129: Dave Gardner, part 2: “Came to relieve the burden, stayed for the joy” (transcript)

February 1, 2019 by Dani Mihaleva
in Podcast

dave gardner

David and I could have talked about growth and how many people think growth is sustainable and non-growth isn’t which seems based on a system hurtling toward collapse whereas a steady-state economy and population can be sustainable. Human populations have lived for hundreds of thousands of years, hundreds of thousands of years without growth whereas our growth just since Industrial pollution it doesn’t look like it’s going to last 1000 of that time but instead we just talked about the fun of writing more and getting outside. This is what living sustainably is about – spending more time in nature, enjoying what you have.

As you heard he lives in Colorado. There’s lots of hills there and even with people who have done a lot to act more environmentally in the U.S. you can change a lot from the mainstream and still pollute a lot. I mean you can find a lot of activities to enjoy. We talked about how one joyful thing leads to another joyful thing when you shift from making excuses to avoid acting to actually acting. After listening to David, I recommend listening to a few past episodes because there’s a bunch of past guests who have had similar experiences. Dov Barron talked about similar experiences, about not needing his car so much anymore, his Jaguar that he aspired to for his whole life. So I recommend listening to that episode. Danny Bauer talked about getting rid of a car when he moved to Europe and the joy of getting around by bike and by walking. I haven’t heard back from Jethro Jones about riding his bike through the winter in Alaska but he went out of his way to find me and chose to do it on his own. Then came to me and said he wanted to do it. Michael O’Heaney found similar results riding his bike with his daughter in Golden Gate Park.

This isn’t in the episode but one of my great experiences of my life was riding my bike with a friend of mine from Philadelphia to Maine and back. That was a fifteen-hundred-mile ride that took us about 30 days. It was the summer between high school and college. We had our tents on our bikes. We were 16 years old. You can debate the pros and cons of bikes versus cars and so forth but you can’t debate that we are having a lot of fun getting in better shape, enjoying life more. This is about fun. This whole podcast is about fun and joy. The opposite of feeling guilty. You know for that matter if you go back to listen to my episode with John Lee Dumas, the second one, it led to me plogging that is jogging and picking up garbage while I jog. This is really fun stuff. Even if you’re doing lots of stuff already, I hope it leads you to do more. It’s been leading me to do more. Anyway, let’s listen to me and Dave.


Joshua: And actually, I’ve been looking forward to talking because before talking to you I don’t know if I’ve talked to anyone who thinks of population is like an interesting topic to talk about, not just an interesting but a very important topic to talk about and to talk about it not like matter-factly. I mean actually talk about matter-factly because once you start looking around it’s everywhere. I mean I don’t know if is everywhere but it’s more so.

David: Yeah, yeah, true that.

Joshua: So people who are listening, I was walking home one day and I passed this thing called Manhattan storage and it’s where people who live in Manhattan put their stuff because their apartments are too full. Like that’s OK. There’s a little warning sign there like paying rent for stuff you’re not even using. And then there’s a big sign that’s advertising, “We air conditioner this stuff too.” I’m like wow we’re giving luxury for inanimate objects. And so you know I took the picture to send to you and then ended up making my own blog post about it.

David: Yeah, I read that. I saw that. That was great.

Joshua: And then I have to preface it with lots of stuff. If you don’t mind my talking more about stuff because talking you opened up a lot of things that I was noticing and I hope you know don’t mind my monopolizing the beginning to share a bit.

David: Happy.

Joshua: It is probably the last thing I should do on a podcast.

David: Sounds great to me.

Joshua: And I want to preface this by saying that it’s a really difficult situation for the individuals there in Puerto Rico right now because we just had two hurricanes come through. And so I don’t want to take away from the pain and the suffering of the people who are there now but I want to take a step back and there is a New York Times article today. It says, “For many on Puerto Rico the most coveted item is a plane ticket out.” And it’s story after story about people who want to leave and they never want to come back again and they want to move to places in the U.S. and set up there. Of course, the places in the U.S. are places like Orlando where things are going to be complicated soon too. And it may be that the hurricanes that came through had nothing to do with global warming. It’s possible. But whether it did or not if there are hurricanes to come and flooding to come, the scene that played out in Puerto Rico is like I’m reading and I’m thinking this is a reporter just reporting what’s there but this is what’s going to happen over and over and over again in many places that where this flooding and weather changes and things like that. The predictions of the past are now happening and it’s front page news all the time. Am I reading into things too much or do you think this is a sign of things to come on a very small scale or something that will happen on a bigger scale?

