Hey there!

This blog post is co-created alongside my Well Aware podcast episode – this particular episode is meant to be a primer to my 2nd season of podcasting. This season, I’ve partnered alongside the This Sustainable Life community, or TSL. The goal of this podcast is to share my awareness around sustainability, and to inspire others to explore what sustainability and the environment means to them personally. From that, I, along with the rest of the TSL community, hope to support others on their journey towards living more sustainably.

With that, Well Aware and its prime focus around better management by awareness goes hand in hand, and so I’m honored to be able to connect these two worlds. And so, to that end, I’m delighted to take you on this journey with me. Below is this episode’s transcript if you prefer to read. If you’re pressed for time, here’s a brief summary:

  1. A major part of being well aware to me not only includes managing myself towards better productivity and overall wellness. My participation in the external environment plays an extremely important role in that.
  2. This podcast season has two sides to it. One side is for me to share about practices around managing my time and tasks with sustainability in mind. The other side surrounds inviting others in my immediate and not-so-immediate network to join me in having 30 minute conversations around what the environment means to them personally, how that makes them feel, and what they might want to do about that.
  3. My call to action for this post is to invite you to join me for said 30 minute conversation, as well as to follow me throughout this journey towards a Well Aware sustainable life.

As always, thank you for reading.


Conrad Ruiz

— Episode Transcript —

Hey everyone! This is a solo episode for those of you that don’t know.

I’m part of a community known as the, This Sustainable Life community. Also known as TSL.

This Sustainable Life was started by Joshua Spodek, who as a mentor, as a friend, Josh has been an incredibly inspiring individual in my world. I would say, as a result of his efforts, he’s made me incredibly aware of how I want to go about investing my time.

As someone who professionally focuses a lot on that, I am surprised by how open I can be about the thoughts and experiences that I can create as a result of being very conscious of where I choose to focus and where I choose to be aware.

And I think for our world today, one of the primary elements of awareness is around our environment, around the sustainability of our environment and specifically where we’re really falling off on that front.

I think we all know that things are not looking great from an environmental perspective, and that has hugely been based on the way we go about behaving.

I think Josh, I think other folks in the community, I think a lot of people around the world, they recognize where a lot of these behaviors are coming from, and I think where it is apt for us to point fingers at some of the major contributors to environmental pollution, to addiction, towards behaviors that the general populace then participates in, whether it’s social media consumption or just general consumption of things.

Of material goods. Things that don’t really have real value, but are nonetheless going to, as a result of their existence, and this whole design we have about how we basically sell our time in order to make money in order to buy things that don’t really matter. And then those things being stuff that costs energy which we specifically get from unclean sources in order to meet the demand in which we’re doing this.

I think we get that. I think we know the bigger picture of what’s going on here and it sucks.

We really are looking at an end game scenario, if you will, where so long as this continues things are going to be pretty dire as time continues to move forward.

And again, that is something that just from an awareness perspective, because it means so much to me that time is precious, that the awareness of time and how we invest in it and what consequences come from our choices around time… It would not make sense for me to ignore just focusing on surface level productivity and output for everyone that I work with. And especially for myself, it would be stupid to just focus on the ability to acquire money and not really think about the costs of lifestyles that aren’t considering the sustainability component for our planet.

My involvement in TSL and where I’m connected to it, I am working to both share with you about my sustainable life and my attempts toward it, I’m not going to say I’m perfect by any means, and working towards bringing on other people to have a conversation around what sustainability and what the environment means to them, and what it means to them personally, and how they want to go about participating in becoming more sustainable.

And that looks like a challenge when we get into a conversation. So to give you the tactical view of it, let’s say you and I sat down for 30 minutes, and we said, “okay what does the environment mean to you? I invite you at your option to do some kind of activity that’s supporting that feeling that you have around what environmental sustainability means to you.”

