—Joshua Spodek's adventures in stewardship—

(Formerly Leadership and the Environment)

Community, support, vision, stories, role Models, experience.

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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461: 24 Hours With No Electrical Power (After)

May 16, 2021
My solo episodes are a podcast-within-a-podcast: my views on relevant topics. Volume 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15
Solo Episodes, volume 16

461: 24 Hours With No Electrical Power (After)

My notes I read from:

What I did

  • Kathryn Garcia in Washington Square Park
  • Farmers market (compost, oregano)
  • Ride to Brooklyn
  • Grain de Sail sail boat
  • Visit with friend
  • Calisthenics by candlelight
  • Wake up, no clock
  • Think, reflect, calm
  • Meet to pick up garbage

Notes on no power

  • 29 to 30 hours since recording last episode, 26 with circuit breaker for apartment disconnected
  • Less of a big deal than I expected, though the fridge already being off probably lessened effect
  • Temptation
  • Time
  • Darkness
  • Light
  • Outdoors
  • Eating
  • Calm, relaxed
  • My values

460: 24 Hours With No Electrical Power (Before)

May 15, 2021

Here are the notes I read from for this post:

I posted the other day an exercise to think about going twenty-four hours without using electrical power. To clarify, that exercise was to think about it. I don’t think many people would do it. Even orthodox Jews leave their refrigerators plugged in, as well as clocks. The meters to their homes would register power being used. I’m talking about the meter reading zero. They often leave lights on. Personal choices may mean some don’t use any power.

I don’t know Amish, who might do it, or people in societies without power. I spoke to someone who lives where her power drops for days at a time, but she says everyone gets in their cars, which use spark plugs, to go places to charge their phones and use the internet. I don’t know anyone who lives off the grid.

Even during the blackout in 2003 and after Hurricane Sandy, I still used battery power. My ten-day meditation retreats and two two-week trips to North Korea still used plenty of electrical power each day.

Here’s that post: Exercise: Imagine a Day Without Using Electric Power

You know me. If it’s possible, I’d prefer to try than speculate. People talk too much and live too little. As I’m recording now, I’m looking at my circuit breaker for the apartment. I have a call after posting this. After that call, I’ll flip the circuit to cut off power to the apartment and turn off my phone and computer. Not just sleep mode, but power off. I won’t go so far as to disconnect the batteries, which I think would be symbolic.

I’m scheduled to meet a friend at Union Square at the farmers market, where I’ll drop off my compost. We’re also scheduled to ride bikes to Brooklyn. I got an email from Grain de Sail, a company that built a sailboat to transport goods across the Atlantic, mainly coffee and chocolate eastbound and wine westbound. So I have some off-the-grid activities. My next obligation is about twenty-four hours later, which is to meet my city councilman organized group that picks up litter together tomorrow at 11:30am.

Otherwise, I have to figure out what to do with my time that I’m used to filling with internet or writing on my computer. I have plenty of scrap paper to write on and a book to work on. I know I write differently when disconnected from the internet. I’m curious if I’ll write differently if that much more disconnected. I haven’t written much by hand in a while. I had thought to borrow some books from the library to help prepare, but the one near me is closed for the pandemic. I’ve been reading and listening to books online from the library during the pandemic, but I don’t need books. Maybe I’ll go outside more. I have a feeling I’ll go to sleep early since I won’t know the time. I won’t go to another building, like a bookstore, to read by its lights.

My building has lights in the hallway and stairway. I was thinking of closing my eyes there to avoid using those lights, but I’ll make exceptions for them. The library’s clock tower has a clock. I think I’ll avoid using it so I don’t know how I’ll tell time. I’ll probably go to the park early with things to write and just be there when the rest of the group to pick up trash shows up, though it will probably be over twenty-four hours from now. It occurs to me now that going outside at night will make it impossible to avoid street lights. I don’t know the phase of the moon in case a full moon could in principle light my way. I guess I’ll stay inside. Come to think of it, I have some old candles I never use. I’ll probably go to sleep when it gets dark and wake up when it gets light, around 5am.

I also have a sidcha to make my bed, cross the room, and turn off the alarm within sixty seconds of it going off. I haven’t missed it since starting, though occasionally a second or two late, so maybe I should say sixty-five seconds. With my phone off, it won’t go off tomorrow morning. I’ll probably get up and make the bed within sixty seconds of waking up and cross the room anyway.

Walk/don’t walk signs and stoplights I’ll use while riding. While walking I’ll try to avoid looking at them and go by people’s behavior.

Other than that, maybe I’ll go for walks or a run. I’m not sure, but people lived without electrical power for hundreds of thousands of years and many people go without it today. I see no reason why technology designed to help us should make us less capable.

We’re a pretty needy, dependent, entitled, spoiled society. This is an exercise in resilience, freedom, and deliberate choice.

459: Jonathan Hardesty, part 3: How to Continue a Sustainability Podcast

May 14, 2021

Jonathan and I have a good rapport. We joke around. I love his expressiveness as an artist. I think he values stewardship more than he's behaved so far in life, so I hear him enjoying aligning his behavior with his values.

In this episode we review his leading his kids and wife in The Spodek Method from last time. You'll hear touching family interactions.

The I teach the second interaction with guests---how to lead  that conversation.

458: The Spodek Method: How to Lead Someone to Act Joyfully Sustainably

May 12, 2021

I’ve taught a half-dozen people the technique I use in this podcast---the hosts of the other branches of the This Sustainable Life podcast. They started calling it The Spodek Method, so now I do too. It's enabled me to reach amazing people, many of global renown, who enjoy the experience. It doesn't alone solve all the world's problems, but it works. The Spodek Method leads a person to share and act on environmental values.

