Saving the Environment with Steven Anderson

June 13, 2017 | | 0 Comments

I am very fortunate to present this podcast with Steven Anderson, founder of Integrated Leadership Systems. ILS helps organizations all over North America improve their leadership and team building to be more effective so they can perform at a higher level, and I know this through my own experience in their program.

This, however, is a podcast about what you can do to help the environment.

Steven’s environmental activism is inspiring. He is an avid bird watcher and has been counting birds to track their migration and population for 20 years.  He works to protect rainforest abroad as well as local wetlands.  He drives a Chevy Volt, composts, and he’s traveled to Washington DC to meet with our congressmen.

For a long time, I’ve been curious about how people get involved in our political discourse — it is a mystery to me.  So it was fun to hear his journey to DC to meet with politicians and what happened when he met with our representatives.

Throughout the podcast, Steven shares a ton of ways that you can make a difference.  I believe understanding is the first step to taking action and taking action is important because it’s not just a beautiful planet, it’s the only one we’ve got.  That, and, as Steven puts it, “The planet doesn’t care if we die.  We’re doing this for ourselves.”

I dream for the day when the environmental stability of our planet is not a potential threat – the more we understand where we can best focus our efforts, the more we can magnify the effect that we have on the world.  I hope you listen and share your own insights in the comments!

Read Full Transcript

[00:00:00] Adam: Welcome to have people helping people, a podcast to share ideas on how to make the world a better place and to inspire you with ideas of how to get involved. We are exploring stories about social change, culture, the environment, and basically people helping people and make awesome stuff happen. I'm very grateful to be talking today with Steven Anderson who found an integrated leadership systems.
[00:00:30] They help organizations and companies all over North America improve their leadership and team building so that the organizations can perform at a higher level. Personally, they coach me to be more effective as I've grown in my own career, and I'm very thankful for that. Now, Steven has a great story, but I'm not going into that today because he also does a lot of awesome stuff to help the environment and easy when he God to the Capitol.
[00:00:54] To discuss issues with our Congressman, and I just want to know more about how this all came about. So, welcome, Steve. Maybe I can do stop. I'm curious like what motivated you to get involved in improving the environment?
[00:01:08] Steve: Well, so I mean, to go all the way back, I, I was raised at a hundred acres and it was.
[00:01:14] A small neighborhood of families with about 38 two creeks and about 30 acres of woods attached to it, and I probably was in the woods as much as I was in my house. I mean, I just loved being out there. I love building a campfire of love. We camped out all the time. We just love, we go up on a Hill and find a vine and cut off the bottom of it and swing out there like Tarzan.
[00:01:37] It was just build tree houses. It was just the place to be, and I just always felt the most alive in the woods. When I got to be 11 years old, I became a scout and really enjoyed that, became an Eagle scout, and just really deepen my love for nature and appreciation for it. And then when I was my early twenties I started, my brother was a birdwatcher and I started birdwatching.
[00:02:04] I was taking a hike with him and he had his binoculars and he started showing me, what's this bring migration started showing me what was. Flying up over the trees that looked like sparrows, but they weren't there. Warblers and I found out there's about 50 species of warblers that winter and South American Nast in Canada, and they come right through here every may.
[00:02:24] And it really affected me. I just looked at binoculars and looked at that warbler through the binoculars, and it changed my life.
[00:02:33] Adam: So you've been
[00:02:34] Steve: birdwatching since 1983 wow. Yeah. So I birded uh. All over the United States, all over North America, Alaska, Newfoundland, Hawaii, all the Caribbean. And then 18 months ago, I went to Tanzania with two of my daughters and one on Safari.
[00:02:53] And once again, that that changed my life as well. So, you know, I've gone from an observer and also someone who is immersed in it to somebody who's pretty concerned about what we as humans are doing to the planet, to our environment. And. And how it impacts not just the creatures that are here on the earth, but us and growing concern that if we don't get this under control, it could be the future of the world may not be what it is now.
[00:03:24] All the way to worst case scenario, bad enough that we won't be able to survive on this planet. And so I don't think a lot of people agree with me, but my feeling is, what if you're wrong? Yeah, and so the downside of taking care of the environment is very small. There's a lot of people say, well, you suffer with the economy, and I disagree.
[00:03:47] I think that if you preserve the environment, it's good for the economy. If you do something in the short run that gives you some profit, but in the long run harms of the home that we live in, that's a bad deal.
[00:04:01] Adam: That planet goes under that. That's kind of a very bad for business.
[00:04:06] Steve: Well, and even short of that.
[00:04:09] So we're in the middle of, there's been five extinctions in the last 400 million years of the Earth's history, and we're in the middle of the sixth one and we are causing it. And biologists estimate that we've already extincted about 25% of the species that were here when we got here 2 million years ago.
