(Formerly Leadership and the Environment)
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583: Growthbusters called me extreme, so I responded
The notes I read from for this episode:
Notes for Growthbusters comments
Here’s a clip from that podcast episode, reading my email.
A few comments
Gaya gets systems, how to change them, and not fall prey to rationalizations that sound tempting but are self-serving excuses like "individual actions don't matter" or "only governments and corporations can act on the scale we need." I loved this conversation for her knowledge and experience in what will reverse humanity's pattern of lowering Earth's ability to sustain life.
She shares and elaborates on major points like that technology is just a tool that serves our goals and values. While we value growth over sustainability, technology will accelerate our pattern of lowering Earth's ability to sustain life, not decrease it. We share our frustration with technology fans who misunderstand how technology affects our systems, thinking making it more efficient will lead to less pollution despite centuries of increased efficiency increasing pollution.
She shares about the value of individual actions to change culture and oneself, including her picking up litter with her family. She shares how sustainability creates joy since we are social.
She hints at her upcoming book, which is available now.
Ambrose and I start by reviewing his commitment. After a bit, as best I can tell, we talked past each other. Every now and then, the Spodek Method doesn't resonate and this conversation looks like one of them. His description of how he sees the world and my read don't seem to overlap.
I suspect he felt I didn't understand him or his world. I read him as guarded, not sharing his personal views and feelings. I think it might be interesting and possibly fun to hear it as a third person. I tried to understand what he was saying and tried to clarify. He sounds like he was doing his best to speak to be understood. It just didn't reach me. He described how the black community operated, but I felt like he viewed me as unable to understand, being empowered and entitled, whereas people in that community were traumatized and not taught what they could do.
His main point, as I understood, is that they "need more steps." I just couldn't get what he meant. I felt like he was trying to explain while keeping me separate and excluded, not explaining to include me.
Sorry I couldn't write more clearly what to expect. Again, I suspect it might be fun, as a third person, to understand both of us better than we understand each other.
Aren't we living in the best time in history? Don't we have to keep pressing forward to avoid returning to medieval serfdom or the Stone Age and everyone dying young?
No. History, anthropology, and archaeology show these beliefs wrong. Humans weren't living on the verge of starvation or nonstop working all day long. Other cultures than the one we descended from enjoyed more health, longevity, abundance, resilience, and freedom than we do, but we keep telling ourselves stories to make ourselves feel better.
You've heard every politician pay lip service on the environment. They talk abstractly about carbon dioxide levels, solutions to spend more money, and something about a future improved by electric cars and solar panels (conveniently missing how these "solutions" pollute). How many share their personal experiences? How many share their vulnerabilities we know they have?
Derek shares his personal experience honestly facing environmental challenges himself. What does it feel like to see a plastic bag roll by in the wind like a tumbleweed in what was supposed to be in the middle of nowhere, untouched by people? How does it feel when humans' predominant effect on once-beautiful nature is poison? Do we face our feelings of helplessness, thereby enabling ourselves to do something about it, or deny and suppress them, claiming "solutions" that pollute actually clean, not because they do but because claiming they do mollifies our feelings?
How do you run a campaign polluting less? What if your volunteers want pizza, but its disposable packaging pollutes? Will activating them to make preparing food part of the event engage them more? Will they enjoy local fruits and vegetables more? Can campaigning clean, boldly and honestly become a competitive advantage? If a campaigns ignores its personal impact, can you expect it will stop not caring after getting elected or will you expect it will find ways to excuse polluting after elected? Can Derek run his campaign clean to win loyalty and votes?
Hear Derek face these challenges, the only way I see anyone can solve them.
Before our conversations, I tended to see Warren as mainly focused on issues where men and boys suffer that society doesn't see, downplays, or ignores. I still see him as a rare luminary on such issues. As he mentions, many people, up to the White House, seem unable or unwilling to consider the possibility.
But I'm seeing him focusing on solutions, both systemic and individual. We start this conversation on communication, especially about listening, especially in conflict. We transition to communication tips, especially for men and boys, using ourselves and our challenges as examples. I hear passion in him for helping couples, especially from a man's perspective. Not just passion, effectiveness.
He shares about the origins of the Boy Crisis in society and the importance of effective communication, often lacking. We focus on suicide and rates between males and females versus between people of different races, children raised deprived of fathers, fathers whose responsibilities imposed by society force them to show their love by sacrificing time with family, which sounds heartbreaking for them, yet more so for their children. He explores the consequences to society.
He describes how people exclude men and boys and our problems from considering helping us, even (especially) from groups promoting inclusion.
I predict you'll find this episode evokes compassion and opens your eyes.
If you've been following Michael and my conversations so far, you know to expect thoughtful, considerate conversation coming from different perspectives. Each time we find deeper understanding, share more, and listen more. You won't be disappointed this time.
In this episode we talk about concepts from the book The Moral Case for Fossil Fuels and the philosophy behind it. Since I've started reading the Christian Bible, we talk about Romans and Philippians a bit too. Despite our different backgrounds and views about the universe, we agree on many ways we believe we can improve the world.
Nakisa talks about her community in Charlotte, North Carolina, the environmental and social challenges it faces, the level of engagement, the biases in difficulties in engaging for people who work long or unusual hours, advantages to big businesses, and other challenges. She also talks about her work facing these challenges, organizing and enabling people to solve them.
We talk about civic engagement beyond voting, acting beyond in election years, and running for office. In this episode, you'll hear from her experience and perspective what you face motivating and leading communities on the receiving end of polluting industries, historically locked out of politics, not knowing how to start, but needing to start if they hope to reverse those historical trends.
You'll hear her enthusiasm, which I see increasing since her being discovered to attend the conference she described in her first episode.
I think you'll like the commitment she chooses. I can't wait to hear her results.
Doug is the opposite of the catastrophe we've made of the food industry. He created a restaurant with no trash cans; not for the customers, not for the staff, nor for suppliers. Talk about a role model.
You can do it too. He can't do it for you. Neither can I. Only you can do it for yourself, but now you know you can. Step one: try. Step two: don't stop.
Regular listeners know my disgust and disdain for how much garbage comes from food and doof industries. The streets of my once beautiful neighborhood and city are covered with litter, the overwhelming majority of it coming from places profiting from producing more garbage and doof than food. Coca-Cola, McDonald's, Starbucks, Trader Joe's, Whole Foods, Frito-Lay, Dunkin' Donuts, every takeout place, and nearly every coffee shop, plus more. Millennia from now, our descendants, if any survive, will continue suffering from the poisons we create.
Beyond sharing how he did it, Doug shares his passion motivating him and satisfaction rewarding him. You can hear the camaraderie developing as two guys who discovered the joy of not abdicating and capitulating share what we discovered. I think I can speak for Doug that neither of us will return to our old ways of wasteful consumption.
You'll enjoy this joyful episode of living joyfully sustainably, or doing our best to reach it.