Episode 3: Did She Really Just Ask That? Boston Green Tourism Director, Dan Ruben Reveals the Secret of His Eco-Philosophy to Meredith Medland

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Meredith Medland, Founder, 3outcomes.com, challenges Dan Ruben create three outcomes in the next three months by him in the “hotseat” as she probes more deeply into his viewpoints and asks the politically incorrect questions which you’ll be excited to hear. This is a “get to the point” interview filled with exploration, tools and tips, laughter and sensitivity to a man who is walking the walking in the green movement. In this episode, you’ll learn how Dan’s personal practices influence his business life, why 25 EcoTeams have been inspired through Global Action Plan's Household EcoTeam Program, how Kundalini yoga and organic gardening contribute to Dan’s definition of “Living Green.” Highlights include an a provocative conversation about Dan’s call for an urgent shift in attitudes and behaviors of all people to address global warming, detailed information about your his eco-savvy persuasion skills can move mountains along with an action packed and quick moving dialogue about the Coalition for Environmentally Responsible Conventions, an organization that promoted, implemented and publicized environmental best practices at the 2004 Democratic and Republican National Conventions. If you’re a trend setter in the green movement, this is an interview you will want to listen to the whole way through!


Did She Really Just Ask That? Boston Green Tourism Director Dan Ruben Reveals the Secret of His Eco-Philosophy

Meredith Medland:  Welcome to LivingGreen, I’m your host Meredith Medland.  Today on our show is Dan Ruben.  Dan is the executive director of Boston Green Tourism, which is a catalyst for expanding the use of environmentally friendly practices for a major metropolitan area.

Dan Ruben:  If one poo poos global warming and says that our nation and our world should not address global warming, then one is putting all of their marbles on the notion that the National Academy of Sciences is wrong, that every Nobel Prize winner that has weighed in on the subject is wrong, that every equivalent, in every nation of our own National Academy of Sciences is wrong.  That’s a pretty risky bet to take.

Meredith Medland:  It is, and what about for the people who are in their twenties, thirties, forties that have very much of a consumer based ‘Who cares!  Like its just too much trouble’, and what do you think its going to take to shift that behavior?  So I love what you just shared, that was very unique, so what I heard you say, in my own special way, is that when you put your energy and your intention on serving and caring for the environment by living substantially and putting into place LivingGreen practices, that the actual act of doing that, freed up additional energy for you to take on projects that were in your passion zone and kept you alive and increased your creativity.

Dan Ruben:  I think that’s right.  You know, I think it’s essential to put your own house in order first, and by doing that it gives you the standing and understanding to be able to change the world.

Start of the show:

Meredith Medland:  Now, this show is about gardens, pigs, leftovers and kundaliniyoga, what fun.  Today, you are going to learn about how Dan has coached more then twenty five eco teams through Global Actions Plans Household Eco Team program.  You’ll learn how he started a campaign to get his hometown of Newton, Massachusetts to perform energy efficient retrofits on eight five buildings and, if that’s not enough, you’ll learn how in his daily practices, such as kundaliniyoga and organic gardening, contribute to his definition of LivingGreen.  Welcome Dan, thanks for coming on the show!

Dan Ruben:   Thank you Meredith, any time we can talk about getting my hands dirty is exciting to me.

Meredith Medland:  Oh, I’m looking forward to getting in the dirt with you.  For those of you who don’t know Dan, Dan was also the executive director of The Coalition for Environmentally Responsible Conventions.  This was an organization that promoted, implemented and then publicized Environmental Best Practices at the 2004 Democratic and Republican National Convention, and, he’s currently the vice president of The Green Decade Coalition located in Newton, Massachusetts.  It’s a grass roots, volunteer, environmental, non-profit which works with households, businesses, schools and institutions in Newton and elsewhere to implement measurable improvements in the way we use our resources.  Dan, this is a lot.  Now, you started a campaign to get your hometown, which is a population of about eighty thousand people, that’s Newton, Massachusetts, to perform energy efficient retrofits on eighty five buildings.  This campaign was successful and the city is about to invite bids on this twelve million dollar project.  So first what are energy efficient, energy efficiency retrofits?