[00:04:30] 25% yes. And a lot of those, some of those actually. Isn't recent. It was like mammoths and saber tooth tigers that our ancestors hunted to extinction. I mean, we almost did it to the Buffalo. And so, but more recently, what has happened, as you're aware, Adam, is that, uh, the industrial revolution, I mean, two major things happened in the last two years.
[00:04:54] One was the industrial revolution. We started pumping a lot of CO2 into the air, not just two Oh two. But greenhouse gases, methane and other greenhouse gases. And also the population went from a billion in the year 1800 to watch file, 7.3 5 billion and growing. We have, there's 20,000 more people on the earth every hour.
[00:05:15] And so it's, it's, there's, it's a bit much bigger problem than I think most people realize. And we are, we're extinct thing. The best estimates of a biologist is about a hundred species a day. Are going extinct right now. And a lot of them are invisible to people, but in Vivian's for instance, are under onslaught.
[00:05:36] You may be aware of. And what happens is not only is that just the crime, I mean, you go out and you go to African, you see a lion up closer elephants, both of which are threatened and the rhinoceroses, which are the danger. And giraffes and these, these are miracles of evolution and it's a travesty, but just as importantly, 50% of the medicines that we now use in the world came from nature.
[00:06:04] And how many more solutions are out there that we are unaware of?
[00:06:08] Adam: The rainforests are just abundant solutions Abano
[00:06:11] Steve: with, with all kinds of medicine, all that we may not be aware of. I mean, there are an estimated 15 to 100 million species of. Living things on the earth. So far we've cataloged 2 million of them.
[00:06:26] Oh, wow.
[00:06:26] Adam: So it's not even 10%
[00:06:28] Steve: yeah, I mean, off. Yeah, it's a good gas. 10% we've cataloged. And so we're the act Cades from counting everything. I mean, some of these things are very small bacteria and whatnot, so we may never know what they all are. But to give you an example of what is happening, 40% of what we eat on the surface corn.
[00:06:48] And the very, very narrow strain of genetic material that we're farming every year. And if we had a corn crop failure, that would be very, very interesting to see what would happen to our species. You know, we probably could have a die off, or at least we'd have a very serious situation on our hands. And more recently in the last few years, they found a, a corn species in Mexico.
[00:07:18] There was 25 acres of it left in the world. And interestingly, corn as an annual and this species of corn as a perennial. Huh. So not only do you have genetic diversity there in that plant, but possibly a corn plant that you could plant and not have to replant every year. And so. You know, it was almost lost.
[00:07:39] It was ready to get bulldozed in Mexico. And the biologists got in there and said, Whoa, Whoa, Whoa, wait. We really don't know what this is. Unfortunately, they figured it out and stopped the bulldozers before, but that's a perfect example of what I'm talking about here. This is much more serious than most people realize that, and people are like, well, so you got 10,000 species of AMS this year and 5,000 and a hundred years.
[00:08:02] So what. Well, some of these species, for instance, phytoplankton that's in the ocean are being really reduced in numbers by the acidification of the ocean caused by greenhouse gases. And if we lose that, we lose the base of the pyramid in the ocean where, which is where 80% of life lips and also the microscopic plants that are in the ocean produce about half the oxygen.
[00:08:31] Um, era. So our breathing depends on these species as well. So this is much more serious than I think, and much more personal. I think people are just like, Oh yeah, I don't really care. I don't really need these animals, but, but we are. We are. People always talk about we need to save the planet. We don't need to save the planet.
[00:08:50] We need to save ourselves. The plants while did when we weren't here planted will raise us when we're gone, we need the planet. It doesn't need us. And so we need to develop some level of humility about this and recognize that fact that when you drain the Everglades, you'd kill off myriad species, and you now no longer filter the water going into the ocean.
[00:09:14] And it's, it's harmful to all the animals, of course, but it's also not good for humans.
[00:09:20] Adam: And there's massive dead zones. Yeah. I think caused by the fertilizers that we use for
[00:09:24] Steve: very good, very good. Going down the Mississippi, that's exactly around a lot
[00:09:28] Adam: of different threats that we have to address. And if we don't pay the prices as a global
[00:09:34] Steve: community, that's it.
[00:09:36] So we've got to get better at how we manage all our relationship with nature, and people are getting it. You know, clearly, you know, let's just take a energy production. Last year, 75% of the new energy producing United States was from solar and wind. That's very exciting. Eight, uh, coal fired power plants were shut down in this, the state of Illinois last year, and that's very exciting.
