I loved Blake and my conversation so much, I'm releasing our first two conversations back to back. Also, our first one didn't reach to The Spodek Method, so he hadn't taken on a commitment based on his environmental values, so we recorded a week later instead of having to wait for him to finish the commitment. He takes on a commitment in this episode, so he'll come back a third time at least. We talked about how life brings us challenges. In his case a disease led to losing both legs. For everyone, generations of a polluting culture led to the risk of human population collapse. We won't be able to live as before, and possibly billions won't be able to live at all. Blake is coming to grips with the extent of the situation and what anyone can do about it. We talk about value, teamwork, training, and how his experience and lessons could help everyone. By the end, you'll hear how he starts considering potential roles he could take on sustainability. As you can hear in the last episode and this one, I see his experiences, beliefs, and lessons could help everyone, especially Americans, who treat changing our behavior and the culture driving it as deprivation, respond with enthusiasm instead of the usual "what I do doesn't matter" or "only governments and corporations can act on the scale we need." He's thoughtful and shares thoughts he's had before our conversation. You can hear him developing and reconsidering his perspectives during the conversation. I envision Blake taking a leadership role in sustainability leadership. No one has to act on it. Nearly everyone has chosen not to, to hope someone else will take care of things. Only people who want to make sustainability leadership their calling are doing so---nearly no one. But I see him seeing his potential for reaching people in ways no one else can.
I learned of Blake through the mailing list of the maker of my rowing machine, Concept2. Their piece on him described him as a Paralympic bound athlete. I was impressed, but only thought of him as a potential guest on watching his TEDx talk. I think my message to his agent describes what I saw in him and when we talked about in this episode: In Blake's case, I heard a message I've never heard with such clarity and experience I wonder if he realizes how much it applies to stewardship and the environment. It's almost the exact message nearly everyone needs. I can't put it as well as he can, but what he shared starting around minute 3 of his TEDx talk of a system breaking down, where most people would be ready to give up, technology being important, but relationships, faith, support, and laughter being the core of what worked. I see roughly 350 million Americans and 7.9 billion humans ready to give in and accept a system breaking down. Then I see Blake living the opposite of their resignation leading to a better life, and there's been almost a decade since leading to what I read as yet more improvement. In my book coming out next year, I quote Churchill's speeches during the blitz -- that it's bad, it will get worse, but we will fight on the beaches, we will never surrender, it will be our finest hour. I heard in Blake's message from a decade ago what America and the world would benefit most from hearing today. I expect it's stronger today. Since he also just won a silver medal, I also ask him about the training and competing.