Dan Ruben:  Well, Newton has, as you mentioned, about eighty five buildings and most of them are energy hogs.  Most of them use a great deal of energy and yet, at the same time, the buildings are very uncomfortable.  You could be boiling hot in one part of the building and go to the other part of the building and be freezing cold.  So, energy efficiency retrofits reduce energy use in the buildings and they increase comfort for, for the staff, for the school children that reside in them.

Meredith Medland:  And why is this important?

Dan Ruben:  Well, it’s important because energy use is tied to global warming, when we burn fossil fuel for energy, we contribute to global warming and that’s the greatest problem that our world faces today.

Meredith Medland:  You’re pretty passionate about global warming.

Dan Ruben:  I’m passionate about global warming because, if one’s passionate about anything, it is tied up in our ability to respond to global warming.  Our economy and our well being are tied up in our ability to address global warming because our whole future is threatened.

Meredith Medland:  Now your outlook on the future is pretty intense, you’re in a must act now, change the ship, change the course of direction, it’s hot for you, right?

Dan Ruben:  It’s very hot.

Meredith Medland:  Why?

Dan Ruben:  Well, because global warming really undermines our whole underpinnings for society. If we don’t address this issue, we will have a planet with a very different climate.  The earth’s climate, before the last ice age, was for the most part, a hostile climate. We’re now living in an unusual period of climate stability  where human beings went from numbering in the thousands before the last ice age and now we number six and a half billion. So we’ve been living in a climate that’s very healthy for human beings, but that’s about to change.  We’re entering an era with droughts and floods and severe hurricanes and other kinds of storms; and an era where with the melting of the glaciers and the polar icecaps, many millions of people are likely to be displaced, because their land will be under water.  With the unraveling of our eco-systems, we’ll see more disease and more pestilence.  And so I think that everything is tied up in our ability to address this urgent problem.

Meredith Medland:  What is it that’s giving you this sense of urgency, what facts or figures, or when did you start realizing, believing and sensing this?

Dan Ruben:  Well, I took an Environmental Studies class in 1975 and the urgency of the problem really sunk in that we’re headed in a very bad direction, that our culture doesn’t really and our world, for the most part, doesn’t really understand our connection with nature and the direction that we’re headed.  And with overpopulation and the inherent expanded use of resources and the cutting down of our forests and the pollution of our rivers and oceans, we’re headed into a very different earth, and the earth that supports us all.  People don’t always realize that it is the earth that supports everything that we do is endangered and global warming is the most urgent manifestation of our ill treatment of the earth.

Meredith Medland:  Now I get quite a lot of listener feedback as well as, I’m definite, I get lots of emails and presentations that are ‘all the reasons why An Inconvenient Truth is inaccurate’ or ‘all the reasons why it is’ or the Ted Talks Technology Entertainment and Design, there are talks on the web and they reference why global warming and taking care of the environment is actually not a number one need and so, is there anything that you can share with our listeners other then, kind of, the information that they would find in the newspaper or, anything in your personal experience that actually might motivate them to keep the world clean?

Dan Ruben:  If one poo poos global warming and says that our nation and our world should not address global warming, then one is putting all of their marbles on the notion that the National Academy of Sciences is wrong, that every Nobel Prize winner that has weighed in on the subject is wrong, that every equivalent, in every nation of our own National Academy of Sciences is wrong.  That’s a pretty risky bet to take.

(Cross talk)

Meredith Medland:  It is, and what about for the people who are in their twenties, thirties, forties that have very much of a consumer based ‘Who cares!  Like its just too much trouble’, and what do you think its going to take to shift that behavior? 

Dan Ruben:  Well, it takes takes politicians with courage, it takes leaders with courage on the local level, national level, in the faith community, in really every aspect of our life, to lead the way, to show that these changes could be made in a way that’s fair, and to show that this is a moral question.  We need to look at morality differently and how we impact the earth needs to be a central part of our morality.