[00:09:58] There's a lot of good things. It looks as if the people that measure CO2 production in the last three years in the world leveled off. So United States was down 3% from the year before China was down one. So the world, because there was a lot of burgeoning economies in India, is still increasing significantly.
[00:10:17] The world is just plateau. But. I think we're about to turn the corner because you're starting to see a lot more sustainable energy production and it's just see a shift in attitude. You see companies like Starbucks wanting to produce coffee sustainably because their customers are demanding it, and so it's calming.
[00:10:37] The problem is we've got so much momentum that's devastating the species right now, we're already at such a rate of loss. The combination of habitat destruction, invasive species, and climate change are what? Responsible for these massive die-offs of these species that are referenced here. So, I mean, and when you add 20 more thousand more people every hour, well you got, the main thing is not housing.
[00:11:05] The main thing is feeding them and getting them water, if you know. So when housing doesn't take that much space on the earth, but getting them energy. Getting them water and especially feeding them. That takes a lot of land. So what, what do you do typically you chop down for us, all the forests are what?
[00:11:21] Sequester all the carbon and produce all the oxygen. So I mean, it's a very serious problem that people are somewhat aware of, but not as acutely as I think they ought to. I don't think
[00:11:32] Adam: it's given the attention in the news that deserves, because. It's not as immediate of a, of a threat. I think a lot of people don't notice that as, Hey, you know, I can go to the grocery store and buy food.
[00:11:47] Why is this a problem?
[00:11:48] Steve: Exactly. And so it's interesting, Adam, because when you ask people, is the environment important? You asked 10 things that rank order them. What's important to you? Environments, sports near the top. When you ask people what they're willing to pay for. It's near the bottom. So most people just see themselves as powerless to do anything about this.
[00:12:13] You know, it's like, well, it's up to the government. I can't do it. So no, I'm not going to pay to recycle, or I'm not going to, you know, whatever that that thing is that I have to do, I'm not going to drive a car. The more expensive the driver morphed into the purchase because I can't afford it. I've got too many other more immediate concerns, and so yeah.
[00:12:31] That's what's happening. But it's interesting because even in our United States, Rex Tillerson, who was the CEO of, uh, ExxonMobil and is now secretary of state, he's telling president Trump knocking back out of the Paris accord, the climate change. I mean, that's pretty profound right there. And he's saying, this is the future of energy production.
[00:12:54] This is the ex CEO of the largest oil company in the world. And he'd say, we need to seat at the table. We need to provide leadership here for the world. I mean, that's pretty amazing. And so there's a lot of reason to hope right now. There really is. But I think also, so 85% of Democrats believe that climate change is real, and 60% of Republicans, interestingly, and both of them want the government to do something about it.
[00:13:22] So that's part of, they've not done a lot of Obama tried to. Institute the clean power plan two years ago, and now it's locked up in the court. 31 States sued the EPA saying, we're not going to do that. We know we don't want these strapped with clean power because it hurts our ability to compete with cheap energy.
[00:13:43] So it's just, there's a mixed commitment. And clearly you see in our administration right now, they're very skeptical, if not.
[00:13:52] Adam: Yeah. And I, you really need a financial incentive for a lot of these companies to say, yes, let's do it.
[00:13:56] Steve: Well, and even so, so a lot of, so Europe has a carbon tax. California's got a carbon tax.
[00:14:01] Canada's got a carbon tax. China's got a carbon tax, but we were not really, it's because China has errors on breathable and they're big cities. And so they finally woke up, and in this year, in 2017 China's taxing carbon. And so Rex Tillerson of all things, thinks we need a carbon tax. God bless him. Our beloved present does not.
[00:14:22] Okay. And neither does the head of the EPA of all things, but it just makes sense. You stop and think about it. Well, basically you're causing harm to society to produce CO2 gas. If there's going to be something that society is going to have to redo because you ought to have to pay for that. I mean, it's like there's a gasoline tax to pay for the roads you're driving up.
[00:14:47] Okay, so. That's the logic here is if we produce wind and solar power and there's no harm to the environment, we should be not taxing that. That's a social good, no pollution. You also don't have to tear up. You don't have to drill holes. You know, if they have pipes that leak, you don't have to tear off the top of the mountain to get to the call.
[00:15:09] It's all right there. 99% of the
[00:15:12] Adam: sustainable. You're not going to run out of it.
[00:15:14] Steve: You'll never run out. In fact, interestingly, the other big shortage in the world was water. There's no shortage of water. There's sort of fresh water, and so the big limitation taking ocean water and turning it into drinking water is energy.
[00:15:29] It's simple technology to get this all out. It's just very expensive. And so if you have free energy. All of a sudden water shortage is not problem. You have to get it in land where the people are, but 50% of the people that were on are living on the coast anyway. If you'd gave all them water right out of the ocean, we wouldn't have a problem.