You can do it too with communities you’d like to join. You would contribute to a mission of changing culture from seeing stewardship and sustainability as a burden, chore, deprivation, and sacrifice to wanting to do it based on experience, expecting joy, fun, freedom, community, connecting, meaning and value.

Why learn The Spodek Method?
Before After
Deprivation Joy
Sacrifice Fun
Chore Freedom
Burden Community

If you would like to lead your community, try it. If you’d like to grow yourself, have others do it on you.

This episode presents my teaching Jonathan Hardesty The Spodek Method during our second conversation. No planning. It happened spontaneously because we had a great rapport, he loved his experience, and was interested in leading a community craving leadership on sustainability instead of being told what to do.

If you want to start a podcast branch and join the family, contact me. It takes practice, but once you start, you’ll love the experience, the team, and being changing culture.

Think about the people you’d like to meet most in the world. The Spodek Method enables you to lead them in a way they enjoy and invite you into your life.

457: Jon Levy, part 1: The Art and Science of Cultivating Influence

May 11, 2021

Jon is famous for bringing people together and creating community, see the New York Times article on him below. He invited me to a few of his events before the pandemic and they lived up to the reputation.

His latest book, You're Invited: The Art and Science of Cultivating Influence comes out the day I'm posting this conversation, May 11. We talk about how the book came to be. We're both geeky and prone to talking theory, but neither of us would stop there. He shares how he put theory into practice. At first he makes it sound simple, but he also talks about the challenges and struggles he went through and how far back he had to start from.

For our common interests in creating community, I've wanted to bring him here for years.

456: Jonathan Hardesty, part 2: How to Start a Sustainability Podcast

May 6, 2021

This episode is really two.

Remember that he started art late in life, so the first two-thirds talks about art. Also his experience with his kids and family picking up trash. You'll enjoy hearing his and his family's joy doing it. I imagine you'll also feel sober about his unpleasant surprise at how much trash there was to pick up.

I hope you'll feel inspired to pick up trash too. I think you'll find yourself surprised at how much more trash you'll find when you pick it up than you expect from just looking.

The second part, I walk him through how to lead someone in my technique for this podcast. He's considering starting a branch in the This Sustainable Life family, specifically to reach evangelicals, especially in Texas, a group I'm enthusiastic to connect with. Most environmentalists approach them judgmentally and critically, which prompts division.

As you'll hear, Jonathan and I expect to connect with them so they enjoy acting.

If you're interested in starting a branch of This Sustainable Life, this episode shows you how. If you want to meet the top people in any areas you want to become a leader in, email me after listening to this episode. I want to start you off.

455: J. B. MacKinnon, part 2: What happens when you pay for quality?

April 30, 2021

Our world values cheap and disposable---in food and doof packaging, furniture, cars, and near the top of the list, clothes, especially fast fashion. The world is paying for it in the sense of overfilled landfills, plastic disrupting endocrine systems of animals including us, oil wells everywhere, garbage patches in the ocean, and so on.

I see us paying the price. We're always craving. Stuff always breaks. We feel compelled to buy new phones when the old ones should have kept working. We're obese from snacking. We're twisted up inside polluting while trying to convince ourselves we're not.

J. B. MacKinnon's new book The Day the World Stops Shopping examines this part of our culture and for this podcast he committed to go against that trend by buying a quality pair of jeans from a place he knew the sourcing, labor practices, and everything else, the opposite of fast fashion. He also paid significantly more for them.

Was the premium worth it? Should you do the same? What can we learn from his experience?

We talk about these questions and he experience from many perspectives.

454: Richard Rothstein: Racial segregation in generations of U.S. law

April 28, 2021

Today’s guest, Richard Rothstein, is one of the experts on how the law has clearly and explicitly kept freedom, prosperity, longevity, opportunity, and more from people based on their skin color. This is no hard-to-believe conspiracy, tenuous claim, or cancel culture labeling. He shows laws in black and white the law says you can’t rent to blacks. Across the country in many spheres of life for generations. No secret. Plus he traces the repercussions that occur when one group can do things another can’t and how they ripple throughout society.

Is his material valuable? Here’s one measure. I’m happy that my book Leadership Step by Step has over 100 reviews, averaging close to five stars. I know a lot of authors, editors, and book marketers. People seek that three-digit barrier. Richard wrote The Color of Law, a book on laws. That’s like a book on accounting. His book has over twelve thousand reviews, overwhelmingly five-star.

As usual, I bring you the personal and leadership aspects of the work. I’ll link in the notes to some videos of him describing his work to whet your appetite to read the book. I’ll focus on bringing you him and the story behind the story.

453: Bill Ryerson, part 2: How can we talk about population? What can we do?

April 26, 2021

What's the Earth's carrying capacity? If we're above it and we choose to lower it, what happens to the economy?

I've wondered these questions. I know the mainstream view gets it wrong because humans have lived sustainably. Their models say it's impossible, so they're wrong. They must be missing something, at least.

Rapid population growth leads to poverty. It might be a party on the way up, but it's unsustainable. We can celebrate lowering population. Other cultures have. We can too.

Bill starts by talking about how we can tell we're over the Earth's capacity, the dangers of relying on nonrenewable resources like oil. How do we achieve a soft landing if things collapse? Bill works on these things and speaks with experience and thoughtfulness, not just political bromides. We also cover birth control and immigration, topics relevant to the environment.

These topics are critical, but not covered. For me, it's refreshing to talk reasonably about these things. The media doesn't.

I also get him acting on his values. As you'll hear, he hits on something in his back yard he's neglected for decades. We switch from abstract facts, however important, to personal emotions.

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