—Systemic change begins with personal transformation—

(Formerly Leadership and the Environment)

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Leadership turns feeling alone and complacent into action.

We bring leaders to the environment to share what works. Less facts, figures, and gloom. More stories, reflection, self-awareness, connection, support, and community.

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508: Eric Orts, part 2: To the U.S. Senate, living the values he leads

September 14, 2021
Eric Orts has taught at Wharton for nearly thirty years. He is also considering running for the United States Senate. He is the Guardsmark Professor at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. He is a professor of legal studies and business ethics with a joint appointment in management. He serves as an academic co-director of the NASD Institute at Wharton Certificate Program for compliance and regulatory professionals and directs Wharton’s Environmental Management Program. His primary research and teaching interests are corporate governance, professional ethics, and environmental management. His scholarly work is widely published in academic journals (mostly law reviews) and books. Before Wharton, Orts practiced law at Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison in New York City and was a Chemical Bank fellow in corporate social responsibility at Columbia Law School. He has taught at Penn's Law School and visited at the UCLA School of Law, University of Michigan Law School, Tsinghua University, and Sydney Law School. He has also been visiting Fulbright professor in the law department of the University of Leuven, the Eugene P. Beard Faculty Fellow at Harvard University’s Center for Ethics and the Professions, and a faculty fellow in the Center for Business and Government at the Kennedy School at Harvard. In 2005-06, he is a Visiting Professor at NYU Law where he is helping to establish a new diploma program for international business students in U.S. commercial and corporate law. Orts graduated Oberlin College (BA), the New School for Social Research (MA), the University of Michigan (JD), and Columbia University (JSD). He is a member of the bars of New York and the District of Columbia, an elected member of the American Law Institute, and belongs to a number of other professional and academic associations. At Wharton, he teaches undergraduate, MBA, and Ph.D. courses in corporate law, environmental management and policy, introduction to law, and professional ethics.
Eric Orts

508: Eric Orts, part 2: To the U.S. Senate, living the values he leads

Since Eric's last time here, he formally declared he is running for office. Now he's reporting back months into his campaign.

Did Trump not being in office slow him down? Or did our environmental problems motivate him even more?

How about his commitment to avoid flying? Surely he gave it up to campaign, right? Or did he? Whichever way he went on that commitment, the decision must have been difficult, so we'll get to hear about his values.

We talked about half about running for office, the challenge of choosing, consulting with people from President Biden to his wife, raising funds, handling his job as a tenured professor, considering travel across a large state and to Washington DC, and more.

This podcast was one of Eric's first public statements of considering to run. Now he returns to share the experience, with an election looming.

Show Notes

507: Behind the Mic: Teamwork Versus Leadership

September 13, 2021

Today's episode explores a subtle but potentially meaningful and large shift, considering focusing on sustainability teamwork more than sustainability leadership.

The main difference is that I think people feel taking a leadership role makes them vulnerable and means lots of work. Joining a team is fun. If enough people join it feels natural and odd not to.

You're hearing me develop an idea in real time.

Here are the notes I read from:

Switch to team?

  • Leadership stick neck out
  • Sports, business, military, music, drama, family, indigenous tribes, small communities
  • Playing Beethoven: no one but everyone
  • Everyone matters, bench player, fans, home court advantage
  • Improv exercise
  • Everyone can join team. Not to messes it up for everyone. Imagine fan blocking. Some can lead, many leadership roles: coach, outstanding player, biggest fan
  • Internet search: nothing relevant
  • Kicks in tribalism
  • Competition two meanings: winning versus finding and reaching their potential
  • Opponent is the old values and complacency
  • Difference between parent and babysitter
  • Chamber quartet with tuba or clown horn is SUV

506: I lost $10 million on September 11, 2001. Here is what I learned from those who sacrificed and served.

September 11, 2021

Sorry for the slow pace of this episode, but just before recording I looked at the firehouse across the street from my apartment, the small plaque naming the firemen who died trying to help others, and the flowers people put there for them, which led me to lose it as I started recording.

I've never considered the changes to my life meaningful in comparison, despite my losses being greater than anyone I know who didn't die or was related to someone who died for the obvious reason that no material loss compares. Not even close.

But twenty years later, it occurs to me that not communicating about the loss and what I learned from it doesn't help either, because when faced with a huge material loss---I lost about ten million dollars and the future I'd sacrificed other dreams for---we can choose to give up or we can choose to find our values and live by them, if not the fleeting material stuff.

In this episode I share what I live for, what in part I learned from the firefighters who served that day, the servicemembers who enlisted for years to come, as well as from others who lost. We can prevent far greater losses than September 11, than the Holocaust, than the Atlantic slave trade in conserving and protecting our environment.

I choose to devote my life to the greatest cause of our time, in helping the most number of people from the greatest amount of suffering of any time.