Meredith Medland:  How does your moral outlook inform your life?

Dan Ruben:  Well, I have this lens, by which I look at every action as to how it impacts the planet and our future.  There are days where I wish I could put it off, put it away for a few days, but I just can’t.  So, every time I get in my car, I think about, the damage that I’m causing, every time that I go into a friend’s house and see their practices, I take note of their practices. Every time I go to the grocery store I think about should I buy this apple that’s local or should I go with the organic apple. It’s the lens through which I see the world.

Meredith Medland:  Quite frankly, it sounds exhausting.

Dan Ruben: (laughter) It’s also energizing because, there’s so much waste in our culture, there’s so many bad practices that it’s very exciting to think about how could we change that, how could we turn that around, how we could light a fire under people.  There are times when I get deeply depressed, but I think for the most part that’s is really energizing and exciting. 

Meredith Medland:  Well, I’ll give you a rest there because I do have to say that the energy that you’ve spent in The Global Action Plans Household Eco-Team Program has been quite amazing, I’ve been researching it on the internet and, I mean, you’re definitely a man who’s walking the walk, that’s for sure.  So, I know you love the Amazon and if you’re not sleeping under the stars in Ecuador or Bolivia, I know that you’re persuading some group of people to go eco.  So why don’t we talk a little bit about The Global Action Plans Household Eco-Team Program.  Why do you do it and what is it?

Dan Ruben:  The Eco-Team Program is a training program for people to live a more environmentally responsible life style. There are chapters on reducing home energy consumptions, reducing energy consumption in transportation, reducing garbage, reducing water use, becoming an ecologically wise consumer and empowering others.

Meredith Medland:  And who are some of the people who participate?

Dan Ruben:  You know what, people participate for different reasons.  Some are environmental professionals, some are people who know little about the environment but want to participate on their neighbor’s teams or people that just want to learn how to live a life that has less cost and is more simple and get some tips about how to live life in a different way.

Meredith Medland:  Yeah, now, I’m looking at the low carbon diet and this is something that’s available where you can calculate your calculate your households carbon dioxide emotions, this is something that’s available on the web and if you look at the episode page for this show you can find all the links that we talk about today and you enter your data in and then it translates to your Co2 emotions per year and, I’m wondering, when you’ve been working with these teams and these individuals, how committed are they really to figuring out ‘okay, how many gallons of garbage do I put out each week, what’s my average household kilowatt usage?’ you know ‘how many thermos of natural gas do I use per year?’.  There’s an element to all of this eco stuff that is so beautiful and is also like ‘good God!’ it’s exhausting.  It’s just, I mean isn’t it enough to just eat well and tell the truth and find your passion and do what you do?

Dan Ruben:  Well, no, because we need to reexamine the way that we’re living because it has a profound impact on the future. The Low Carbon Diet program  is an off-shoot of the Eco-Team. It’s shorter, quicker and it focuses solely on global warming. It doesn’t focus on things like toxics.  It could be done by individuals and well as teams, and it could be accomplished pretty easily. It involves looking at your energy bill for the last twelve months, weighing your garbage.  I think if you don’t measure what you’re doing, you’re less likely to do it.  There’s an old management axiom, what gets measured gets done.

Meredith Medland:  So how did being on this team really change your life?  I mean, you coached the teams but you were also on the teams, so what was the benefit?

Dan Ruben:  Well, the benefit first was changing my own life. I’ve reduced my electricity use by 37%, I’ve reduced my heating oil use by 40% and my gasoline use by over 70%. By doing that, first I developed the standing to be able to suggest to others that they change. I believe that if you don’t change your own life, who are you to say to somebody else that they should change theirs. Second, it gave me the understanding, because the changes that I made in my own life, , by making changes in my home and my transportation, I was able to learn much of what needed to be done to green the Democratic National Convention.

Meredith Medland:  Hmmm.

Dan Ruben:  It’s the building blocks that allow people to figure out how to change their communities, their cities, their churches or temples, their schools. It’s all the same stuff: reducing energy use, reducing garbage, reducing water.

