With Earth Day coming up, it’s a great time to have a conversation around actionable & simple ways you can help out the planet, a little more than you already are. From community involvement and at-home tips, to documentary recommendations, Brandi Clark Burton, one of the most knowledgeable environmentalists and Austinites we know, helps us reflect and inspires us to make some changes this month, however big or small.
Check out The Austin Common – https://theaustincommon.com/
We talked a lot about Rare and what they’re doing for the planet – https://rare.org/
Here’s Project Draw Down, which says we can win the climate game! – https://drawdown.org/
Saving Us, the book by Katharine Kayhoe – https://amzn.to/3LOSdR8zon.com/
Game Changers – documentary about vegan super-athletes – https://www.amazon.com/Game-Changers-Arnold-Schwarzenegger/dp/B07YSXV2NT/ref=sr_1_1
The Year The Earth Changed is the name of the documentary about what happened to the environment during the pandemic
Here’s that image we discussed while interviewing her –
One quick fact check – Brandi mentioned that more people die annually from air pollution than have had covid worldwide. But it’s more than have died from COVID worldwide. it’s more than have had COVID in the US. But more people have had it worldwide – 494 Million. Eesh!
Pretty ok (not great) transcript:
[00:00:00] Mason: When I started green lane, local organic food home delivery service way back in 2005, Brandi was one of the very first people that I was recommended to talk to her vibrance and energy were infectious.
And however many years ago, that was, I figured we won’t date ourselves. She still carries out vibrance and energy. Except now with volumes and volumes of information in her head about environmental ism and civic engagement, she has run or co-hosted how many earth day events at this point, have you been involved in, um,
[00:00:31] Brandi Clark Burton of EcoNetworking: most everyone since 99.
[00:00:33] Mason: Wow. That’s quite a track record. And now lately, some people are referring to it as earth month. Do you think we’re expanding? Oh,
[00:00:42] Brandi Clark Burton of EcoNetworking: absolutely. Earth day is every day. That’s also been, you know, the mantra for a very long time and really, really needs to be in everyone’s mind.
[00:00:50] Jess: So what is the history of earth day? Are you familiar
[00:00:53] Brandi Clark Burton of EcoNetworking: with that? I am actually, it started with, uh, Senator Gaylord Nelson, who was a junior Senator from Wisconsin and a, then Republican representative from California teamed up.
Um, they wanted to do teach-ins on environmental awareness at college campuses. And so they picked a date that was between spring break and finals. That’s how they came up with April 22nd. I mean, there was literally no more, more magic than that. It was just like trying to avoid these things where college students are, you know, out-of-pocket um, so April 22nd, it is.
And that’s what we celebrate every year. And then, you know, might as well just make it a month. Cause why the 22nd? I mean, I like repeating numbers, but,
[00:01:36] Jess: and what do you, what do you think is one of the most important reasons to celebrate it?
[00:01:43] Brandi Clark Burton of EcoNetworking: Well, I think for everyone, regardless of how green you are or are not having an excuse or a time in every year to reflect on, is there something more I could do?
What else is new? I mean, there’s innovations that happen every year. And so even those of us who are super involved may discover, oh, I’d never heard of that before. Like, um, you know, we’re all talking about battery storage and the problem with, you know, mining, these chemicals and stuff, and my husband has researched and now we’ve made an investment in a company that uses gravity, you know, like stored energy, like stacking blocks.
Wow. There’s no chemicals involved. It’s just literally kinetic energy and it’s, I’m like, wow, we wouldn’t need any chemicals for that. We just need a little space. So anyway there’s there’s innovations all the time. So like I said, you know, everyone can always do more. I think having a month where the media focuses on it and they look for stories to tell, they highlight some of the statistics of what has happened in the last year.
Um, putting it on people’s radar because it’s not their everyday conversation. I think it’s good to have a refresher every year.
[00:02:54] Jess: Yeah. That makes sense. I’m looking forward to all of the emails in my inbox to teach me something or help me learn something new for sure. For earth day, earth
[00:03:03] Mason: month.
[00:03:04] Jess: Well, my next question was going to be, what do you and your family typically do for earth day? But I suppose if you’ve been part of earth day events in Austin since 1999, that’s what you guys typically do.
[00:03:16] Brandi Clark Burton of EcoNetworking: They’re present in one way or another. Um, often even if I’m not producing it, I’ve been a part of having a booth.