If you'd like to help, we who choose to serve, could use your help. But we don't have to enter towering infernos. We eat vegetables instead of takeout, live closer to family instead of flying to and from them, have one child, and learn to lead others to enjoy the same. Contact me if you'd like to join.

505: Michael Carlino, part 1: From the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary

September 9, 2021

Michael begins by describing himself as a Protestant evangelical conservative PhD candidate at one of the largest and oldest Baptist seminaries, what that description means, and what experience and choices brought him there. These experiences were meaningful and his choices deliberate and considered.

We talk about scripture, family, faith, hope, the environment, modern culture, sin, gluttony, and more. In my experience people who work on the environment disengage or oppose conservative religious views. My experience in engaging with them keeps making me want to learn more about their views. Some I expect and know, others surprise me.

Michael also asks about my views and why I choose as I do around sustainability and stewardship. His question are basic ones I think people would like to know, but slightly different than I'm used to hearing. He then interprets them from a Christian perspective, which I can learn from.

504: Dar-Lon Chang, part 2: Activists on Exxon's Board (and fighting a real estate developer who lied about sustainability)

September 6, 2021

Reading front-page headlines about activist investors gaining some control of Exxon's Board of Directors reminded me of past guest Dar-Lon Chang, who worked at Exxon for sixteen years. I asked if he had inside information on it.

He told me he did, which he shared. He also shared his personal experience living in a community striving to live sustainably in Colorado. Living more sustainably is why he left Exxon. Now a real estate developer is undoing their work after apparently lying about his intent to honor the community's interests.

You'll feel outrage, though also, I hope, motivation, that he and his neighbors aren't just accepting gas lines being fed to houses in this community. They're fighting back.

503: Jonathan Hardesty, part 5: Facing and overcoming gluttony

September 2, 2021

I hope you hear Jonathan and I sharing a great rapport---on art, stewardship, Christianity, and enjoying life.

If you've reached this conversation, you know what we're covering in this episode: his results doing the Spodek Method, partly doing it, partly learning how to do it.

He's an artist and family man. He started picking up trash, which naturally became a family activity and point of personal growth. He then did more. Why? Because he enjoys acting on his values. We all do.

I also describe the Spodek Method for you, the listener, so you can do it too, and bring joy or other rewarding, intrinsic motivations to people in your life.

502: Cassiano Laureano, part 1: The world record for most burpees in an hour

August 30, 2021

When I read about Cassiano setting the world record for most burpees in an hour--951---I knew I had to meet him.

Though I've maxed out at a mere 370 in a day, I did most of them in under three hours. Still dramatically slower than Cassiano, but I've kept my streak unbroken for about ten years.

I had to learn his motivation, his obstacles, how he overcame the obstacles, his training, how the event felt, and all of what goes into setting that record. He wasn't doing it for the money and even the motivation to raise funds for his niece's health wouldn't necessarily keep him motivated.

He shares his motivation, perspective, beliefs, and how he handled injury. Anyone can challenge themselves as much to live by their values.

Then you'll hear his environmental values stemming from growing up poor in Brazil, coming to America and struggling, then making it here. How he acts on his values is so simple, affordable, and rewarding, anyone can do it. I predict hearing him will make his actions sound attractive. I recommend listening and emulating.

I can't wait to hear how his commitment goes and I bet you won't be able to either.

501: Big City Andrew, part 2: Cleaning small towns and big cities

August 28, 2021

Sorry the audio doesn't show the big Trump flag behind Andrew, because in this episode, I hear a regular guy who sees America's small towns and big cities becoming polluted and acts. Not that Trump supporters aren't regular people, but that I see the mainstream environmental view of Trump supporters as the enemy, people who don't get it, or won't.

I think it takes two to tango in cases like this. If you paint people as enemies who can't get it, I don't see how you can expect them to listen to you. If you only speak in terms of your values, I don't think people with different values will feel understood or want to listen to you.

Meanwhile, I find that all people have intrinsic motivation to act on the environment. Connect with people on their terms and they'll engage, including American conservatives on sustainability and the environment.

Andrew, as you'll hear, for example, acts on his own motivation to recycle. He likes it and finds it easy enough that his action gets his girlfriend in on the project. That is, he leads her. He doesn't try to convince her. He does something he likes and she joins in. He shares how he feels more people should do it.

We also talk about politics and how to engage conservatives more. It's not that hard.

Sometimes I feel I'm almost the only person who can see liberals and conservatives both increasing America's stewardship and sustainability. Everyone agrees on traffic laws, for example, like not to cross double yellow lines. I'm working to get sustainability to a similar place.

500: This Podcast's Next Milestone

August 27, 2021

For the 500th episode, I share the outcome I expect to make happen from all this podcast experience as part of my mission to change culture to embrace, not refrain from or fear, sustainability and stewardship.

I describe how I will lead people at leverage points of systems to share their intrinsic motivation, act on it, and lead their organizations to huge changes for their intrinsic motivations.

When our culture changes, we will act because we want to, not because we have to. Then we will be off to the races to change.

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