[00:15:49] Especially if we stop population growth. That's the other big factor. So clearly there are solutions to this and the, and the other thing that people talk about too as well, all that CO2 is out there, we can't get it out of there. Well, that's not true either. There are quite a few companies that have devised solutions to extract the CO2 in the air.
[00:16:11] One of them, Missouri state, Arizona state university has created a tree that's basically a bunch of straws that can take sequester a hundred times as much carbon as a regular tree, and all you do is spray water on it and that CO2 bonds to the water. You can take that down and be hydrated and now you've got a carbon brick.
[00:16:32] You can either sell that percent that a fuel are very back in the ground where it came from. Yeah. Okay. And also there's a company right now as we speak, that's created an extraction machine in Switzerland, and they're taking all that extracted CO2 from the air and pumping it into 10 acres of greenhouses.
[00:16:51] The theory is that those plants will produce more produce than they would have under natural conditions, and now pay the extraction. It's an experiment in 2017 if that works, we can not only S, you know, we're about twice as much CO2 in the air as there was before the industrial revolution. Right? Now we know that from studying high scores that come out of the Arctic.
[00:17:13] So you know, the only my goal, so now he just stopped because now he's still got too much to go to in the air. You've got to extract out and give back where you were 200 years ago. But we can do it. All these problems are fixable. The two things we need to do is my opinion. Stop population growth. I mean, at some point everybody, I think, hope everybody realizes there's a limit
[00:17:36] and you just, until you can't plow everything, you won't have an environment to live in. And so that's, and then the second thing is, I think not only do we need open arrives and say, let's deal with this problem, because almost no one is talking about it very politically sensitive. But we don't have the right to tell people how many children they have.
[00:17:56] My feeling is, yes, you do. You're by having large families. Once again, like a carbon tax, in my opinion, you're taxing the system, be it schools or the environment or whatever. So that can be your choice, but y'all don't have to pay a tax. For the additional load you're putting on the system, just like the carbon tax or a lot of other taxes that we have to pay.
[00:18:17] So I think that that will change over time. It will just become, Hey, we have a limited space here. You're going to get taxed if you decide to have more children then than a sustainable, but right now it's very difficult to have that conversation. It would just say on this, there are people that will listen to this and think I'm crazy and maybe I am, but then they are thing too is I think there needs to be a level of urgency around.
[00:18:41] All these issues that I'm discussing. It's sorta like people are protesting, but I don't think they're right. They are to the level that they ought to be.
[00:18:50] Adam: So protesting is one way. I know you've gotten involved in Ohio to start, and even with rainforests down in beliefs, how did you start getting involved in, what was the first thing
[00:19:02] Steve: that you did?
[00:19:03] Oh, first thing I got educated. So I mean, you can be an environmental citizen scientist, so. Every year I take part in bird counts. Okay? And so there's tens of thousands of people all over the world that count certain days for certain amount of time count the variety and numbers of birds that they see.
[00:19:21] So we know this was all logged in a computer. We know how many birds there are everywhere, and we know whether they're going up or down their populations. And so we can track this. So that's one way that I've been involved for 20 years. But I. I mean, I've gotten much more heavily involved since my children went to college because I just have more time.
[00:19:42] But there's a lot of things people think, let's, I can't do anything about it. I drive a Chevy bolt and believe it or not, people that watch really expensive now it's not. Government gives you $7,500 credit on that car and making it very competitive with other cars. I get 70 miles a gallon on my car. All right, and I'm also going to put solar panels on my roof.
[00:20:05] And you might think, well, I can't afford that. These things are going in all over the world at a record clip right now, and even in Ohio, this is, you know, you can lease these and you get free energy from the sun. It's still a little bit more still then gas that's coming out, but from my standpoint, it's still a good deal.
[00:20:24] I can run my air conditioners and charge my car for free off of this. That's a pretty invasive, so that's a big ass for a lot of people's budgets. There's another very interesting fact. So it used to be when you and I were, or especially when I was a kid having a big green lawn and fertilizer and chemicals all over, it was like the best.
[00:20:45] I'm a success. Okay. One of the biggest companies 30 years ago is ChemLawn of all things. I mean, they're bankrupt now, and I think that might be part of the reason is, you know, Hey, I'm going to put chemicals all over my lawn. And so that's like a desert for nature. If we took. If everybody in the United States took one third of their one there, got out of grass, as I am doing right now, and put it back to nature.
[00:21:09] Put non-natives, but native bushes, trees and flowers in your yard, we would create a national park. Those larger than the 10 national pen, largest national parks in the United States combined, including Denali. Wow. It's powerful. It's huge. That's something that every one of us can do. You can recycle. You can vote for candidates that support environmental causes.