There are, arranging the speakers, or I was a speaker, you know, there in one way or another, I’ve been a part of it. So my kids have been at pretty much every earth day since they were itty bitty. And, um, my husband is also, Scott Burton is very involved in sustainability related things. We actually met at a green event, so he likes it.
He was on the board of solar Austin for like 10 years and, is constantly researching electric vehicle stuff. He’s a car nerd and and space-related things and how those apply to sustainability. So.
[00:03:53] Mason: Fun fun. Well, what kind of impact have you seen from the different earth day events you’ve been involved with?
[00:04:00] Brandi Clark Burton of EcoNetworking: Well, the impact from the specific events, I would say, starting with the kids and, you know, seeing their eyes light up the discoveries that they make when they’re putting their hands in a bin of worms, or they’re seeing butterflies and have just hatched, you know, or, you know, come out of their cocoons. the understanding, I mean, seeing animals and stuff like that, chickens don’t come from a cellophane wrapped, you know, piece of styrofoam and this grocery store that they’re animals and, connecting with nature and the stories and, and having some sort of positive event where they’re learning about nature.
They’re getting in touch with that. There are problems, but I think giving it an upbeat feel is nice. I think at the professional level, it’s great for a lot of. People who run organizations and all these different categories to actually be in the same place, kind of out of their silos and together. Um, I sometimes get down a little bit down on the whole party in the park model and like, uh, it’s a little bit tired.
We need like more different ways to engage people, but there are benefits of getting together. And, I always make a point of walking around to other people’s booths as if I’m just a member of the public, because I can always learn something. And I’m always curious what they’re involved in. So just the cross-pollination.
And then of course there’s often speakers who are very inspiring and really plant a seed of thinking in a different way in the minds of everyone in the audience. And so that has ripple effects and creates thought leaders and, and, um, an action leaders out in our community.
[00:05:24] Jess: That’s awesome. Mason, have you been to one of the earth day events?
[00:05:27] Mason: Yeah. Greenline. We used the booth at some and I spoke at one.
[00:05:33] Jess: I’ve seen the billboards. I haven’t, I can’t say I’ve been to one before. I’m going to go to the one this year.
[00:05:39] Brandi Clark Burton of EcoNetworking: It’s actually a couple on Saturday at 11. There’s a clothing swap at Pease park. Oh, I love that at 12, from noon to six or it’s the 23rd, so it’s right.
Okay. Saturday right after earth day. and then from noon to six at, um, Houston Tillotson university, it’s where it’s been for the last several years. And then on Sunday, there’s going to be one at Waterloo park. Cool. Yeah. Very
[00:06:04] Mason: cool. And what are some of the ways for people to get involved either in their homes or in the community?
Like, is there a playbook for steps to celebrate earth day? Well,
[00:06:16] Brandi Clark Burton of EcoNetworking: I, you know, back to every day is earth day. I mean, finding the ways to take action that you are not yet. Um, I like how this organization called rare, rare.org. they have, created a campaign called make it personal and they have this, a through G list of things you can do.
So adopt a plant rich diet. And they’re not saying like, don’t eat any meat at all, or any, you know, animal based products, but, cut down on it, you know, um, find more ways to incorporate plant-based meals into your diet.
What was B by carbon offsets? So, you know, to the degree you can’t completely reduce or eliminate your own carbon footprint.
There is the option to pay for some benefit happening somewhere else in the world, whether it’s planting a tree or, um, doing things that prevent the loss of trees or other mechanic or by, uh, mechanical or biological ways of removing or sequestering carbon. Um, and I
[00:07:14] Mason: feel like some, they, it got controversial for a little while, either through a great marketing campaign, or in fact, some of these organizations were not using the money for that intended benefit.
has there been accountability that’s come into the
[00:07:26] Brandi Clark Burton of EcoNetworking: industry and there’s a whole new level of accountability. It’s still a little bit of a, a wild west because there’s, there’s a need for so many carbon offsets, right? Until we can really replace fossil fuels the need for companies who’ve set these targets.
I think in good faith to get net zero or cut in half their emissions or, you know, whatever their targets are, you know, you can only do so much if you’re still using fossil fuels. And so they have to invest in these carbon offsets. So there’s, as more places, companies, cities are making these commitments, there’s a need for more legitimate carbon offsets and they need to be, uh, they called additional.
So like you can’t like double count them. Like you can’t, this company can’t get credit for generating them if they were bought by somebody else, like they only get to count one time. So the accounting of it is something that, you know, probably, you know, more about blockchain and, um, you know, tracking of stuff.
