Category Archives: Stories

Applying lessons from sports to sustainability

on March 25, 2023 in Stories

On July 21st last year, both the solar panel and power station broke. I don’t know why or how, but cutting-edge technology is prone to fail. As the next day would complete two months, double my goal and twenty times my expectation, I decided I could declare victory, reconnect the circuit, and plug back in the next day. You can hear me say so in my July 22 podcast episode,[…] Keep reading →

I’ve waited nearly half a century to deliver this pun.

on March 5, 2023 in Humor, Stories

I’m interrupting my usual talk of sustainability leadership, sidchas, doof, and my other usual subjects for a story that happened this afternoon. The scene: With family. People’s stuff and toiletries are scattered about the room. My sister moved some things on a table and knocked a tube of toothpaste on the floor. She heard the noise but couldn’t see what fell. I said, “the toothpaste fell.” She didn’t hear and[…] Keep reading →

Read the photo-story on me: “A fridge too far? Living sustainably in NYC by unplugging” from the Associated Press

on January 26, 2023 in Leadership, Nature, Stories, Visualization

Katherine Roth interviewed me about unplugging my fridge and apartment from the electric grid and Bebeto Matthews photographed me cooking and putting my solar panels on my roof. Read the story and see the pictures at A fridge too far? Living sustainably in NYC by unplugging. I hope it helps achieve one of my main goals for this experiment: for a few people to say “You can do that!? I[…] Keep reading →

Read my piece in Ars Technica: “I disconnected from the electric grid for 8 months—in Manhattan”

on January 13, 2023 in Leadership, Nature, Stories

Ars Technica published a piece I wrote on my experiment disconnecting my apartment from the grid, I disconnected from the electric grid for 8 months—in Manhattan. It goes into more depth than my TIME piece I’ve Been Living Off-Grid In Manhattan for Half-a-Year. It’s in my voice, unlike the New Yorker‘s Off the Grid in the Big City. One of my main points was seeing the experiment like the Wright[…] Keep reading →

The New Yorker profiled my living off the grid

on January 9, 2023 in Leadership, Nature, Stories

My letter to the New Yorker’s editor in September led to a reporter, Zach Helfand, visiting and writing a story on me. They published it today (including spotlighting it, see below): Off the Grid in the Big City: It begins, “Josh Spodek disconnected the circuit breaker in his apartment, and now—thanks to solar-powered vegan stew—his carbon footprint is about that of three house cats.“ Along with the New Yorker piece,[…] Keep reading →

Waking before the alarm, writing in the dark

on January 6, 2023 in Habits, Nonjudgment, Stories

I told a friend how sometimes when I wake up before the alarm I get my best ideas. Most of the time I don’t write them down, figuring if they’re important enough, I’ll remember them when I wake up for the day. I learned the habit of not trying to save everything during my first silent meditation retreat. They don’t let attendees bring anything to write with. At first I[…] Keep reading →

Doing What It Takes

on December 27, 2022 in Leadership, Nature, Stories

When I spoke to Tom Szaky, founder of Terracycle, on the podcast, he shared an origin story. He had bought a used industrial composting machine and arranged with Princeton’s food services team to take a few barrels of their food scraps. it was summer, the composting machine arrived late, and the barrels of scraps were mostly sealed. When they opened the barrels, the stench was revolting, the maggots everywhere, and[…] Keep reading →

Sign up for my weekly newsletter