David: Oh, I don’t think there’s any question about it that we’re going to have more of this and worse of this, infinitely worse actually. In a way I guess I sort of knew it was coming but I guess it even surprises me that we really are living today the very clear real obvious negative consequences of climate change. You know this summer we saw it. And I think we’ve been talking about it as kind of a future event even though a lot of the experts were saying you know it’s already happening. And all of the environmental crises that result from the scale of the human enterprise having outgrown the planet you know we’re living all of those today. We just sort of get by. You know they don’t inconvenience those of us in the overdeveloped world but those hurricanes definitely inconvenience people in Houston and Florida and Puerto Rico and more people are going to be inconvenienced and the inconvenience is going to be more deadly, I think.

Joshua: Yeah, I mean it’s right there in the paper, these aren’t projections and it’s possible. I’ve seen credible scientists saying that the hurricanes are not now… Like the hurricanes are… Actually, if you look at the numbers it’s not bigger that… All right. Giving people the benefit of doubt even if the hurricanes we’ve got this summer we’re not from global warming, sea level rise is going to have the same effect. It’s slightly different. It won’t have the hurricane force winds but we’ll still have the flooding and the power outages and things like that. And I don’t know what people are thinking like it’s going to go away or what they do has nothing to do with it.

David: I think the denial is even more severe and pervasive than even you know acute observers like you and me envisioned. You know I think you and I are both pretty acutely aware that denial is there, it’s out there and pretty widespread. But you know I think apparently, we’re going to drive… I’m afraid we’re going to drive civilization right off a cliff and we’ll still be in denial. You know kind of like that parable of the guy that’s jumped off of a building and somebody sees him passing by the twentieth story and says, “How’s it going?” and he says, “So far so good.”

Joshua: I was talking to my dad a little while ago and he was talking about how a lot of changes aren’t really that hard to do if you look at any one change. But I think he’s missing that it’s like the internal change that’s the hard one. I think that yeah, it’s not so hard to not fly, it’s not so hard to replace your bulbs and things like that. But actually, even some of the bigger changes aren’t really that hard but not if you don’t want to do it then it’s virtually impossible.

David: Yeah. And I think it needs to be most of those changes and certainly if a lot of them are going to take place in any given person’s life or even community-wide I think it has to come from within. It’s got to be a change of operating system. We need an operating system that isn’t based on you know infinite abundance.

Joshua: And also, in the short term. Well, you know what’s driving me on this podcast is for the period of change for people looking forward to these changes, that’s why I’ve put my… What? Stake in the ground? No, my focus is on… Yeah. I’ve started this off kind of like doom and gloom stuff but it’s not doom and gloom. It’s just reading the paper and I hope people are thinking I can change you know. I finally got to watch No Impact Man and there was so much overlap between what he talks about of… It’s really so much about joy and your values and the people around you and spending time with your kids instead of in front of the TV and stuff like that that there’s so much you know… The alternative to crashing off the cliff is community and delicious fresh fruits and vegetables. At least that’s what it is for me.

David: Joy.

Joshua: Yeah. Joy.

David: Yeah, yeah. Getting back in touch with the things that really count in life. So that’s the one thing that hopefully makes it an easier sale.

Joshua: I hope so. I hope it’s not even a sale. I hope it’s just that people like… You know I have been getting a bunch of people coming back and their responses you know in their words it is something like, “This is hard. Thank you for doing it. I’m really glad that I finally did this. I’ve been meaning to for a long time.” Something like that. You know variations on that. And I hope people listening are getting a feeling like that of like of… There has been something I’ve been meaning to do. Have I given you my wet socks analogy?

David: No.

Joshua: If you walk out the door in the morning and it’s raining and your feet get wet and then for the rest of day you’re wearing wet socks but you’re busy. You don’t really pay attention to it or if you do notice it, you get busy with something else you don’t pay attention. When you go home at the end of the day and you take your socks off, “Oh, man, I was miserable all day. I just wasn’t paying attention to it but I could have done this earlier. I wish I had done it earlier.”

