I had to add and take out. And like I find they don’t work with it.
But you know it’s this 15-minute routine in the morning and 15-minute routine in the evening. You know it’s like five or ten times more than what I started with. But in my head it’s still 10 burpees. My belief filters my perception. You know all of our beliefs filter our perceptions. And so for me to do ten burpees is not a big deal and in my head that’s what I’m doing. Even though it’s almost three times more burpees plus other stuff. And other people, I don’t know what it looks like for them to choose turnips over mangoes but to me it’s like discovering you know yes, mangoes are sweeter. And look, I go to events and sometimes there’s a mango there and I’m like, “Oh, I’m going to have that mango.” You know I’d like it. It’s a lot less than I used to but the joy and sweetness and deliciousness in my life is greater. And so this mental model happens once you start doing it my experience has been that it kicks in. And look I do like a radish isn’t…. I don’t know. I was going to say radish doesn’t…. It’s definitely not as sweet as a mango.
Jared: Definitely not as sweet. No. I love radishes but it’s a different animal for sure. The perspective stuff on this, I mean again we’re getting into a bit of a nuanced territory here but I think that’s where we find the magic typically. There’s a shift in the perspective like if you say hey I want you to do this for this reason. It’s that for that reason a lot of time is going to have a lot of effect on someone’s perspective of what’s going to happen there or whether or not they want to engage or be involved with that. What’s this for? Like what is this? Why am I doing this? And if people think that the purpose is to foster this more responsible relationship with the planet, that sounds daunting and sacrificial and so on and so on.
Joshua: Yeah. Abstract.
Jared: Yeah. But if somebody says, “Hey, brother, I want to help you find your delicious stands with food or deliciousness with life” or whatever it is, that’s a different thing and they are like, “Sweet. Where do I sign up? How do I get involved with that? That sounds great.” You’re like, “Well, here’s some of the things [unintelligible].” People aren’t dumb. They see how that works but I think the reframing of that is very, very important and I think the more we have repetition of that reframing of the way that we look at this relationship with the planet like what your show’s doing I think that’s the way, that’s our path and it isn’t immediate, it isn’t overnight but it is the kind of thing that creates that swell that that transforms our society. And I think it’s very important.
Joshua: For me the specific part of reframing is switching the order. It’s not starting with a task and then trying to layer on some meaning to it but to start with the meaning. People who listen to us care about something and I guarantee it’s not what you and I care about. There’s overlap but it’s different. And so they have their thing. Anyone listening, you have something that you care about that’s gotten you to listen this far and you care about that before you ever heard of my name or Jared’s name or before you ever heard his podcast. And if something’s motivating you, listening to this podcast is one act to act on that motivation. I bet there’s more stuff in the back of your mind that you’re like, “Oh, you know I’ve never done X or thought it would be too hard to do Y. I figure if I did it, people would laugh at me or not take me seriously.” All right. Well we’re taking you seriously. We’re not laughing at you and we’re weird. I mean we’re doing stuff that like a lot of people are like, “Why? Just get the airplane and go to Hawaii if you want to go to Hawaii.” And you know maybe you’re thinking if I do it, then I’m going to get all out there. I’m going to get far out on a limb like they are but it doesn’t feel like you’re out on a limb when you’re there. You feel like you were out, not on a limb but you just had really wet socks. I can tell you that it’s just not worth it to… You can layer if you actually literally do have wet socks. You can do lots of fun stuff and you can jump up and down and watch a movie with lots of action in it and you can eat food that tastes really like so strong that you don’t notice it but it’s there. You know there’s something in the back of your mind that it’s like, “I’ve been meant do X whatever X is”. Now this is like do it. I don’t know what your X is but there’s probably something. If you listen to my voice now, we are what? An hour, over an hour into the so we get a wrap up because now every minute it’s like more people are not downloading it that they would have otherwise because they are like, “Oh, if it was 45 minutes, I would have listened to it but now it’s an hour.”
Jared: Yeah. [unintelligible] the podcast.
