Best and Brightest … Genius — Esquire

A once-in-a-lifetime game-changing advance
in our field everyone else will follow
— Marshall Goldsmith

Astrophysicist turned new media whiz — NBC

Passionate … confident … — Forbes

You don't just learn theory from
him, you improve your life.
— Inc.

The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Harvard University, Standford University, Princeton University, MTV, IBM, US Army

My Mission

My mission is to help change American (and global) culture on sustainability and stewardship from expecting deprivation, sacrifice, burden, and chore to expecting rewarding emotions and lifestyles, as I see happen with everyone I lead to act for their intrinsic motivations.

In my case the emotions have been joy, fun, freedom, connection, meaning, and purpose.

Systemic change begins with personal change.

Some of my values. What are yours?
Months living off the grid in Manhattan: 20 (and counting)
Loads of garbage I filled in 2024 so far: 0
Loads of garbage I filled in 2023 so far: 0
Loads of garbage I filled in 2022: 0
Loads filled in 2021: 0
Loads filled in 2020: 0
Loads filled in 2019: 1
Loads filled in 2018: 1
Loads filled in 2017: 1
Days picking up litter: 2,477 and counting
Years not flying: 7 and counting
2024 grid electric grid use at home: 0 kilowatt-hours
Annual carbon emissions: about 1 ton
Daily burpees: 223,951 and counting
Resting pulse: 47 bpm


Volunteering recognition from 1993

on February 16, 2024 in Education, Habits, Stories

I’ve been writing about volunteering. Then last month I found this certificate for distinguished service in college in 1993 cleaning out my father’s basement and had to share the story behind it. A church near Columbia on 114th Street and Broadway served a soup kitchen. I volunteered there every Friday. I just went on my own. Partly I consider activities like it as civic duty. Also I find it rewarding.[…] Keep reading →

Why do people apologize to me about their polluting?

on February 15, 2024 in Blog

I visited with a friend recently. He had just come from working at a cafe. I asked, “If you sat down and drank coffee there, you used a mug, right? . . . not a disposable cup? He replied sheepishly, “No, I used a disposable cup. Sorry.” People keep apologizing to me for polluting. I said, “Don’t apologize to me. It barely affects me. It does, but other people more.”[…] Keep reading →

746: Martin Doblmeier, part 1: What We Can Learn from Dietrich Bonhoeffer

on February 14, 2024 in Podcast

I’m searching for role models including people who changed cultures and undid dominance hierarchies, particularly people who came from status. I can think of many who came from subjugated classes, but not many who could have declined to engage, but did instead. Dietrich Bonhoeffer is one. I could share more about him, but my guest today, Martin Doblmeier, made a wonderful documentary about him available online free. It’s worth it[…] Keep reading →

What’s “extreme” when everyone around you is acting crazy?

on February 13, 2024 in Doof, Nature

People describe my steps toward sustainability as “extreme.” Imagine everyone you knew gave babies Pepsi to drink, as much as they wanted all the time. You might think since it’s not healthy, you might not give your baby so much Pepsi. What’s the right amount of Pepsi to give babies? Ten percent less than everyone else? Twenty percent? If you give fifty percent less, are you starting to get extreme?[…] Keep reading →

I bought a product almost certainly produced in part with slavery.

on February 12, 2024 in Freedom

I’m not proud but I’m not going to hide it either. I’m like everyone else: I live in a culture that relies on slavery. I try to minimize my contribution to it. I see publicizing the situation as helping change it. Each time you bought a cell phone, laptop, or electric vehicle, you bought goods almost certainly produced using slavery, possibly without realizing it. I’d like to help change our[…] Keep reading →

This Week’s Selected Media, February 11, 2024: Born to Run by Bruce Springsteen

on February 11, 2024 in Tips

This week I finished: Born to Run, by Bruce Springsteen: Growing up in Philadelphia, across the river from New Jersey, Bruce was always big. I loved this book, which I listened to, Bruce himself reading it. The first third recounted his doing what it took. He struggled to buy his first guitar for $18. He slept on floors, figured out how to play. He played what gigs he could. He[…] Keep reading →

Following up yesterday’s post: “Whom would you call a minority in this picture?”

on February 10, 2024 in Stories, Tips

I wanted to follow up yesterday’s post. It missed some of the more important experiences and lessons of spending so many years as a minority, or at least not in the majority. Since starting college at Columbia and mostly living in Manhattan, I’ve spent a lot of time with well-educated liberals. I’ve found them full of preconceptions about me, generally based on my skin color and sex. People who know[…] Keep reading →

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