I think that these worlds could come together in some, really interesting ways to make carbon. Truly legit and trackable over time.
[00:08:32] Jess: And, one really cool thing that you posted on Facebook was that your son took a trip. I think to Chicago, he got, you guys purchased a flight. And he said that, I don’t know if it was his idea or just as a family, you guys do this, but you want it to offset the carbon from that.
And I thought it was a really cool family decision to
[00:08:47] Brandi Clark Burton of EcoNetworking: make. Yeah, there are multiple airports, including the, Austin international They have a program. I know, oh, it’s called the good traveler program. And, uh, you can just calculate where you’re going.
It’ll say how far it is and what the equivalent offset should be. And you can just purchase the offset right there. It’s like awesome. All one step. That’s very cool.
[00:09:10] Jess: Cause we fly, not all the time necessarily, but that would be really neat to be able to do that each time that we do travel. Yeah. I feel
[00:09:16] Mason: like it used to pop up more and I’d always do it when it popped up.
And I haven’t seen it pop up lately, but we should look for it.
[00:09:22] Brandi Clark Burton of EcoNetworking: Well, you raised a good point. The more it’s in people’s faces as an option. I think, I think in general, people are not trying to be bad, you know, like it’s not my goal in life to be a bad, impactful, harmful person. but a lot of the things we do are sort of naturally that way.
So if you give people the sorta like, make it right, right on the spot, another thing that rare is working on, and I didn’t get through the, a through G is this, uh, credit card, offset thing so that when you get your credit card bill, they have a way of estimating the approximate carbon that would be associated with the types of activities and purchases you made and S and say, you can offset your bill right here.
And like, when you pay your credit card, just. You know, the carbon offset for that. So if it’s not live everywhere now it’s in beta, I think. but that that’s coming. I think, you know, the more we give people the opportunity to kind of do the right thing, the better. Um, but the, the other, you know, the other pieces of their, a through G is, choose green energy.
maybe getting my alphabet a little bit off, but, oh, no, it was contract for green energy. That’s what it is. So if you’re a household, you know, like in the city of Austin, you could choose green choice, or the, community solar program in places that have competitive markets, you just have to find out which of the providers are offering a green choice option and then choose it.
you could also, if you own your own home or office building, Put solar on it or contract with somebody else’s doing solar and kind of basically buy an offset. But in that way, there’s a lot of creative ways. If you are committed to reducing your carbon footprint, it’s not that hard really. and then, E have your next vehicle be an electric vehicle Well, you guys travel electric too.
You know, the experience of it is so much better to me it’s so fast and so quiet and it’s so smooth. I mean, for all the reasons that I’ve just quality of driving, it’s a great experience. And then on top of it, I’m not putting money into, you know, the fossil fuel industry, which is part of why we’re, there’s a war going on in Europe.
And why, you know, we invest so much in protecting our interest in, the middle east and other places like, wow, we could, we could be energy independent and see, you know, you can be really on conservative or liberal side, but like we can all come together and say, wouldn’t it be great if we didn’t have to depend on fossil fuels, to, you know, to move ourselves around and to get things done.
Cause we have, we have alternatives and we’re just building up the infrastructure.
[00:11:48] Mason: Yeah. And the infrastructure needs to be there in order for it to really succeed. I feel like it’s always, there needs to be said. What’s your answer to the people who out there who still think that somehow the batteries and electric cars are worse for the environment than gas vehicles.
Do you have a succinct answer or do you even have to, you might not have to answer that question much anymore.
[00:12:17] Brandi Clark Burton of EcoNetworking: I haven’t, that’s not one of the areas I’ve dug in deep on. Um, but I would say that owning a vehicle, electric field, that there’s so many fewer parts in the vehicle itself, there’s fewer things that break down.
So the maintenance cost is less, there’s less material in the vehicle overall. It is, there’s less sort of embodied energy and stuff. The battery itself is a challenge and they’re innovating battery technologies all the time. Can I go to last longer to hold more capacity? And I, I got to believe that the, the material innovation is also going to come along as well, so that, the chemicals in there, I mean, they need to be recovered and recycled or disposed of properly.
That is super important. And I think that, to be truly green, I mean, you’ve got to think of the whole life cycle of a product and that’s what you’re pointing at. but you know, w whether it’s solar, again,
[00:13:10] Mason: I can help you out the answer that I’ve, did I came to cause even it was way back in the Greenland days when I really dug in and that arguing.