Joshua: So if someone is still listening to us now, they care about something, something motivates you. Like forget what other people are telling you to do or not. Think of that thing that matters to you. I don’t know what it is. I hope it’s not something that really grates with my values. It probably doesn’t. Like what can you do? What’s your something? You know I’d like you to go click on Commit to a Personal Challenge at joshuaspodek.com/podcast and sign up so it’ll be publicly available and others can see you’re not the only one who thinks this way and others will like it and then they’ll start a discussion when the form goes up and you’ll have a little community. You’ll be the leader. Or if you’re not, you’ll find some others who have been doing it before if you search through. If by the time you’re listening to this, it’s just like lots of people are doing this, then you’ll find people who don’t need to and it won’t be so weird. You’ll feel like, “Oh, people are doing it.” Maybe they figured out something you didn’t of how to, I don’t know, some challenge.
Jared: Absolutely. No. It’s all good it’s all good. I think I got you a new tagline, man. I think I got you a new tagline, man – Get out your wet socks and dance with deliciousness. [unintelligible] it altogether like my students put it all together.
Joshua: So all right. Let’s wrap up here. And normally at some point I ask people more about the details of what’s happened but I think we’ve covered a lot of stuff and it sounds like you brought the other people who are affected by this into the process and didn’t say, “How am I going to solve this so it works out for them?” You said, “There’s this thing and…” You know you said your wife was on board from the start but you know there’s always going to be differences.
Jared: I mean obviously with more apprehension my wife is thinking about the kids. My wife is thinking about the fact that she’s the one doing most of the cooking anyway and so on. So it is different for her. I want to be very sensitive to that. I think that’s important. She’s the one behind the wheel when it comes to cooking. So when I bring these things to her I’m like, “I recognize this is kind of like your thing.” And she loves to do that. And she’s amazing chef. So when it comes to yeah, changing the way we do these things I want to go to her and say, “Look, this is my feeling on this.” Thank God, she has the same feeling but she has more reasons to be apprehensive than I because she’s the one actually doing that work. So it’s been a journey and continues to be a journey and I feel like in this regard with packaging we’re really while we probably use a quarter of the bags that most people do I still feel like for us it is a bigger challenge and it’s something like I want to be packagedless. Like I want to get down to that level. There’s no reason we couldn’t and I don’t see it as being a sacrifice. And by the way, worth noting, I see it as being less of a sacrifice living on a farm in Hawaii. So we’re adjusting all of our life even where we live to how do we maintain this, not only this harmonious balance and relationship with the planet but to maintain it in a way that brings us deliciousness.
Joshua: So people out there are thinking, “If I don’t make a big difference, like these small things really don’t matter.” [unintelligible] your packaging and your savings are relatively minor in the whole scheme of things compared to a lot of what the typical American does. But if you measure it in terms of the amount that you change, should you go through the changes you’re talking about? If you just mentioned it in months of…You’re saying that it’s accelerating the decision-making process that will lead to bigger changes and if you measure it in months of that, doing the little thing brings those things about. So if you’re listening to this and you’re thinking, “Well, what I do doesn’t matter if it’s just these little things.” it’s what it leads to. And the fastest way, the most efficient way and the most effective way for you to make big changes is to make a change whatever’s accessible because if you don’t make that change, you’re not going to get to the other stuff. Get through is a necessary step, probably necessary to the next things and accelerating step to the next. Because that’s what’s happening with you. It’s like you’re talking about major, major changes that wouldn’t have happened or would have happened later otherwise or might not have happened.
Jared: Yeah. And when something new comes up it’s like OK here’s a food discussion. How am I going to handle that deliberately? When we had babies first thing we had to tackle as diapers and I did the research on it and I was like oh my God, I cannot live with myself with each one of my kids, I have three kids and the average amount of diapers in the landfill during that time is like 6000 diapers or something like that [unintelligible] say like a two year-three year period. I’m like 24000 diapers sitting in a landfill because of me? I can’t do that. You know I can’t live with that. So we need cloth diapers for all three kids. I got last two on their way out in the next couple of months. And it was challenging, man, seriously challenging in the beginning but then for the last couple years it’s just what we do. It’s fine, it’s easier. You don’t think about it. We start to change our normal.
Joshua: I have a feeling that some sort of… I don’t know if this just sounds too odd but I’m not a parent, so I am no one to blame, but I have a feeling like a deeper love in the connection. I know it’s kind of scatological but you’re closer to kids. Is that fair to say or am I too oddball now?