David: Yeah, that’s perfect. So right on the money.

Joshua: So now let’s talk about you. Sorry I’m talking so much. Because for the past few weeks if I remember right you would have been riding your bike to the gym up and down some steep hills.

David: That’s what I promised you.

Joshua: And I heard you talk about it on your podcast.

David: Oh, yes, good.

Joshua: So I’m curious how it went.

David: Well, I’m really glad to be able to share it with you. Number one, I haven’t been on the bike as much as I wanted to be. So confession upfront, it’s not a failure by any stretch of the imagination. I actually have been on the bike but I had hoped for more opportunity but we’ve had like 10 days of Seattle like weather here that I didn’t get on the bike once because I wasn’t going to… You know I’ve discovered at least for now I’m a fair-weather bicyclist. I wasn’t going to get on the bike if I knew I was going to get soaked or really cold. So I haven’t gotten this much experience on it as I hoped. But you know one of my first rides was with my wife who is a really avid bicyclist and she just wanted to show me the best route to get from our house to downtown because there’s a way to ride where you’re hardly on the streets and you not having to worry about getting killed by a vehicle. But it’s kind of tricky. So she showed me the routes and we rode downtown and rode back. And of course, especially since we were off the streets part of the time, I saw things I’d never seen. And I felt like a kid again you know you get a different view of the world from the bicycle. It takes you longer to pass everything so you really just notice stuff that you were sleepwalking or sleep driving right by when you’re in a motor vehicle so I really started to feel the joy right away. That was really pretty awesome. And then on…

Joshua: Oh, wait. Hold on. You got to tell what did you see. You stopped and smelled the roses, I guess, or slowed down and… Was it like wildlife on the side of the road or people or communities?

David: Well, on different rides it’s been different things. But on that particular ride you know we rode through a huge regional park. I saw parts of the park I didn’t really even know existed. There was a really neat kind of an obstacle course you know that people who knew about it I guess could drive and park nearby and go enjoy this obstacle course for exercise but I didn’t even know that it existed. I found a little mobile home park that I didn’t even know was down there on the perimeter of the park. And I rode by a horse barn where I got to see horses that I ordinarily would never even realized were there. But it happens even when I’m just riding on the street down to the gym you know I get to actually kind of notice what somebody has done with their house. Like right now I’m enjoying the heck out of the pretty creative Halloween decorations that I wouldn’t have time to really appreciate if I was just driving by.

Joshua: So it’s like a new world and it sounds like maybe sometimes you won’t even go to the gym, you’d go to the park and do your exercise outdoors.

David: Well, I thought about that just yesterday, I think it was. I rode down to the gym and it was my day that I would do leg weights not upper body weights and I thought, “Shoot, I don’t really need to do leg weights because I’m about to ride up this steep hill on the way home. Probably my quads are going to get all the workout that they need.” But I went ahead and did it anyway so I’m trying to kind of mix it up and obviously as I get better on the bicycle it’ll be less of a cardiovascular challenge just riding to and from places. But another thing I kind of observed was I was really excited one day when I actually had a meeting I needed to go to. I had the time that I knew I could ride my bike to the meeting and I thought you know, “It’s not that far from the meeting to the gym so I’ll kill two birds with one bicycle trip which is always nice too.” But I had to leave really early in the morning. This was for a coffee meeting. I had to leave the house at 7:00 AM and this was the fall day so it wasn’t that warm at 7:00 and I froze because I actually put a fleece jacket on but it wasn’t a windbreaker. You know this is just stuff that I’m new at because I basically have not been on a bicycle much at all since I was in high school or college. I guess I rode my bike to and from campus in college but I’m having to learn the ropes of this all over again. So anyway, I froze and now I know that I have to have if I’m not going to just ride in the summer, I’ve got to have gloves, I had to dig out a windbreaker so I’m better prepared now. But boy what an absolutely fun day. It just kind of felt like I was on vacation because it was different, I guess, and slower. And I found a really great route to the Ivywild School which is a really great community center here in town and had my coffee meeting and rode to the gym and then rode back home and felt good. I guess probably the biggest really one that… I guess it wasn’t that big a surprise but a little bit of a surprise how good I feel about myself for doing it. You know I physically feel fantastic but because actually my lungs are getting… It’s like running sprints again especially riding the bicycle up the steep hill.