Is based on the battery life being four to six years, it was what they put in their calculation. And even the, there were 2001 was the first Prius plug-in hybrid and the average battery life on those ended up being 10 to 15 years. And so their calculations were off from the get-go,
[00:13:38] Jess: their. Study or group that came out with
[00:13:41] Mason: this.
Yeah. And then, but it’s been repeated in the anti environmentalist world ever since. Literally ever since for 15 years, people have been like, all the batteries are, are worse for the environment.
[00:13:55] Jess: The disposal of them and the chemicals that are used to make them well, they tried
[00:13:58] Mason: to do, they tried to do a life cycle.
They did a life cycle analysis, comparing the electric vehicle with a gas vehicle, but they made all these assumptions about the life of the electric vehicle that turned out to be wrong, but you couldn’t necessarily prove him wrong because they hadn’t been out that long. and so now they’re wrong and it’s very easy to point to how wrong they are.
And the life cycle of a, of an electric car is dramatically cheaper and better than, than a gas car. but it’s still quoted out there. So I feel like I still want to, I still have to pay homage to,
[00:14:31] Brandi Clark Burton of EcoNetworking: I haven’t spent a lot of time on it, I guess, because I didn’t really have a perception that they were worse, but
[00:14:36] Mason: well, and I guess people on monitor kind of.
I I’m members of like Joe Biden is not my president and like all these groups. Cause I love
[00:14:45] Jess: to, he likes hearing the other side and seeing how crazy people get and appreciate
[00:14:49] Brandi Clark Burton of EcoNetworking: that. I don’t spend my time doing that.
[00:14:53] Jess: Um, Mason’s not a troll on the internet by any means, but he loves to like create what he would say in his head to people.
He doesn’t post them, but he’s like, oh my gosh, this person said this. I wish I could have said that. I’m like, don’t do it. He was like, I’m not going to go.
[00:15:07] Mason: I know there’s no value. There’s no value in engagement, but it does help me formulate my answers, these questions. Cause occasionally you get them in person.
And so when I get them in person, I’m like, yeah, that, that sounds like you’ve been watching Fox news in the last week and right.
[00:15:24] Brandi Clark Burton of EcoNetworking: Well, I like to point to the Yale study. It’s like a behavior study or you know, perceptions and you can pull it up and just say yell, climate change. perceptions that over time.
The number of people who are alarmed, which is you believe climate change is real and you’re taking action. There’s concern is you believe climate change is real, but you may not necessarily be an action. And then there’s like, there’s all these buckets. And basically if you add up the people who believe it’s real and are doing something it’s like already well over half the country.
And if you, you know, include that sort of next, like the could be, you know, believe it could be real that, you know, they’re not like there’s only like, I don’t know, seven or 8% that are like truly anti they’re going to argue everything the opposite. And no, everything’s fine. And you’re crazy. And I’m like, we just don’t have to talk to them.
Right. There’s there’s so few they’re loud and annoying, but it’s not, we don’t have to have. Like you don’t have to convince them to win 93% of the country. Right. Even a majority would be amazing if we had people like committedly taking action regularly.
[00:16:35] Mason: Yeah. , you know, we started talking about earth day and I feel like a lot of conversations about the environment, climate change ends up kind of dominating the conversation.
Do you think is earth day about climate change or
[00:16:49] Brandi Clark Burton of EcoNetworking: no earth day was originally about all kinds of environmental, awareness and action and, and getting people politically engaged and understanding that we needed to shift things. So, you know, the, when clean water act passed and clean air act, you know, those were passed under Republicans and that’s where it started.
I would say that the focus right now is more on climate because it is the dominant. Problem. It is not the only one by any means, but if, if the climate doesn’t work, none of the other things get to be an ops problem because we don’t have a sustainable biosphere to live in. you know, I would say that, biodiversity as a massive, crisis, uh, we’re in the middle of the sixth extinction and extinction mass extinction, it’s human caused, as opposed to a meteor or, okay.
No, or some other thing, uh, we’re causing it. I would say that air pollution is at the UN, epidemic. I looked it up just before I came here. 7 million people a year die from air pollution, from air pollution related causes. Do you know how many people have had, COVID not even 7 million yet in the years that’s been going on and that’s not how many people have died.
An a hundred thousand. Yeah. Wow. And, and yet the whole world shut. I said, we’re going to do business differently. We’re going to like be super careful and change all these different things because of something that is a fraction of the impact of air pollution. I mean, it just boggles my mind that this is not on everyone, the tip of everyone’s tongue.