Where I’m going with that is the way that you’re going about living your life right now, If there’s something to be said about where you could consciously apply your awareness towards choosing certain types of activities or making certain types of choices around the way you currently live your life, and then just seeing how bringing sustainability into that foray starts to impact you in particular around how you feel.

I want to share with you what’s been my journey with sustainability so far, and I want to get to what I’m currently struggling with as I’ve recently I changed my life and have come to still be in a place where I’m trying to organize myself, but now that I’ve gotten most of the settling things out of the way – I recently moved to Austin, Texas from Wilmington, North Carolina. And that’s been a big change.

And that in particular has delayed, altered in many cases just almost stopped a lot of the sustainability practices that I was performing but, to give you some history to where I’ve come from, I’ve always lived rather frugally. I wouldn’t say I’ve always thought about my environmental footprint. I’d order things from Amazon. I would take my groceries in plastic bags. I wouldn’t necessarily separate compostable foods from just general trash… and although I was factually aware of everything that was going on wrong with our waste management with our unsustainable lifestyles – stopped there when it came to the whole premise of maybe I should just reduce, reuse, recycle better.

At this point through a lot of different kinds of conversations, through connecting with Josh, through connecting with others, through just working on this experience myself. I have come to the understanding around sustainability on a much more holistic level. It’s taken me towards understanding the premises of addictive behavior that I have, around not just necessarily consuming my time doing things that are ultimately wasteful at a very physical level. There’s almost a realization around the consumption of energy that’s negative towards the environment.

Fast food. Social media consumption that’s unregulated, unfettered and not really made purposeful. I think there is there’s something to be said about trying to obviously limit ones electricity usage, limiting one’s consumption of gas as a means of traveling, as a means of using any variety of tools and machinery. I’m not here to go so far as to say, you should keep your heat off when it’s cold. That’s not necessarily what I’m going for, I think there’s just a lot to be said about how we can go about living our lives with a neutral carbon footprint.

And yeah, I really aspire to hit that number of getting to zero, and here’s where I’m struggling right now. I feel I like let myself go. I used to be composting. We used to have a composter in the backyard. I used to be a lot more selective about my purchases of things that came with cardboard, plastic, you name it. In this past couple of weeks, not only have I let that go a little bit and purchased more items that came in plastic containers and just overall packaging.

I recently switched over to using InstaCart because I made this whole premise, like my time is more precious than driving to and from the grocery store. And also my motorcycle and the delivery bag that I have with it – as much as it’s more eco-friendly – it’s limited in my ability to carry goods and I definitely have found that for cost with respect to my time and what I’m able to create in terms of value when I work to the top dollar of my hour, then it just makes more sense economically, but we need to unpack that, right? Like what does that actually mean?

So right now I’m struggling to I guess be okay with the way I’m consuming plastic, the way I am consuming energy. And also the way I’m producing waste. From, whether it’s my eating efforts, the things that I purchase online and then have to throw away. And there are little issues right there that are just like stupid excuses, in my opinion, like for instance, when we moved to this new place that we’re renting out, we didn’t have a compost bin. We didn’t have a recycling bin. And so now we’re waiting on the city to give us those things, but I don’t even want to rely on that sort of greater system.

Because I know it’s not perfect. In fact, one of my expectations, one of my desires is actually to learn more about what’s the city of Austin’s approach to reuse, reduction and recycling on a grander scale. And there are a lot of folks that I’ve seen that one particular TikTok-er, for instance, she does a really phenomenal job of showcasing how she’s put together an entire recycling plant for glass. And I just think that is amazing. And brings me to the question. Are we doing that like really effectively here? Is there any way I can participate in that more?

Outside of the struggles of just getting into this new lifestyle of choices and seeing like how I can go about either being okay with and finding a different manner of offsetting my use of plastics currently. I think in a perfect world, we just, we get everything from the farm and don’t have to deal with any means of packaging or containerizing the foods that we need, because we can either grow it ourselves or just get it raw and do what we need to, to minimally cook and prepare, using cleaner energy sources. It would be lovely if this house was powered by solar.