Joshua: Yeah. Hills will do that.

David: Yeah. I haven’t gotten that gun out run the hundred-yard dash in a couple of decades. And so my lungs are getting a workout that they’ve never gotten or haven’t gotten since the last time I climbed to 14 or… And I felt great but I feel really good that I’m doing something for the planet that I guess you could say in a way it’s a little bit inconvenient but it feels good.

Joshua: So when you say good, good is pretty broad. I’m curious specifically how… Is it like happy? Is it accomplished? Is it satisfied and how much of that is… I think people listening would say, “Well, Dave is going to say that he’s going to like biking no matter what. Like he’s predisposed to like it.” How much of it is because you’re predisposed and how much of it is you think even people who really generally prefer to drive will discover for themselves actually no, they don’t prefer to drive. Or am I missing something?

David: No, you’re really kind of opening up a can of worms that that’s a good can of worms I think can and this will surprise you but I really was for decades I would tell people you know I’m just not a bicyclist. I think the bicycle seat whoever designed it ought to be fired. You know it’s not comfortable. I do not find bicycle seats comfortable. I have no interest in being a bicycle rider even though I knew that it was a really good way for me to reduce my carbon footprint getting to and from places. You know I’m very highly motivated to keep my footprint small but I wasn’t motivated enough to inconvenience myself and go through the discomfort of having to sit on a bicycle seat. And you know then you know I’m married about five, five and a half years ago and married into this house which is in a great location very close to the mountain side. But it is a seriously steep hill coming home. And I was not excited at all about making that ride up. Well, yesterday I could have ridden all the way up the hill without stopping to rest. I stopped once really just because I decided to just make it easy on myself. But I was so close to the house. I knew that I could have made it all the way. So it’s only taken me a few weeks of riding to condition myself and get my lungs in a little bit better condition so that I can actually ride up that horrible hill that kept me from adopting bicycling for the last five years. So this is a story of a guy who really wasn’t that crazy about bicycling but now I am. Now I am.

Joshua: Do you still think the seat is horrible or is the seat getting more comfortable?

David: Well, I’m working on that. You know I did not order the bicycle on Amazon or anything like that because I wanted to support a local bike shop. I really appreciate having good advice, good expertise available to me and I wanted to support that. So I went down to the local bike shop Old Town Bike Shops and John Crandall, a lovely gentleman who owns the place, spent a lot of time with me to help figure out what was the right bicycle and watched me ride and got the seat height adjusted and everything and then I asked him, I said, “You know these test rides I’ve done, though this is a comfort bike that you wisely paired me up with, the seat still seems a little hard to me.” And he says, “Well, I think we can change out the seat but you really got to just ride on this seat for a month you know get used to it. Get your rear end in shape before you make any rash decisions about whether you need to change seats or not.” So I’m in the process of getting used to it. And I did break down and get a pair of shorts that has the padding in them to see if that makes a big difference.

Joshua: Well, my experience is that it makes a very big difference.

David: Yeah. Big difference. That’s one thing that’s kind of funny. I’m not crazy about going around in public in tight pants or tight shorts. That just feels kind of funny to me.

Joshua: Well, they have non-lycra shorts that have the padding.

David: Right. So that’s the route I’m taking because I just you know… And that’s funny because among bicyclists you know you’re cool you know if you’re wearing bicycling clothing, then everybody knows this is a person who got here on a bicycle. Good for him. But I still would rather have baggy shorts. So I’ve got some shorts that have the padding but are not skin tight. And they were quite comfortable and I think that helped so I don’t think I’m going to have to change the seat probably.

Joshua: And so how about… You were talking about other people. How was it the interface with other people – your wife, then there’s you’re showing up at meetings now. How was that interface? Because a lot of people you know when they interact with other people sometimes that’s where the challenge happens. You know like they’re like someone might laugh at them or not take them seriously or poupou them or something like that. Or sometimes that’s a place where the leadership begins. So I’m curious how… Many other things too.