And so, you know, is air pollution the most important problem? Well, air pollution is related to the same thing that’s causing climate change. If fossil fuels were not being burned and put, you know, we weren’t taking this stored energy and it’s great. It’s very dense, available, portable, all the good things you can say about it.
but it’s been underground for a really long time and we’re bringing it up and putting it in our atmosphere. And I like to give people the analogy of an apple, if our earth was the size of an apple, the atmosphere is the thickness of the skin of an apple. It is, it is that thing. Well, there’s not you know, the, the solution, the solution to pollution is dilution.
I was like, no, it’s actually all staying here. Is that, is that a complete falsehood? And even more stark. I don’t know if you’ve seen the image. If you Google like, image of all the earth, all the water on earth. It do right now. I, you, you won’t believe it. If you have you seen this? No, I haven’t.
There’s a picture of the globe and they, and a small blue dot that on the, on the globe, the map, it’s not even the size of the United States. That’s all the water on earth, the sea, the salt, the salt water, and then the fresh water, those dots there.
[00:19:39] Jess: I don’t quite understand what it’s showing us like if it was, if
[00:19:42] Brandi Clark Burton of EcoNetworking: you took all the water on earth and put it in the sphere instead of spread over the ocean.
Gotcha. It would only be a sphere that size
[00:19:52] Mason: and we’ll put this in the show notes, we’ll show the
[00:19:54] Brandi Clark Burton of EcoNetworking: right. I mean, when I first saw that I could barely speak, I was like, are you kidding me? And, and yet we, we act like the oceans are this endless dumping ground. And of course we’re realizing that that’s not true full of plastic and trash, and we’ve got to clean it up.
And thankfully, a lot of people are taking that seriously, but that’s, that’s what we’re stewarding. Is that much water it’s, it’s really not that much. The atmosphere there’s really not that much. Every chemical, every thing, every product we create, it’s here on earth with us. We live in a rock floating in space and everything we create, we have to deal with because there is no away when we say we throw something away, there is no away it’s ours to deal with.
So getting that in people’s heads that Being very conscious of what you’re bringing into your life and what you’re sending away from your life. Even if there is no actual way, you’re like, you’re, you’re deciding I’m not dealing with this anymore. Somebody else should deal with it. It’s well, let’s have less to deal with.
You know, that is step number one is cut down on consumption. because there’s many things that we’re buying that give us the service of what we want, but there’s other ways to accomplish that joy, that experience, that service, that sort of thing. I could talk on forever about purchasing, purchasing decisions, but basically when you, you want something, ask yourself, Hey, do I really need this?
If you do, you know, could I got this by, um, borrowing it or renting it or, you know, sharing it with someone else or buying it and reselling it or, you know, that sort of thing. Or if I have to buy it, can I buy it? Could I, you know, could I get it from some network of sharing or lending or that sort of thing or rental so many
[00:21:36] Jess: questions you can ask yourself to help cut back on your spending habits or your consumption
[00:21:41] Mason: of, are there good apps at this point for swap meets?
Like if we wanted to organize one for the street and just say, bring stuff you don’t need anymore and see if other people, I guess, for
[00:21:50] Jess: our street, I mean, we’ve got an email list so we could organize one. Versus an app. I don’t know. I’m sure. I mean, there’s apps where you can buy and sell things and resell and
[00:21:59] Brandi Clark Burton of EcoNetworking: purchase, but to buy and sell things these days.
Yeah. And I have to say, I am total addict of our local buy nothing group. Have you heard of buy nothing? Um, yes. Yes. It start one for your, for your neighborhood. Cause I mean, everything is within they, they very specifically you join the one near your, where you live or is it just each one is a Facebook group for a particular geography.
And so you only say you’re asking for something or offering something and you just, you know, say what it is I’m looking for this, or I’m giving away this, you put post a picture and description and you could say what the terms of it are.
And it just, it was so it builds community while sharing stuff. Nice.
[00:22:43] Jess: Wonderful. We’ll definitely look that up. Yeah. Yeah. I feel like I’ve seen one for selling items, but I I’ll need to look for the free one. Yeah. That one’s better. Oh, buy nothing group.
[00:22:54] Brandi Clark Burton of EcoNetworking: There’s other there’s by nothing. There’s free cycle there’s um, rooster, I mean, just in Austin.
Um, and some of those are national and then Craigslist free is always a good way to get people to come
[00:23:06] Mason: take your stuff. So we get rid of stuff.