[00:21:38] You can give funds to groups like world wildlife fund, population connection. My favorite is the nature Conservancy because we find the biological hotspots in the world that we buy them. We work with governments who can't buy it, like in Tanzania village, can't buy it while you just work with the government to preserve it.
[00:21:57] We're the largest non-governmental, Lando landowner around the world. The nature Conservancy.
[00:22:02] Adam: So when people buy, I mean forest land is a generally through them.
[00:22:06] Steve: That's a really good question. I don't, I, I know that we are the largest and we are the largest environmental charity in the world, collect $600 million a year from all our very generous donors.
[00:22:21] And that's, that's as big as the next five largest environmental causes combined.
[00:22:26] Adam: How much rainforest is protected each year from that. That
[00:22:31] Steve: is a good question. I don't know. What's very exciting right now is a few things. I mean, rainforest destruction is one of the key pieces of the puzzle. 50% of the biodiversity on land is in the rainforest, and it's 6% of the land area.
[00:22:49] So you can see how vital is it. And then the other one is the ocean. 80% of all lives in the ocean, and most of life is in the ocean. And 80% of that is in the reef. No. What time of the reef. So we're working to try and save those two, but that Oceana is one that really focuses on protecting the ocean. So what's exciting is, or what I was gotten bombed with TNC 20 years ago.
[00:23:13] We were losing re enforced the size of the state of Oklahoma every year. Oh wow. And so now it's now 25% of that. What it was at its peak, it's still, they'll come and down. But it's 25% what's really exciting is not only that happening, the companies like cargo put in a grain elevator in Brazil on the Amazon, and they're training these people to farm sustainably.
[00:23:41] So it used to be the soil so thin in the Ecuadorian areas of the world that. You'd chop down the forest and in two years, all the nutrients have gone. You've got to chop down more forest. Well, Cargill's teaching them how to use fertilizer of net to keep that land in production so you don't have to, in fact, they'd go so far as they watch him with satellites, and if you chop down any more force, we won't buy your soybeans as powerful.
[00:24:07] Now Greenpeace forced their hands. So, you know, give Cargill some credit. Green peace. Also, we're going to out you. So it was, it was, it's like, we'll work with you. So that's exciting. The companies like Starbucks, Starbucks buys 4% of the coffee in the world, and all of their coffee is sustainably produced.
[00:24:29] And so coffee trees are only about as tall as you and me. And so if you just have a coffee plan patient, you basically got no habitat there. All the. Starbucks. Rain forest has an overstory of jungle trees. Huh? So monkeys and things like that can live up in that overstory and they produce coffee down below.
[00:24:50] In addition to that. So that's becoming more and more the norm. You go to the store, look at the coffee you buy. It's another way you can help here. Look at the coffee you buy and turn it over in the back. And if it's sustainably produced, it'll say on there, there's also fair trade coffee, which means that the people who are producing it.
[00:25:08] Are being given a decent price for their coffee, and they're required to put their children in school so that they can try and raise the standard of living of these families that are producing the coffee. In addition. So in Brazil, the government gave them no instruction on how to farm. So they just went in to clear cut the forests.
[00:25:28] And GNC has gone into these people now and teaching them how to. Reese, we're replanning the jungle on these ranches and they can have 75% of their land can be jungle trees and produce no reduction in the production of their cow production. Huh. And so you centrally keep a lot of those creatures. You give them habitat and you can still make a living in the farmers are just delighted.
[00:25:58] We just didn't know. We want to learn how this, so
[00:26:01] Adam: it's a lot of it is education. A lot
[00:26:03] Steve: of it's education. You know, human beings want to do the right thing. They really do. They need to be shown a way to do it that's very low impact in their lives. It's cause they're busy and low expense, like Columbus now recycles 40% of it trash.
[00:26:19] But until they made it free, no one would do it. One or 2% of people. Now it's like it's mandatory. Okay, I'll do it. And I produce way more, way more goes out from my house and recycle than in the trash pit anymore. I also compost another thing that everybody can do. Take your vegetable man or buy a composter, compost that stuff and put it in your garden.
[00:26:43] It's great fertilizer. It keeps our landfill. So there's a lot of things that are being done. The energy behind this is reaching critical mass, and you look at what a. Elon Musk is doing, I mean, he is people, you say, well, you know, it's great to have solid power, but when the sun's not shining, you don't want to have any power anymore.
[00:27:04] The Island of Kauai has 40% of their power generation is solar panels and they use Tesla batteries, so it produces power 24 seven and the last sun out there too, which helps, and their goal is by 2030 it's going to be 100% solar.