David: Darn, too soon to be able to answer that unfortunately. Because I haven’t had that many opportunities to actually ride to [unintelligible]. That one meeting in the gym, a couple of errands so far that has been it. I feel like I run into more people and people are friendlier to me. You know I’m talking to strangers more.

Joshua: Like at the stop signs. That sort of thing?

David: No but just usually you know at one end of the ride or the other or maybe riding you know riding by and seeing somebody out in their front yard.

Joshua: Oh, that happened… Did I tell you about that with me and composting?

David: No.

Joshua: Yeah. In New York City in Brooklyn they have curbside composting but in Manhattan if you own a compost, you keep it in your apartment and then you can take it to… I mean you can have a warm farm yourself but I don’t do that. You can take it to… On the weekends at the farmer’s market they pick up compost. So if you go to compost and you drop your compost off, you’re basically going to run into anyone else doing it also is walking at least several blocks, sometimes a quarter mile, or half a mile round trip now so it would be double that and probably they do like I do which is to keep it in the freezer. So you’ve got a lot in common. And so every conversation I’ve ever had with someone about composting and plus you’re seeing what you’ve been eating and not eating. And it just leads to really enjoyable conversations with your neighbors. It’s a neighborhood thing to do.

David: Yeah, that’s pretty cool. You know now that I think about it a little longer you know I have had a few interesting conversations at the bike rack when I’m parking the bike wherever I’m going if there’s someone walking by frequently, they’ll engage me in a conversation and it’s even like filtered into just changing the way I live my life. I’m kind of a little bit of an introvert. And when I go to the gym and you know we kept talking about the gym, you’d think I was a gym rat. I’m really not. But I don’t walk up to strangers in the gym. I don’t know… You know I haven’t made new friends in the gym. I just go about my business and take care of it. Now I’ve discovered I’m actually starting to strike up conversations with people and I think I hadn’t really made the connection until you and I had this chat but I think it might have something to do with just the more communal feeling I’m getting from being on a bicycle instead of surrounded by a ton and a half of steel.

Joshua: Yeah you know I was coming home from picking my vegetables a couple of weeks ago and some guy got out of his car and was chasing people around like threatening them because someone got too close to his car or something and I mean it was like criminal what this guy was doing. And like someone started to take down his license and he started attacking that guy and then he drove away because you know he knew he only had so much time before a cop came. I’ve never seen that happen with a vehicle other than a car. People get really angry. I don’t want to be like anti-car but people get really angry behind the wheel. I mean the ads are always like you’re driving down the pacific coast highway and you got the top down and it’s always perfect but maybe it’s because I live in Manhattan, it’s usually a lot of traffic, people get honking. I’ve never seen that on a bike. Have I seen that on a bike? I don’t think I have. I don’t think I have seen skateboarders get angry, I don’t think I’ve seen roller blades getting angry. Have I seen people getting angry on the subway? I mean subway in New York City is always so dense with people that one subway trip is like you’re crossing the paths of as many people as like months of driving. I don’t think I’ve seen people get so bellicose.

David: I was thinking that that was because you were a little bit anonymous. You know people look to your identity as somewhat protected when you’re in a vehicle.

Joshua: I think people have the sense of entitlement to the space around them like, “I own this. This is my space.” And yet when you’re driving it’s impossible above a certain density of cars on the road, it’s impossible to avoid sometimes you have to shift into someone’s lane or something like that.

David: Well, I say I’ve seen some of the nastiest behavior from motorists in the middle of Manhattan, that’s for sure.

Joshua: Welcome to New York.

David: What happens when you cram that many people into that small of a space you’re going to run into some of that.


Joshua: How have you had any big hurdles, have you had things that were really difficult? I mean you mentioned a cold.