[00:23:09] Brandi Clark Burton of EcoNetworking: Um, but when you want something, I mean, asking for it in one of these Facebook groups or one of the. Neighborhood listservs or next door or things
[00:23:17] Mason: like that that . Um, one of the coolest things that I have learned from you was this concept of, if people want to do things in influence the world around them, there are spheres of influence.
So can you talk a little bit about those?
[00:23:32] Brandi Clark Burton of EcoNetworking: Yeah. It’s been a minute since I’ve thought about those, those four levels, but it’s like the level one is, and this comes from. Like I hit, did research that was shared through, the Pachamama Alliance. I wish I could give credit to his name specifically, but sphere one is, what you do yourself, like what you consume, eat, drive, buy all that kind of stuff.
Level two is your friends, family, you know, people, you have very close, direct relationships with even coworkers, people you see regularly have some level of affinity with, and some level of influence with, hopefully you could impact Nick by sharing something. They might, you know, be willing to take action.
level three is at the level of your local government, your, um, workplace, your kid’s school, any place where you could get in touch with the leadership within a week or two, talk to someone who’s a decision. Someone who’s a decision maker and. Potentially influence the local policies or how things go.
And level four is more like state and federal policy and like changing the whole system and the game, that sort of thing. So many environmentalists have focused on level four. And level one, but kind of skipped over those level two and three. Like how do you talk to your neighbors and your coworkers about stuff?
How could we get a policy in place at our workplace or our children’s school that would reduce the level of, you know, food waste of, the increase, the level of reusing things. There’s so many things thrown out at the end of a school year from, from elementary schools all the way up through colleges.
And luckily on a lot of college campuses, they’re now doing these end of year sweeps and picking up furniture and they have a re arrangement with some storage units where they can like store things over the summer and then have a, really reasonably priced, you know, sale, uh, at back to school time when all that stuff goes back into circulation, instead of literally into dumpsters, like people will throw perfectly good furniture, clothes, all kinds of stuff in dumpsters at the end of the school year.
I’m like, wow, people could use that. No,
[00:25:29] Jess: I guess they’re just, they’re getting out in a hurry or something from dorm rooms or apartments or. I dunno, it may be, you know,
[00:25:36] Brandi Clark Burton of EcoNetworking: psychology of getting rid of things is very strange, but people think I’m strange, you know, like that. I am willing to reuse things and buy secondhand and share things.
[00:25:45] Jess: I can say I’ve seen a lot of couches by dumpsters in west campus. I’m going to school. I just feel like everybody would toss their stuff out when they didn’t want it or needed a new one.
[00:25:55] Mason: Right. I mean, some of those would need to be disinfected pretty heavily. Probably.
I feel like environmental, I should take, lessons from vegans on how to talk to everybody.
There’s some overlap there. It’s a joke. How do you, how can you tell if someone’s vegan? You don’t have to wait. Yeah. Wait, five seconds. They’ll tell you. Which is, I mean, all respect. I think it’s great that they do because that, cause we all need to eat less meat in general. So, but they are very vocal about it, but zero waste and antineoplastic and all these environmental issues that are important as well.
People don’t feel the same comfort level
[00:26:40] Brandi Clark Burton of EcoNetworking: in talking about it. I’m glad you brought that up. Cause my favorite climate educator is Katharine Hayhoe. She is a professor from Texas. Hey ho um, professor from Texas tech, who is now the lead scientist for, I want to say the nature Conservancy she’s super smart, but she’s very good at communication. She comes from an evangelical family and background, and she has figured out how to talk to anyone, anyone, and everyone, regardless of political persuasion, color, background, religion, whatever, in a way that connects with them. And often it, it involves not necessarily saying the word climate, you know, it’s finding out what people care about because no matter like everybody cares about something.
I mean, if you don’t, well, we can’t influence, sorry. You know, everyone cares about something. And so whether you care about your kids, your grandkids, animals, the ability to go hunting, the ability to go skiing, the ability to shop and go on vacation and not have your skin, you know, blistering and, no water available or, you know, rides shut down or whatever, you know, things that are impacted or overhauled places destroyed by storms and, taken out and all kinds of ecological and, damage to buildings and infrastructure and things like that.
That happened from these storms. You know, whatever people care about. There’s a starting point for an opening to well, don’t you want to preserve that? You know, people are more worried about losing something that they have than they are about not getting something they don’t have. So if they feel like they’ve got a quality of life, a future, that they can see that’s in front of them.