[00:27:21] Adam: I saw this project for solar panels, roads, and. The idea being that, you know, if they actually covered highways with solar kind of grows, we'd have more than three times the amount of energy we
[00:27:32] Steve: would need.
[00:27:32] There's actually warm Missouri for a really good point, Adam, one being built this year that is honeycomb solar panels about few inches thick so they can withstand traffic. And interestingly, I mean, this is back to think here. The market's good business. Not only did we get to live for a long time. As a species, but the roads are free.
[00:27:56] You know, it's more expensive to put them in, but then they produce enough power to pay for the road. That's good business. So yes.
[00:28:05] Adam: And then melt snow in the winter if you get
[00:28:07] Steve: snow. Exactly. Human beings are incredibly creative, so there are many, many, many people working on this problem.
[00:28:14] Adam: I think you just need to make it easy for people and when it's available, people naturally do it.
[00:28:19] Steve: They want to do the right thing. Absolutely. You, you basically, they don't have time to do all this reading and homework and what they got. Children are raised, they've got bills to pay. I get it. All right. They're tired. You got to make it like, this is all you do. Take this red bin, put these materials in it and put a by a curb once a week, we'll take care of the rest.
[00:28:42] That's how you gotta do it for people.
[00:28:45] Adam: Now, what have you done here in Ohio with the wetlands? Or they do call them up where you're, you're doing the environmental protection around the water areas that are North of
[00:28:55] Steve: here. So that's my cousin bought. Uh, 600 acres up. I like hearing he's turning it into a wetland.
[00:29:01] It's called standing rock,
[00:29:03] Adam: where we planted trees last
[00:29:04] Steve: year. Okay. So what that is, is that's, we have DNC is once again the largest, I believe, the largest non-governmental land owner in the state of Ohio. So we have 35,000 acres in the state of Ohio. That's, and this is kind of encouraging, two and 1900. So when settlers got here, another example of what we wonderful humans do to nature.
[00:29:26] When settlers got in Ohio at 98% of the state was covered by trees. By 1911% was covered by trees. It's up to 30 now. Oh wow. Because of groups like DNC, the state has 35,000 acres down by Portsmouth called Shawnee state forest. We have 20,000 to joining it, so animals like badgers and Bobcat's can thrive in those types of environment.
[00:29:50] Also, baths that are threatened. Many other species that are threatened or . Also the Blackwater swamp up by Lake Erie. The swamp along the Southern shore of Lake Erie was once, not as big as the Everglades, but not too far from it. Okay. 97% of that has been drained and turned into farmland. Of course, it's very rich farm line, cause it was Pete boss when you was all that dead stuff.
[00:30:17] You put, you dry it and man does it produce crops. But we now have learned. Those are the vital areas. Forest habitat. You know, not only are these ephemeral ponds where a lot of the amphibians that make the rabies, so if it's always water Fisk and live in there, and the fish eat all the frog eggs, so you gotta have a pond that's upon this time of year.
[00:30:44] It's not upon an August and a fish can't live in there. Huh? That's an in the air thing too, is a wetland is a tremendous filter. For water. It filters it way cheaper than a water treatment plant. We've figured out, so we've sort of hurt ourselves. And you see what happened in Toledo two years ago. We're blue green algae.
[00:31:04] That's what we've done. We've taken all the filtration out of the water systems and we've pumped on fertilizer in there. You see what happens? I mean,
[00:31:14] Adam: I've heard that it's important. I've never understood why it's important. So it's good for filtration. And then it's for, in Philippians.
[00:31:22] Steve: It's not just amphibians.
[00:31:23] So biodiversity is the key to a healthy environment. So the hotspots where we figured out is these places that are wetlands, so they're not wet all the time. The definition is you have to have to be wet at least 14 days a year. And there's actually ways they measure it. They put pipes down on the ground, and pipe has to fill up with water.
[00:31:42] Oh, DNR does this, and so, but it's gotta be dry some of the year. So there's certain kinds of species that only thrive in there. And like I said, this can't live in there. So there's a bunch of stuff that can grow in there that can't grow on a Lake and can't grow. There's no water. And it's also, they're tremendous filters.
[00:31:59] A Lake won't filter water, but a wetland will cause a wetland. If you compare, say, a wetland to a, let's just dump the water right into Lake Erie. Now you get a tremendous algae bloom and algae is not really problem. It's somewhat cause when the algae dies, a Rob's them. Water by oxygen. It's blue green algae.
[00:32:20] That's actually not algae. It's called cyanobacteria. And when it breaks open, it produces a tax and that can kill us. And so that's what's going out. Well, if you get those nutrients before they get in the water system, the plants in the wetland can absorb like a hundred times as much nutrient as the algae out of the light.