David: You know I’m struggling a little bit with the cold or a busy day you know where I think, “Oh, I should be able to run my bike on this errand.” And then I stop and think, “Oh, but man I’ve got to be here and I’ve got to be doing this at this time. Can I really take the time to do that?” So I’m still struggling a little bit with excuses for not doing it but I’m enjoying it so much that I know I have no doubt that that’s going to go away pretty quickly and I’ll be like you know I’m actually looking for opportunities to do it. In fact, I’ve got coffee scheduled with somebody next week where I intentionally picked a place that I knew was very, very ridable. You know I’m reluctant to get on the bike and ride somewhere that’s 10 or 15 miles away yet because I feel like I’m such a beginner still. And I think I might want to…. My wife’s out of town right now. I think I might want to ride with you know somebody who’s been on the streets on a bike a lot longer than I have before I do something that might take that long and I actually did a Google Maps to see how long it would take me to ride to this farmer’s market that I like to go to on Saturdays. Well, this farmer’s market is about 12 miles away and you know I feel guilty driving to that farmer’s market. You know I should be riding my bike to that farmer’s market or I should be going to one that’s closer. But I just really happened to like the day and the atmosphere at this place so I was really excited about the fact that now I’ll be able to ride my bicycle up there and it won’t matter…. You know there won’t be a high carbon footprint attached to the ride but I just have to get over this fear of, “Wow, is it going to take me an hour and a half to get there?”

Joshua: Yeah. I think you might find yourself enjoying it like looking forward to the ride just for the sake of the ride.

David: Exactly. And I especially will when Ruth and I can ride together. I think now that can be like a great Saturday morning adventure for us, something for us to do together, ride to the farmer’s market, sit on the patio there and have a cup of coffee and then buy our produce and ride back home. I’m looking forward to it. Too bad winter cometh.

Joshua: So I can see you guys on a bicycle built for two now or maybe tricycles because you’re going to get more products because products from farmer’s markets are usually not particularly caloric and you’re burning calories there and back. So more vegetables.

David: There you go. Now I am waiting for to be tipping the scales a little bit lower weight as a result of the bicycling but I haven’t seen that yet.

Joshua: Yeah, that’ll be hard. I mean I feel like that’s going to be more diet than exercise but exercise tends to affect diet.

David: Darn, you mean I’m going to have to give up a glass of Cabernet every evening to see the results? Perhaps.

Joshua: Actually, what do you do for panniers for bags? If you go there are you putting everything in the backpack or do you stick it on the bike? Have you figured that out yet?

David: I think I haven’t it figured out. I haven’t tried to backpack yet so I am anxious to see whether that really bothers me for when I need more capacity. My wife had an extra I don’t know saddlebag whatever. What do you call them?

Joshua: Pannier.

David: You see, I don’t have the lingo down yet. So she had an extra one.

Joshua: I know. [unintelligible] you like last time I climbed one of those 14s I was like 14 or… That’s how tall the mountain is in feet.

David: Yeah. I got to get the vocabulary down. So I’ve got one on one side so if I buy more than a bag of produce, I’m going to need another one on the other side or a backpack and I think that kept me…. I think I did one drive to the grocery store specifically because I didn’t think I had the capacity on the bicycle so I need to solve that problem.

Joshua: I have an idea that might help solve it. I don’t know if I have any that I can send you right away but if you look online, you’ll find videos of like Scandinavians in February, 80-year-olds riding their bikes through snow up to here. I mean granted they clear the road. Actually, I don’t know if they clear the roads or they just are used to riding on snow. But it’s kind of funny when you are like, “Should I do this or not?” And you find out like, Oh, there’s an 80-year-old doing the same thing and not even acting like it’s unusual. They’re just…” Yeah, of course. How am I going to get there? Do I ride a bike? What would you do instead? And then you are like I guess I was… What’s the word? Thinking it was harder or being a little too precious you know.

David: I don’t know. Thinking about the snow you know because I’m kind of assuming that I’m going to you know never going to get on my bicycle when it’s snowing or when it’s you know below 40 degrees or something like that. And you know I may be a little bit of a lightweight in that department but I think one of the things I was thinking about as I was out on the bike really enjoying it the other day was, “Wow, if I did not have that hill to climb, I would never be in a car. I’d be on my bicycle all the time.” The hill, this is like a one and a half, one- and three-quarter mile hill. And unfortunately, I’m going to have to get over that. If I lived on the flats, I’d have solved all these problems and you’d never see me in a car.

Joshua: Yeah. All the Dutch have that going for them.

David: Yeah, yeah.

Joshua: They’re pretty flat.