If that now seems threatened in some way, They might be willing to do something. so I, I recommend her book called saving us. in it, she gives lots of anecdotes about how to, how she has talked to all these different audiences from rotary clubs, to church groups, to, environmental groups and, politicians and things like that.
And that’s why she’s named one of the top hundred, most influential people for the planet. So, Check out Katharine Hayhoe she’s oh, her, her miss her message is the number one thing that you can do for climate is talk about it. literally it could be, I feel like I should be doing more, but I don’t even know what, I don’t know what I should be doing that in conversation with any other person that’s alive is going to stimulate either.
You know, I I’m concerned too, and I don’t know what to do, but now you you’re, you have a unified. shared concern. Now, when you see an email or an article or something, you can like share it, like, Hey, check this out. You know, you can be in the discovery together. You don’t have to be a college professor expert on climate or whatever, to have a conversation that makes a difference about climate.
You have to get people in the conversation. You know, like it’s going to take everybody doing something and it’s not everybody being perfect. It’s everybody taking some meaningful actions.
And I think the biggest categories, just it to do one thing, you know, switch to green energy. and create more of a demand for green energy. let your politicians know, let everyone know and your providers, energy providers that, you know, you want that choice to have green energy, and then next would be transportation that’s most people’s next biggest, emissions impact.
So back to the rare list F was fly fly one last time. if you’re someone who does business travel and you make like five or more trips a year, see if you could get cut down on one of them, just combine flights or do a virtual meeting, or, do something to cut down on the number of flights, because right now there’s not a great alternative for flying and having it be less impact, I think the Google, flight. Search that I looked at yesterday actually showed which flights had like plus or minus carbon impact. So that’s pretty cool. Yeah, it will share which
[00:30:26] Jess: ones have lower emissions and you can choose that one of course.
[00:30:29] Brandi Clark Burton of EcoNetworking: Right.
[00:30:30] Mason: And Google maps does that too for driving as well, which it will always show my route. It’ll a little green leaf. It’ll say that it has less emissions and it’s a, it’s a shortest path, which may not be the fastest path. Oh, cool. Yeah.
[00:30:44] Brandi Clark Burton of EcoNetworking:
So transportation. Like I said earlier, if you can, own or plan to purchase an electric vehicle, next time you’re going to make a purchase. I’m not saying, go get rid of your car.
Cause that’s not, you know,
[00:30:52] Mason: the most environmentally responsible vehicle is the one you have the one
[00:30:56] Brandi Clark Burton of EcoNetworking: that exists. and you know, when you’re going to replace it, please consider strongly making an electric. Um, but the other thing you can do is, is carpool. Like when, when two people get in a vehicle, uh, it cuts down the traffic and emissions in half.
So an instant, 50% reduction is a win. Yeah, I, I think that social disputation is, is a big area and then consumption of goods and services is like the third big bucket. And you can talk forever about food, food, waste, food choices, things like that. eating lower on the food chain and eating and not wasting food art, two of the top five, items on the draw down list, which, there’s this book website concept it’s called draw down and they have catalog the top hundred strategies for reversing global warming.
And the good news about this is that. If we implement these strategies, which already exist, we’re not waiting for some future panacea. If we implement these at scale, we can not just slow down how fast we’re messing things up on the planet. We can actually reverse global warming. and that is not a message that is in the, common dialogue.
it’s pretty much we’re screwed. Maybe we could slow it down. Maybe we could make it less horrible for us, it’s very fatalistic right now. And, I think that if people come from a totally different place, like this is a winnable game, we just gotta play the game. We know how we need political will that, that comes from individual.
Thinking it’s important, having those conversations, getting engaged with each other, getting their workplaces, their school places, their, you know, all these in motion. When you have that, then you’re going to naturally elect people who represent those values to rep you know, to represent you. Then we get more state and federal laws that reinforce that kind of value.
Um, Never think that you as an individual don’t make a difference cause you absolutely do not only your individual choices, but every conversation you have, the spheres of influence that you impact the, you know, the commitment to living in a better world, carries a lot of weight. People are inspired by that.
And, and you might find people calling you out of the blue and saying, I bought an organic pizza today. That’s awesome. You know, like
[00:33:06] Mason: To finish a thought. I believe that the fatalism of a lot of climate change advocates, take on that attitude is more detrimental to the movement then not even saying anything about it.
[00:33:20] Brandi Clark Burton of EcoNetworking: I’m not one who likes to motivate through doom and gloom. I think, you know that, and I feel like, well, let’s just take the movie an inconvenient truth for a lot of people.