Meredith Medland:  So I love what you just shared, that was very unique, so what I heard you say, in my own special way, is that when you put your energy and your intention on serving and caring for the environment by living substantially and putting into place LivingGreen practices, that the actual act of doing that, freed up additional energy for you to take on projects that were in your passion zone and kept you alive and increased your creativity.

Dan Ruben:  I think that’s right.  You know, I think it’s essential to put your own house in order first, and by doing that it gives you the standing and understanding to be able to change the world.

Meredith Medland:  Alright, well, I can sign on to that, I like that.  We’re gonna take a short break to thank our sponsors.  This is Meredith Medland, your host of LivingGreen and I’m with Dan Ruben who’s the executive director of The Boston Green Tourism.  When we come back, we’ll learn about Dan’s LivingGreen practices, in particular, the value of his almost daily kundaliniyoga practice and what types of food he grows in his organic garden, so stay tuned, we’ll be back right after this.

(Commercial Break)

Meredith Medland:  We’re back and I’m Meredith Medland, your host of LivingGreen and we’re talking to Dan Ruben, the executive director of Boston Green Tourism, and we’re about to learn about what it means to be living green.  Dan, let’s talk about your daily LivingGreen practices, growing your own food and your yoga practice.  First, you practice kundaliniyoga almost every day.  Where do you practice and what does this do for you?

Dan Ruben:  Well I practice in my living room every day and I go to class once a week in Cambridge, Massachusetts.  And what does it do for me?  Kundalini yoga cleans your windshield, it allows me to get out of my own repetitive thoughts and see the world more clearly, see the world through my own senses and become more balanced and composed.  I have a long way to go, but it definitely helps me out.

Meredith Medland:  Now when you see the world more clearly, what do you see?

Dan Ruben:  Well, you know I could, I see the expressions on people’s faces, I see the animals in the neighborhood, I see the beauty of the sky or the beauty of buildings, where as if I don’t do it or sometimes before I’ve done it, I just walk right past them and I’m lost in my own thoughts.

Meredith Medland:  You’ve been practicing for about fifteen years, right?

Dan Ruben:  That’s right.

Meredith Medland:  Is that, so this is, your dedicated to your practice, this is a daily practice for you?

Dan Ruben:  It’s a daily practice, yeah; it’s an important part of my life.

Meredith Medland:  And so how does that relate to your relationship with the environment?

Dan Ruben:  Well, it relates in that it helps me experience the environment.  That I, you know, if I’m sitting in the woods and I’m thinking about my own issues, then I’m not really experiencing it.  I’ve also learned that when one’s in the woods, it’s really important to be still and, if my mind is chattering or if I’m fidgeting, then I’m not still and the animals stay away and I’m not experiencing, you know, the, the robin in front of me in quite the full and wholesome way that I could be if I’m clear and composed.

Meredith Medland:  That stillness that your speaking about, in every interview on LivingGreen, each person that I’ve spoken to has mentioned that one of their peek experiences is listening while their in nature and doing something that’s inside their body, some sort of practice that, that continues and ends in stillness.

Dan Ruben:  Yeah, I think the world unfolds if your still.  If your moving through it and you’re very active, you’re not really seeing the world or seeing the expressions on your family’s faces if your lost in your own head and lost in your own thoughts.

Meredith Medland:  Tell us about your family and a few favorite expressions.  Give us a sample of what’s happening there.

Dan Ruben:  Well, as an adult I’m single and I have parents living in Cleveland, Ohio and a, a brother and his family in Wilmington, Delaware and, and a sister-in-law that lives in Saint Louis and , they don’t fully understand what I do but I think they really appreciate it.

Meredith Medland:  Hmmm.  Now you also have…


Dan Ruben:  I’m the green person in the family; I’ve broken the paradigm, uh, somewhat.

Meredith Medland:  Indeed you have, you’ve broken the family in your community, you’ve just, tell us about the condo association, you’ve just put compost bins in as well as gotten everybody to, uh, go a little eco inside your own living environment, tell us about that.