David: But it is hard work. It’s hard work riding up this hill. Yeah. So I got to get past that.

Joshua: Yeah. I’m thinking to myself when I was younger and living in my dad’s house in Philadelphia to get home from 10 I could take this route that would go up this really steep hill in this area called [unintelligible] and there was like a pro bike race that came through and was like the big hard place in it. I would specifically go out of my way to do that which when you are in your early 20s is like a natural thing to do. And I have my purpose now which is like… How do I put it? I look forward to finishing them. I don’t look forward to starting them but it really is… This title of… I don’t know if you know Ryan Holiday but he got this book called The Obstacle is The Way or something like that and I keep coming back and like wow, he really got a great title there. Like these challenges are what make us. That’s what life… That’s what life is about. Like that’s where you learn. That’s where you grow. That’s how you find out who you are. I mean I like relaxing too but that doesn’t feel as like I’m growing as much or learning as much.

David: Yeah. And I’m sure there’s a big part of it that is purely mental and spiritual but there’s also you know this endorphin thing going too. I’m sure there’s some great chemical benefits that I know I am feeling. When I walk back into the house after I get off that bicycle, I am feeling that endorphin rush. It is awesome. That’s wonderful.

Joshua: Well, it’s hard for me not to ask anything… Now that something that was on your horizon is now or something that was beyond the horizon is not in your horizon. Anything new that you’re looking forward next? I guess there’s the winter.

David: Yeah. So I still got a lot of adventures and obstacles to overcome with that. So you know my near-term and mid-term goal really continues to revolve around that bicycle which is to use it more to certainly never find myself out in the car and think “Oh, why didn’t I go on the bicycle?” You know that happened to me once this week. I actually did a couple of errands that I just you know it was still kind of rope to grab the car keys and go get in the car. So you know I’m looking forward to making progress with those but I don’t think I’ve really picked up on anything new. I don’t have a new way of lightening the load that I’m planning to add to my bag of tricks.

Joshua: I’m curious if that… Here’s where I am on this podcast is for a long time I’ve been trying to be strict with myself and ask people what about the environment matters to them and have them pick something that matters to them and act on that. And actually, I should ask you. When you were doing this, you’re riding the bike, it’s hard so something’s rewarding you probably emotionally that’s not the riding, like externally you’re riding. What are you doing internally? What’s the value if any? What’s the meaning?

David: Well, I’m not sure how to articulate this. I don’t know if I’ll articulate it well or not but I think there is you know I think we like… Human beings like to be good. Most of us anyway. You know there’s not enough there’s some kind of intrinsic reward that you get for doing the right thing. And you know I know that that is doing the right thing. I think about my son and my daughter sometimes when I do that. I feel like you know now I don’t have to apologize to them for how many miles I drove in the car today which I know you know every time I get in the car and drive I know that I am you know in a small way sealing their fate, a fate that won’t be as pleasant as it could have been. And I know a lot of people would be tempted to say, “Well, come on Dave. You know you’re one of ten-mile round trip to the grocery store and back in the car isn’t going to make any difference you know to the climate disruption.” But you know I’m one of three hundred and twenty five million people in the United States alone. I’m one of seven point six billion people on the planet. And if thousands, millions or even billions of people are behaving poorly, then that really adds up.

And likewise, if thousands or millions or billions of people are behaving really well, then that can make a huge difference. So to me I’m aware of that. You know the power of numbers even when I’m doing something that just myself doesn’t really add up I know it matters. And I do think about those kids that I feel better about myself. I know that I am you know… It’s not even a sacrifice really. You know it’s a sort of a mental sacrifice just to do the hard work of getting a bicycle, making the decision, making the purchase decision and then getting developing the habits. There’s a little bit of work and a little bit inconvenient but the you know it’s not even hard to do the right thing because there’s so many reward,s so much joy. You know I’m going to be in better shape, I’m going to be mentally in better shape for taking better physical care of myself and giving myself time to see the world and smell the roses and think about things. So it’s all good.

Joshua: So I’m hearing it’s like I came to relieve the burden and I stayed because I enjoyed it. Because it sounded like the motivation to start was not hurting others. And I think the reason you like doing it so much is that you discovered stuff that you didn’t expect of how much you’d like it or maybe you kind of knew it in principle but once you actually felt it it’s another story.

