—Systemic change begins with personal change—

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


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. Instead we just talked about the fun of riding more and getting outside. He lives in Colorado with hills. What looked like a challenge before starting became part of the joy. The natural environment is like that. I see it over and over with guests. We talk about how one joyful thing leads to another when you shift from making excuses to avoid acting to acting. David's stronger than before, finding things about his neighborhood and himself. One of my life's great experiences was riding my bike from Philadelphia to Maine and back the summer between high school and college, with tents on our bikes at 16 years old. After listening to David, I recommend listening to some of these episodes: Dov Baron found something similar in his conversation, considering getting rid of his Jaguar. Danny Bauer found similar results after getting rid of his car as his commitment. I haven't heard back from Jethro Jones about riding his bike through the winter in Alaska, but he chose to do it. Michael O'Heaney found similar results riding his bike with his daughter in Golden Gate Park After talking to John Lee Dumas I went from talking about plogging to starting plogging You can debate pros and cons of bikes. You can't debate they're having more fun, getting in better shape, enjoying life more. It's about fun. The opposite of feeling guilty. Everybody loves nature, it seems. Especially if you have kids. Read the transcript.

123: Dave Gardner: Busting the Growth Myth


Dave saw the problems with growth to local communities, the national economy, the global economy, and the environment. He questioned the the nearly unquestioned belief that growth is good, especially GDP and population growth. Once you question it, like a sweater unraveling, you start seeing the problems it causes. I haven't been able to communicate its problems to someone who disagreed, so I won't try here, though if you've also tugged at any of its loose ends, Dave's documentary, his podcast, and this conversation will help you feel like you're not alone. You're not crazy. There's plenty of evidence that I find conclusive that for whatever it helped before, growth of a certain percent a year---that is, exponential---is unsustainable and the more we push to keep it up, the more problems we create for ourselves. Sadly, people who believe growth solves problems, when they see problems that growth causes, push for more growth. You'll be glad to know that not pursuing growth doesn't mean returning to the stone age. It means focusing on relationships, enjoying what you have, and other meaningful things. Listening to David leads me to imagine the resistance Martin Luther King or Gandhi must have faced promoting non-violence. Or the first women to wear pants. I'm glad they stuck with it. The analogy isn't perfect, but it's meaningful to me and I hope Dave sticks with it. Read the transcript.

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