Jared: No, no. That’s very fair to say. Yes, and definitely there’s a every bit of the process with our children is just it’s deliberate of all the other elements that we’ve just spoken of and again, it brings this sweetness of the relationship with my kids and yeah, there’s nothing I’m more grateful for than my deep relationships I have with my kids and a lot of it has come out of this relationship. My kids are all vegan and we did the cloth diapers and there’s lots of other things that we do. I mean we drive the car maybe once a week. So there are things like that there just like these are the things that our kids are growing up with and consequently aside from the fact that I think that’s a great thing that our kids are going to go forth into the world with these kind of habits and worldview and perspective and so on what you just pointed out is just as important. It also has afforded us as parents, we as an individual of more sweeter relationship with my kids.
Joshua: Well, we’ve gone full circle started with food packaging, ending with the other end of the gastrointestinal tract. And I predict that we’ll have another conversation and recording and hear how that goes. So do you want to start a new challenge? I suggest we just leave it up near partly because I just started this podcast. I got like 50 to catch up on.
Jared: Yeah, no worries, man. I’m sure we’ll get to it. I’ve got all kinds of other stuff I want to talk to you about anyway.
Joshua: Yeah, there’s this whole thing about how do these societies not grow in population size.
Jared: I learned a lot about population control since you and I talked last time.
Joshua: Oh, yeah. Then we’ll probably end up talking sooner. And the book on the sun the bushmen and so on…
Jared: I’m looking at it right now.
Joshua: They have been living… I can’t stop myself. In this country if you say alternatives to capitalism everyone’s like, “Communism or socialism. That’s it.” OK. So none of these systems have actually existed in their pure form. It’s like capitalism. We have unions. We have all sorts of stuff. It’s not quite capitalism and governments build roads and things. And in communism I don’t know if communism has ever been practiced, it’s just fallen into…. OK. That’s all theoretical talk. Meanwhile, these communities have… Do you know how long these communities… I was asking you if you knew examples of like island communities that were stable for thousands of years.
Jared: I was looking at hundreds of years and you said… Go ahead.
Joshua: 200000 years.
Jared: Yeah, that was news to me, brother. I’m going down the research now. I was looking at the bushmen and stuff that [unintelligible] about this morning actually because of your email. You and I have set up our next conversation.
Joshua: I can’t wait to…. And I’ve contacted the author and want to get a chance to… I haven’t finished the book because naturally it’s a library book and someone put a hold on it and I had to return it and I was like I got to wait, I got to finish it after someone else gets it.
Jared: Part of the dance.
Joshua: Yeah. All right. Thank you very much. I’ve greatly enjoyed this as always. I knew that I would and it never fails to meet and exceed my expectations.
Jared: Thanks, brother, I appreciate it. Same goes here. I love our conversations together so thank you. Thanks for opening up this space, man. I think it’s important.
Joshua: Thank you. I think you started it. I feel like you started with your interview style the first time.
Jared: Oh, well. Thank you. I appreciate that.
Joshua: So we can argue about that some other time. All right. So then we’ll wrap up and then I look forward to next time.
Jared: Thanks, man. I do too, very much.
To me this was an open, honest, conversation among people who are making meaningful changes in their lives and enjoying it. People miss the leadership part of the title of this podcast Leadership and the Environment. It’s about joy, meaning, value, importance, purpose, not sacrifice, not just changing things environmentally and feeling that’s deprivation. This is about enjoying these things. People who don’t change they want to change without changing which I call the opposite of leadership. They’re like, “Yeah, I want to be able to fly but not pollute. I want to be able to eat whatever I want without caring about how it affects the environment.” That’s not leadership. That’s stagnation. I hope this conversation shows that you will enjoy changing when it’s to live by your values. And I predict that you’ll wish you changed earlier. Yes, you will stop doing things that you currently do that you like and you might have to start doing things you’re not currently doing. But think about great historical change, civil rights, slavery and so on, people who make big changes are glad that they did. As an aside, I’ll also mention that Jared introduced me to people in New York City who held an event where I spoke on leadership and the environment while cooking my famous no packaging vegetable stew for over 50 people. It was a great experience. So that’s what happens when people who have made these changes and who have still more to go but who have made these changes get together really cool things happen.
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