David: Yeah. In fact, you know you mentioned No Impact Man and it is a lot like the theme of that wonderful documentary. One of my all-time favorite documentaries. You know his Colin Bevin’s message was you know this was not a sacrifice. This was a joy. Yeah. I like the words you used. I came for…

Joshua: Came to relieve the burden.

David: Stayed for the joy.

Joshua: Stayed for the joy.

David: Yeah. I love it.

Joshua: Or maybe I am working on my podcast, the tagline I was playing around with Beyond Talk to Action but I think that’s not positive enough and now I’m playing around with Live Better by Your Values but maybe Come to Relieve the Burden and Stay to Have Fun.

David: Yeah. I think you got the right meaning but now we just have to come up with something really catchy.

Joshua: Yeah. Get the words down tight. So how come you didn’t do it earlier?

David: Oh, gosh. I don’t have a good answer for you. Too busy. I was allowing myself to be too busy.

Joshua: Yeah. I think you’re not alone in that. I think we all… Every single person listening to my voice and for that matter everyone who’s not listening to my voice has stuff that they want to do and they want to take off the socks but it’s easier to like occupy yourself and not pay attention than to just sit down, take your shoes off, take your socks off, then maybe put your shoes back on without socks.

David: And I’ll bet ninety-nine times out of 100 once anybody takes off the socks, they say, “Oh, man why didn’t I do that a long time ago?” Yeah, it’s great. It’s great not to be on wet socks.

Joshua: Yeah. So I want to wrap up but before wrapping up do you have any steps or words to leave with listeners of advice or experience or, I don’t know, something to leave them with?

David: I’m usually not short on advice but you really today make me feel like you’re the doctor and I’m the patient. So I don’t know. I’m obviously still in the middle of this. I think if you meet Josh, it’s great to have that catalyst to get you to get out of those white socks. But I would hope that all of us can do it without having to have some kind of external force getting us to do it.

Joshua: Or I hope that your experience is one of the forces or a catalyst for others.

David: That would be nice. Rent or purchase No Impact Man. That might inspire you too if you need an extra hand of inspiration. I think your podcasts will definitely serve as kindling and get some fires roaring out there, I think. I’m excited about it.

Joshua: I hope so.

David: Thanks for doing it.

Joshua: Well, thank you too. And let’s leave it there. If you, as this challenge becomes habit and habit becomes just a part of regular life, if you move on to your next stage or you have new revelations about this, I’d love to hear it and especially if it would be valuable to the listeners. I mean we’ll be in touch. I’m going to show up on your podcast pretty soon and I thank you very much and for sharing you know it wasn’t just a walk in the park for you or a ride in the park either and you shared some stuff that was challenging and was hard.

David: If I don’t have something new to tell you about soon, then shame on me.

Joshua: Then you want me to come kick your ass?

David: Yeah, because I don’t plan to be just sitting still or standing still. There’s plenty of room for personal growth for me so I look forward to that. And I was thinking we are probably ready to have you as a guest on the Growth Busters podcast so maybe in a week or two weeks something like that. So see if we can get you on the calendar.

Joshua: Sounds great. And for the listeners I’ll put the links on the page but once you give where everyone can reach you and watch your movies and things like that.

David: Well, the quick short answer to that is growthbusters.org and that’s the website for the movie or growthbustersmovie.org is another good location and I think it’s pretty easy to find a contact form or send to send an email to dave@growthbusters.org. We’re also on Facebook and Twitter with the same handle Ghostbusters.

Joshua: OK, well, thank you. We’ll be in touch. And I look forward to hearing how things evolve and I’ll share with you how things evolve at my end too.

David: Thanks for the inspiration, coach.

Joshua: Talk to you again soon.

David: All right. Bye.


David’s stronger than before. He’s finding things out about his neighborhood, about himself. Pleasantly surprised, he didn’t expect these things. If you like this episode I recommend listening to the ones I mentioned before – Dov Baron’s, Daniel Bauer’s, Jethro Jones’ and Michael O’Heaney to hear all of them had this pleasant surprise and enjoying using their muscles and breathing fresh air. Everybody loves nature, it seems. Especially people with kids.

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