[00:32:40] Huh. So it's like you filter it here. I mean, part of it, if we got to do a better job of, we're doing. Better job now of studying. How much should we just put an argument? Cheap. Put fertilizer. So you put way too much on. Yeah. And then your child will land and then the big rain comes and all half that session.
[00:32:57] So not only are we getting better, how much do you put on, but we're realized that you've got to slow it down, slow it down, and let the plants. Soak up whatever you overdid before it gets out into the latches, like carry it. Any water source. That's what we're learning.
[00:33:14] Adam: And then, uh, last year you, you went to Washington D C
[00:33:19] Steve: something
[00:33:20] Adam: I've always been curious about how do you actually interact with politicians and what was that like?
[00:33:24] What did you actually do when you
[00:33:26] Steve: went there? So I went to the nature Conservancy three days, so I went and I'm going to go this shirt again. So we had two days of just education. I, I have not with people from all over the world of China, South American people doing amazing work for the environment, for TNC.
[00:33:43] And then we had one day where we just were on Capitol Hill all day. And we, I talked with my group, I was with, talked to nine senators and congressmen, and I think there was only three. And we talked in person, but we talked to their staffs. And quite frankly, their staffs are probably. Which staffs are way more knowledgeable about the issues than they are.
[00:34:05] Cause you just can't imagine the amount of information these people have to know. And what they do is they just go to their staff and say, tell me what's going on. There's a vote coming up. Tell me what's going on. And so you, some of the time we got to talk to them. And some of the time we talked to the people who were very much the environmental advisor to that.
[00:34:22] And quite frankly, all we talked to was Republicans. But most of the democratic, the record is protect the environment. Well, there was no point talking to them. They already agree with this. Or we've talked to like seven representatives and two senators. So rapport when we actually met. Oh cool. He's our, he's abusive.
[00:34:39] He's a friend of Tim. He lost TNC and I voted for him. I'm a Democrat, but I voted for apartment cause I think he's a good man. And he's also trying to develop a power plan. There's no, right now, there's been no new power plant in the United States for 10 years. And so they're supposed to be an integrated way of telling these power companies like AEP.
[00:34:57] This is what we want you to build. These things cost billions of dollars to build these power companies going. Give us some direction here because we don't want to be building much of gas fired power plants or coal if you're trying to build an infrastructure based on solar, but the government sitting on their hands and can't agree, and so this thing keeps the canned gifs getting kicked.
[00:35:18] He's trying to change that. So we met with Portman, we met, and in fact, Frankie, they were very receptive. I was very, in my opinion, those people in Washington do a darn good job. We said that to one of them and they said, we are the worst at PR in the world. That's really true. As those are really hardworking people.
[00:35:37] I think most people have no idea of the complexity of the issues and how hard it is to get 600 people that run our country to agree. In any meaningful way where a bill, it can get passed and it just takes up a lot of compromises and a lot, a lot of time involved in, right? When you think you got it, you get a change in administration, the wind changes.
[00:36:02] There went that idea. And then there's a lot of things that you just can't change in the legislature. It's gotta be changed in the court, you know, so you know this, the system we've got is what's the Churchill said, democracy's the worst form of government in the world. Except for all the rest. And that's just about right.
[00:36:19] I mean it's, it's a cluster and we're $17 trillion in debt cause we'd compromise on everything and nobody wants to pay for it, but it's a lot better than you or me, who in any one instance might be smarter than them. Overall, the people are wiser than any one person. And so. It works. It's just terribly inefficient and Weiss,
[00:36:41] Adam: it comes across in the
[00:36:42] Steve: nudes, but these are these people.
[00:36:44] They seemed very sincere to me that they were listening to us, not just giving us base time. They were taking notes. They were, I think they know that these are their voters and so they don't want to, they don't want to ignore us. They don't want us to leave Washington. They'd just ignore us and come back and tell the press.
[00:37:03] I'm sure
[00:37:03] Adam: kids as well, and they want their kids to be able to grow up in a world that
[00:37:06] Steve: exists there. They are. Absolutely. Yeah. I think that those Republicans, they really care about the economy and jobs and that that's a good thing and I think they want to find sustainable ways to do it. They're just, they lean more heavily toward what I think is a short term interest of jobs in a way from the longterm damages, but they care.
[00:37:28] They absolutely care. That's great.
[00:37:30] Adam: You said you're going back to
[00:37:31] Steve: Washington, so I'll go back this summer and we are, so we went to Tanzania 18 months ago. My daughters and I were raising money to protect the Mayan rainforest. Right now we raised 82,000 so far, and we're going to go down there and the next March 19th and my wife and two daughters and eight other people are going to tour them.