There’s a lot to dream about. I want to be practical, and I want to share with you how I’m going about my time in regards to this project. And for those of you that don’t know, for those of you don’t follow the other types of creative works that I share about each week – I try to share a management newsletter each week where I show all the different sides of management, whether it’s food management, travel management, fashion management, on the personal side, and then how I tie those back into more professional manners, relationship management, time management, project management.

Anything that you can envision that requires time, task, and protocol. That’s what I do. From a professional standpoint for others, helping them get more operationally sound and organized and just cleaned up.

I want to share with you guys where my journey is with that. And so here’s my commitment to you: on one hand, I have challenges for myself around how I want to live more sustainably, around what I want to get accomplished each week with regards to just making as many of the better choices that I can around consuming less, and reaching more towards that neutral carbon footprint experience.

And I’ll share with you the nuance of what’s going on with my side of things, for instance, yes, I’m living in a rental place here, and for example, the backyard. I would love to clean up that backyard, put a compost bin behind there and maybe start growing some things, but I’m only gonna be here a year, should I take advantage of that? Like how should I go about thinking through these things and making decisions and does it make sense?

And of course the sort of grand question, is it worth my time? So I’m going to be sharing with you my own challenges and I’ll walk you through them. Step-by-step. What I do, what I think, how I go through it. And obviously I’ll condense it for you so you can just get the skinny of it, and see how you can apply that to your world.

That’s the commitment side of things on one end. On the other side. And this is where my open invitation to you comes in. I want to welcome you, if you’re listening to this, you’re more than likely a part of my network or someone who’s just a couple degrees off and, thank you for being here.

Now, if you come to listen to this episode so far, do you want to invest 30 minutes with me to having a conversation about what the environment means to you? Do you want to openly look into an optional challenge wherein we look at what sort of initiative you can take on for your pursuit of living more sustainably, and should you choose to accept that challenge, I would then want to invite you to, with however much time we respectively need to follow through on how the challenge went and what’s been going on and where you see the impact of our conversation initially. I want to invite you to share another 30 minutes with me, where we basically just follow up and see how things are going.

This is my journey through the This Sustainable Life community. This is my efforts to get more acclimated to the full awareness of living with environmental conscientiousness and to just making myself more happy as a result of living in this cleaner, more natural way.

I think if that alone, as a result of my efforts, inspires you to take on a similar justice and I’m able to help you from an efficiency standpoint in terms of getting there faster, easier, smarter then, that’s awesome to me.

I live for that, if I can manage it well, and I can show you how to manage it well, and then now you can manage it. I’m really happy then. Because now we both made our time so much more effective. So much more human.

Ultimately If you think this is a valuable type of conversation to listen in on and check in with, again, my endeavor is to run this podcast every week and to just explore with other people, how they want to manage their time around sustainability.

And like I said, I’ll be sharing within this, my own challenges, my own progress points, and see if there’s any way that I can inspire you and share with you ways that you can go about following along with me in this process.

To that end, thank you for bearing with me at this point. I would love to finish off by saying that there’s nothing more important to me than where my time choices are. And there’s something to be said about what I highlight professionally around the transparency of my success and my failure in management. But then with that, at the same time, this sort of personal-professional, this sort of holistic, maybe like Maslow’s hierarchy level six kind of deal here. I really want to highlight how.

Important it is to me to be thoughtful about the richness of success in living a life that’s not just money through productivity and adding value to the chain of the economy. But really also doing so with consideration to our planet, it’s future, the next generations, this current generation…

I want us to live well too, and not under such extreme conditions and potentially extreme sufferings. I really want to be as well aware about that as possible.

So yeah. Thanks so much for listening. Again, this is Conrad Ruiz. Welcome to this sustainable life, Well Aware edition. I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Full transcripts in the blog post associated with this podcast episode.

If you want to join me for a 30 minute conversation. Please feel free to click on the link all the way at the bottom. And with that I bid you adieu. Thank you.

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