It was the wake-up call that got them to take it seriously and they’re doing stuff now. So for that, thank goodness. Thank you, Al gore. Thanks for doing that. That said the approach they took. Is really not helpful, like painting the gory horrible story and like putting it like in your face and your face and your face and just upsetting people.
I think it shuts people down. I think it like depresses them. I think that makes them tune out and think this is too big. I can’t possibly do anything that would make a difference in the face of that. Like why would I even try? it’s hard, you know, it’s hard to stay motivated when that’s the context. I’ll just say right now, I’m going to go on record. There’s a better way to do everything. And you just got to look for it.
One of the things I want to do is to put together a list of like green or business resources, and I was really happy to listen to your podcasts with, Finch and with Mary field field. There we go. knowing that there’s people doing the analysis that I know needs to happen. I’ve, I’ve wanted there to be like a green consumer reports equivalent for a really long time.
[00:34:34] Mason: Well, I feel like I’ve got one final question.
[00:34:36] Jess: Yeah, I’ve got a question.
Yeah. Okay. Um, to go back how you mentioned, An inconvenient truth. And you thought that that was, it was went too far. Are there any books or movies that you would recommend for people? My question, my original question was to have any emotion about whether it’s like anger or motivation or excitement, but I’ll say not the anger side.
What about being excited or motivated for the cause?
[00:34:59] Brandi Clark Burton of EcoNetworking: I have watched a lot of documentaries that I’ve really enjoyed, and felt motivated by, I can’t name them off the top of my head. I mean, I remember dive was one that’s about dumpster diving and people living off of food that was being thrown away.
What’s something I saw recently. Oh, game-changers like, it’s talk it’s it’s not an environmental film per se, but they are showing how athletes from all walks of life, including the strongest man in the world, like is vegan. Like you don’t have to eat animal protein or animal products to be strong, to be fast, to be an amazing athlete.
And I think that there’s a real misconception in our culture, which feeds into this whole need for meat and belief that you have to have that in that, that, that eating meat is manly or, you know, is it makes you tough? Like all, all these, this, that movie to me did a great job of dispelling the myths around that and making it not only okay, but like cool to, to choose a plant-based diet.
Um, and I think things like that, that kind of come at it without like trying to beat you over the head with, you’re ruining the earth and you’re, you know, people or animals are suffering and all these things, you know, Show the inspiring side of it, like what’s possible. And the other, like I said, the vision of success, if we do it this other way, what would it look like?
Well, we have people walking that talk right now and showing us how to, how we can do it. So that’s a good one. I think some of them that are a little on the edge of, of, of scary, like chasing ice and chasing coral, are important. I think that if you don’t have any connection to what’s happening on the parts of the globe, that we, that you don’t live in, the underwater, the, the, at the polls, that sort of thing.
If you, if you don’t know what’s going on and you have no connection, I, I, it’s easy to think that everything’s okay. You know, it’s, it’s easy to be in this illusion that like, I’ve got my ear pause and I’m like, listen to my music. I’m doing my work and I’m working out and I’m eating my food and I’m, you know, I’m throwing my stuff in the recycling.
Like, you can just be in this little bubble where it seems like everything’s okay. But it’s really not like on the planet. There are whole systems that are in crisis and, um, yeah,
[00:37:04] Mason: it’s called the illusion of normalcy. That phrase repeats in my head a lot.
[00:37:10] Brandi Clark Burton of EcoNetworking: I think that’s it like that people feel like as long as I can keep doing my business, the way I’ve done it in the past, that sort of thing, I don’t need to change, or things don’t need to change.
And, you know, it all comes from asking questions of ourselves asking ourselves, and then asking others, like asking politicians, asking people at your school, could we do this differently? Could we do this differently? And eventually I’m going to write a book. It’ll probably be called asking for the world you want, but it’s, that idea of it’s in conversation with other people that anything can change.
You know, it, you can make a decision yourself, but it’s not until you get in communication that they know you have a different idea that there’s some possibility painted in, in verbal form of what could be different. And then we look up options and then we take action and then we have results. And none of that happens unless you start the conversation.
[00:38:04] Mason: Thanks so much for being on. And we will, of course, have you on multiple times, there’s a lot of topics we can dig into with
[00:38:10] Brandi Clark Burton of EcoNetworking: you.
Definitely. Thank you. I appreciate the opportunity. I love what you’re doing with the podcast and, and the conversations that you’re having are already making a difference. And I hope that I will share them and make sure that other people hear them. Oh
[00:38:24] Jess: yes.
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