Dan Ruben:  Well, I wouldn’t count it as one of my great successes.  It took me a year and a half, but I was able to, finally persuade my condo community to allow composting and two of our six households now compost their food waste and, through a five year struggle, I got us to start adopting organic landscaping and to stop using pesticides in and around the community.

Meredith Medland:  And you also have an organic garden, right?

Dan Ruben:  That’s right.

Meredith Medland:  Is that right near your home?

Dan Ruben:  Oh yeah, yeah, it’s right on the grounds of the, of the condo association.

Meredith Medland:  What kind of food do you grow?

Dan Ruben:  Oh, I grow a tremendous amount of food, uh, I grow those things that tend to work and not use too much space.  So I grow lots of, uh,

Meredith Medland:  Like what?

Dan Ruben: ...lot’s of greens like baby back choy and Swiss chard and collard greens.  I grow tomatoes and beats, carrots. I grow, uh, garlic and basil, which I make into pesto, tomatoes and about five or six other things.

Meredith Medland:  So, gardening is fun.  I get this image of actually being on my knees doing some organic gardening at a girlfriends house and thinking, having my hands in the dirty soil as one of the greatest things on the whole planet, I mean, geez, nothing can be wrong when you got a earth worm running out of the soil and, and communing with you.  What are some of the other practices that you do that are examples of living green?

Dan Ruben:  Well, a lot of it is. I get excited about making changes in my daily life and I sort of plan for those changes that I can’t do right away, I plan out how I will do them later.  So, for example, my next car I expect will be a plug-in hybrid car that will get about a hundred miles to the gallon.  I’m constantly thinking about how could I reduce my energy use, how could I get toxins out of my life, how could I eat in a healthier way.

Meredith Medland:  Hmmm, now, I gotta ask this question.  So where, where are you not doing such a good job?  Where would we zing ya, if we were looking?

Dan Ruben:  Well, I still drive too much; I drive about ten thousand miles a year.  My family lives all over the country and so I have to go to family outings and weddings.  I find myself flying much more then I would like. I’ve really cut down on my flights for vacations. I haven’t been to the Amazon in a long time. But I still do fly too much and I will be off-setting the carbons from those plane flights, but still, that’s one of the areas that I need to do better in.

Meredith Medland:  Our opening guest to LivingGreen, Rowan Gabriel, who’s one of the founders of earth TV, as well as the founder of Organic Leather, she’s big into eco-fashion, mentioned the same thing.  Her concern was around the amount of traveling that she was doing and how that was affecting the whole environment.  How do you think that’s gonna affect us going forward in the future?

Dan Ruben:  Plane flights put out a tremendous amount of greenhouse gases; it takes a tremendous amount of fuel to fly a plane across the country, let alone across the world.  We’re accustomed to cheap energy prices, we set our lives up in a way that uses lots of energy and creates a lot of green house gas pollution and so it’s very hard to reorient ourselves to a life style where we use less.  There are many things that are fairly easy to do.  But one of the things that’s hard to do is we’ve created the necessity to travel far to see family and friends.

Meredith Medland:  It’s gonna be interesting to see what happens with families and business and traveling, so we’ll keep asking that question and learning what people are doing around that.  Right now we’re going to take a short break to thank our sponsors.  This in Meredith Medland, your host of LivingGreen and I’m with Dan Ruben, the executive director of Boston Green Tourism.  When we come back from the break, we’re going to learn about one of your current projects, The Newton Green Decade Coalition and also we’re gonna ask you some fun topics, getting a sense of what’s the next three months ahead.  So stay tuned, we’ll be back right after this.

(Commercial Break)

Meredith Medland:  Welcome back from the break, this is Meredith Medland, your host of LivingGreen and I’m with Dan Ruben, the executive director of Boston Green Tourism.  Before the break we were talking about what you do on a daily basis to contribute to the health of your own being, your family, your community, as well as the planet.  Now, let’s talk about one of your current projects, The Newton Green Decade Coalition, what is it?