[00:37:51] Rio Bravo rain forest and see what TNC is doing to preserve the objectives
[00:37:57] Adam: of that trip. That sounds like
[00:37:59] Steve: it's really just to, it's just to see they're just going to show us around, but that basically we're raising all this money and so they're just going to show us, here's what, here's what the money is, here's what timed on the money, and then I'll snap a bunch of pictures and we'll take back half a slideshow for all the people that donated.
[00:38:15] It's like, here's what your money is doing. Just to give me an example there. There's 500 Scarlet macaws left in the wild on planet earth. All of them, I believe, are in the Mayan rainforest. We tear down that forest. There it goes. This spectacular species along with tapers, ocelots and Jaguars. Okay, so just unbelievable amounts of biodiversity in that, in that rain forest.
[00:38:37] Not to mention the mind people, indigenous people that are there still depend on that. More for survival. So
[00:38:45] Adam: tourism to come, come to play in this.
[00:38:47] Steve: Well, interesting. Good question. Because tourism is, bullies is number one part of their economy. 40% of their GMP is generated by tourism. A lot of it from the resorts on the coast, but also the, they have a, the Mesoamerican reef is the second largest reef in the world, 400 miles long.
[00:39:05] Tremendous scuba diving and snorkeling in there. And also what I do and you know, go into the jungle and just ecotourism. So they haven't, the beliefs, government's not very well off, but they have a very, very strong interest in preserving their vironment cause. Cause a lot of their, their incomes comes from it.
[00:39:23] I mean to you think about pollution. If you don't get pollution on a control, the reef right there, it's not like the great barrier reef. It's right off the coast. And so if you don't, if you just keep dumping pollution in the ocean, you're going to kill it. Well there goes a bunch of their income. So. They are very, USA ID also is, uh, the United States.
[00:39:42] We donate to countries around the world that do things that protect United States national security. So a lot of the people, illegal immigrants coming into United States are coming, not from Mexico, but from this country South of Mexico. And so they're trying to shore up those economies down there. So they stop coming in here.
[00:40:00] And the drugs come from down there. So you turn to drugs when you can't feed your family. And so USA ID pork, big money. We partner with them too. So we probably went to Billy's government, whole bunch of NGOs and USA ID the coordinate and say this, and I ask Alex Martinez, who runs her, I said, are you making the difference?
[00:40:17] He goes, Oh, absolutely. And he gave me a bunch of examples of how we're, we're winning. 63% of their countries is still storing for
[00:40:27] Adam: sustainable tourism. It's definitely on there.
[00:40:31] Steve: Yup. Same thing with Tanzania. I mean, Tanzania, they're getting it. I mean a population explosions problem, but that not what standing, that's a big industry over there.
[00:40:42] Tourism made them, you go to the, I mean it's, I recommend anybody that can afford to get over there because it is, there's nothing in this country like that. I sat in a Jeep and saw 10,000 zebras. And everywhere you could look, they were migrating and two days later, same field, 10,000 well, the base there was, I saw 175 new birds in 10 days.
[00:41:06] I saw, uh, elephants. I mean, it, it's, it's game changing stuff. And while you're doing it, you're supporting a very poor country and helping them protect their environment and pay the pay for their.
[00:41:20] Adam: I wish I could just picture some of these photos you have up on your wall. It'd be a trend, but it's just stunning.
[00:41:25] All the different animals that you were able to capture.
[00:41:29] Steve: It's amazing over there. And you know, these people don't want a porch, you know, they want to, but they got to feed their families. So it's tragedy. We gotta help them. I mean,
[00:41:39] Adam: nine, you give them an alternative and
[00:41:41] Steve: you give them an alternative with it.
[00:41:43] They'll, they'll take it, they want it, but they gotta eat, you know, so you can make as much. From an elephant to us cause you can make from a year of work over there, one elephant us. You know,
[00:41:54] Adam: how much is that like? So what's the, how much is an elephant tusk worth?
[00:41:59] Steve: I don't know. I know that it's going down.
[00:42:01] Okay. China has placed a moratorium on sail library that cut the price by, it's not one third of what it was last year. So it's. It's common. But one of the problems we've got too is so the vultures will show the Rangers where the kill is. So the poachers don't want, so they poison the meat. So the bolts are population is now down 97% from 10 years ago.
[00:42:29] So that like extincting the large mammals, they're killing all the vultures cause they circle over and then the warden would go there and arrest him. Hey, look, yellow wall. So it's a big problem. We've got some problem to fix. Thank you
[00:42:43] Adam: so much for talking to me today.
[00:42:45] Steve: Really fun. Thanks. Bye. Yep.

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