Mark and my second conversation it about happiness, pleasure, meaning, and purpose, though it sounds like it's about personal growth, food, and environment. In our first conversation, he didn't really connect on the environment at the start. This time you'll hear it resonates with him, largely through health and food. I see the pattern over and over: people protect themselves from saying the environment means much to them but when they talk about it, they care deeply. I think mainstream strategies to act on the environment---"try this one little thing," "if you don't, you're destroying the Earth," facts, figures, doom, and gloom . . . none of which do I call leadership---lead to people protect themselves from revealing how much they care. Making it moral, about facts, right, and wrong and other ways that motivate people to protect themselves motivate people to protect themselves. Change will come from the opposite tactics: opening up, allowing people make mistakes and learn, not feel compelled to comply or to impose judgment on them. Environmental action won't come from people knowing more. Nobody knows everything, but nearly everyone knows enough to act on. Change will come from people feeling comfortable acting. I'm not saying Mark revolutionized his life and I don't know how often he'll return to farmers markets, but I heard that he meaningful enjoyed visiting it, activating a new aspect of food for him. Food was already a big part of his life, message, and journey. Yet getting fresh vegetables from the farm was outside his horizon. How many things are outside our horizons? It kills me that people treat things we talk about like chores or distraction. Acting on shared values creates connection and community. I can tell Mark and I will have a great time when he visits New York.
Mark seeks transitions---what most people avoid, certainly around leadership and the environment---and loves them. He shares them with the world. Listening to his podcast and reading his results, they're working. Change can make for a great life, as much as most people prefer to do what they always have. You'll hear him embracing challenges, learning, seeking understanding. He seeks action and people who act. He's just over 21, but I hear experience beyond those years, I think because of the challenges, and doing them publicly. Putting yourself out there forces accountability on you, which gets the job done. I recommend it. On personal change, he recognizes that emotion, not the outside world, is usually the biggest hurdle. This view, applied to environmental leadership, points to working on the beliefs and emotions driving our environmental problems for solutions. Too many of us look to others to act first or relying on technology---that is, not to where Mark looks. Our culture treats acting on your values as a chore. Listen to Mark to hear the joy, growth, meaning, purpose, and things I think we want in life more than plastic bags. Acting on your values is not a chore. Yes, parts of change are hard. Very hard. You'll hear the decisions he's had to make, though you have to listen hard because he's mostly overjoyed. I'm glad he was as open on the environment as he was because I think he shared what many are too scared to: that he doesn't know much about the environment. But for all he didn't know, he still cared. Environmental action isn't a matter of expertise or facts. Anyone can compare a garbage dump to a forest and figure out which you want more of. The question is do we act. Mark has acted so far in life. Let's hear how he approaches environmental action.