Dan Ruben:  The Green Decade Coalition is a coalition of environmental activists in Newton that work on issues like reducing energy use in buildings, reducing energy use in transportation, we have a high performance building coalition. We also work on reducing toxins in and around Newton, including pesticides.

Meredith Medland:  And, there’s something that you actually did locally, I just gotta make sure that I’m asking this that had something to do something with a local pig farmer.  Tell me about that and how does that wrap into this?

Dan Ruben:  I go to a camp every summer Poland Springs, Main that’s called Dance New England Summer Camp. We have about four hundred people living there at any given time for eleven days. I’m the head of the Environment Committee. We have a lot of food waste. Our biggest waste products are cardboard and food and so I figured out what we could do with the food waste.  I found a local pig farmer that would pick it up and he and he comes every day and picks up our food waste for his pigs.

Meredith Medland:  (laughter) Leftovers, pigs, gardens, kundalini, I told our listeners we’d be talking about all of this.  You’ve got a lot of plans, a lot of great projects going on.  One of the things I researched about you was an experience that you had with a man named Tom Brown, he was interviewed on the CBS Early Morning show and he’s an outdoor advocate and an explorer, but tell us about Tom and your experiences with him before we go.

Dan Ruben:  Tom Brown has dedicated his life to keeping the old ways alive--the old ways that were most prominently practiced by Native Americans of this country and by all of our ancestors. He teaches skills of animal tracking, of wilderness awareness and appreciation.

Meredith Medland:  Do you know his email address right off the top of your head?

Dan Ruben:  I don’t, but if you Google Tom Brown and tracking, you’d find it easily.

Meredith Medland:  Excellent.  So listeners, you can learn more about Tom Brown by going to Google, typing in his name, searching on him.  I highly recommend it, I thought it was awesome when I saw what he was up to and I have a sense that, in the future, we’re gonna see a lot more leaders who are taking regular day, working bee type people out into the environment and getting them reengaged.  So, let’s talk more about how your gonna be engaging with the environment in the next three months.

Dan Ruben:  Well, most important is my work with Boston Green Tourism, I’m the executive director.  Greater Boston has transformed itself in the last twenty years. We now have a clean harbor, and whales in our harbor.  We have a beautiful city park system, a clean Charles River and we’re really a clean, green, beautiful city. Boston Green Tourism is working to green the visitor industry to go along with that so that we will be most attractive to tourists and the meetings industry.  So we are now up to about twenty green certified hotels, we’ll soon have about thirteen green certified restaurants and convention centers.  Out three biggest convention centers have all put in wonderful recycling programs and they’ve done some energy efficiency projects as well.  So what I’m excited about in the next three months is to begin to market Boston. I’m working with the Convention & Visitors Bureau and visitor industry leaders in Boston to begin marketing Boston as a green destination and in doing that, we’ll get more components of the visitor industry, more business leaders to jump on board to say ‘yes, I want to be a part of that too.’

Meredith Medland:  Yes, I want to be a part of that too.  Listeners, if you want to reach Dan Ruben, you can do that at [email protected], you can also visit www.bostongreentourism.org, if you have any questions, your welcome to email me, and that’s [email protected] , personallifemedia.com and double check that you’ve got two L’s in there.  If you have any burning questions or guests that you’re dying to hear from, please let me know.  We’re almost out of time, we’re gonna take a short break, when we come back, we’re gonna hear about Dan and what it means to be living a legacy.  We’re gonna take a moment here to thank our sponsors and we’ll be back right after this.

(Commercial Break)

Meredith Medland:  Welcome back from the break, my name is Meredith Medland, I’m your host of LivingGreen and we’re right in the middle of talking to Dan Ruben about his legacy and what’s happening moving forward.  Dan, you’ve already made a significant contribution to the world with the Coalition for Environmentally responsible Conventions by bringing environmentalism to the 2004 Democratic and Republican National Convention.  That’s a huge, huge contribution.  I’d like to know a little bit more about what CERC is accomplishing, but then also I’d like to look forward and talk about your own legacy.

Dan Ruben:  Well CERC happened when Boston’s Mayor Menino announced that the Democratic Convention was coming to Boston, and a bunch of environmentalists met and decided this is a wonderful opportunity to put our values on display before the world We accomplished great things: the convention was powered by renewable energy, we used carbon off-sets to off-set the greenhouse gas emissions from fifty thousand people flying to Boston for the convention.  We took all of the Kerry for President posters and recycled them into the commemorative posters that people took away from the convention. And at the convention center, which is a basketball arena, it took 116 tons of material to convert it from a basketball arena into television studio for the Democratic Convention and back and we had 102 of those 116 tons either reused in other Boston area buildings or recycled. Those were just some of the many projects we did at the convention.  More importantly, we were in the media over a hundred times, locally, nationally and internationally, showing the benefits of the environmental best practices that were employed at the convention.

Meredith Medland:  So exciting, you’ve contributed so much to helping the whole city of Boston begin to be living green.  I, I thank you for that on behalf of all of our listeners.  As you look forward to the children of today living in the future, what do you see for them?

Dan Ruben:  I see a great challenge on the one hand because, at best, our climate is going to be considerably worse. With all of the major challenges that they have, that my generation hasn’t had to face until now.  I also see a great turning to the environment, to recognizing that we need to change, a great excitement about making those changes and a change in morality, viewing that our care for the earth is a central part of our morality, and hopefully a central part of our religion. I think that’s very exciting.  We could only preserve the earth if all facets of society get on board, and by all facets of society turning towards a common goal, I think that there’s great power and excitement in making those changes.

Meredith Medland:  Hmm, mm, indeed there is.  If you had 60 to 90 seconds to motivate and inspire people to just take additional actions today to conserve energy in our environment, what would you say?

Dan Ruben:  I would say, do this for your children, do this for the next generation, do this for everything you care about.  Take a hard look at the trends we are facing, with increasing greenhouse gas concentration, with the changing climate, and don’t run away from that. But face it squarely and then make some changes in your own lives. Figure out how much energy your using in transportation and home and make concrete plans to reduce that.   Have fun in doing it;. Make a game out of it with your family and friends, and then figure out where to take these ideas. Take these ideas to your house of worship, take these ideas to your school, to your business, to your community.  Doing so will be very gratifying. You’ll be doing something that’s very important for the world and for our future.

Meredith Medland:  Hmmm, thank you so much.  My last question here.  If we were able to make a study of your brain, or open up kind of the inner workings of Dan and we were able to see the psychology of your ecology, give us a mental journey of what pieces of your awareness and your consciousness that you would like to transmit and leave as a legacy.

Dan Ruben:  Well, I frequently think of two Native American proverbs that inform my life.  One is a Cree Indian proverb that says ‘Only when the last tree has died, only when the last river has been poisoned, only when the last fish has been eaten, will the white man realize that you can’t eat money.’  I think that’s the negative perception, the one that I hope isn’t true and that I’m working to make sure isn’t true. And that millions of people around the globe are working to make sure that that’s not true.  The other proverb I think about is an Iroquois Proverb that says ‘In our every action, I will consider the next seven generations.’ I think that’s the kind of thinking that we need if we’re going to actually last another seven generations, because our world is imperiled and, but yet if we use that lens in looking at the world then, we can make profound changes and work to assure a much brighter future.

Meredith Medland:  Thank you, thanks for sharing what it means to be living green, we need more people like you on the planet, I feel so grateful that you’ve spent your time with me today, preparing for our interview and that you continue to go out into the world and make such great changes, so thank you so much.  Join us next week on LivingGreen when we’ll be speaking with Alex Steffen of World Changing.  That brings us to the end of our show, thank you for listening.  For text and transcripts of the show and other shows on the Personal Life Media Network, please visit our website as www.personallifemedia.com.  This is your host, Meredith Medland, illuminating the psychology of ecology for you here on LivingGreen.