It’s funny; I went to school at the age of 36 to be an engineer. I wasn’t 100% sure what that meant but PBS made it sound like a great idea. Here I am, 8 years later. I have two associates degrees (one in science) a bachelor's degree in energy and sustainable systems and now my master's in engineering management. I went to school to be an engineer and I am. I’m an automotive engineer for a big 3 automaker. I did it but who would have thought that in the journey to getting here, I’d find a new passion.
Now, I have a couple of passions which include space travel and exploration (hence livelaunch.org) and children’s STEM but college helped me find one of the most interesting topics with some of the most complex challenges, sustainability. I fell in love with it immediately. Planetary sustainability is the key to human long term survival. The riddles are endless and the reward enormous. From clean renewable energy to city planning, sustainability practices can be applied to anything and should. I found myself moving slowly away from the mechanical engineering side to this niche position of focusing on sustainable engineering. How can we mimic the environment, how can build within the environment instead of over it/through it and how can we design something, one time? Design is for the long haul.
I found that it was fun to work with my city on its planning commission to find better ways to design our home and to bring sustainability into an automaker that never really considered it in their designs but the real need was to make the concepts simple and understandable for even my kids. If we were going to make long-term changes in the world, I realized it was going to be the kids that do it but you can’t teach them without teaching the parents. Most families want to spend less on “things” and live a clearer greener life but the communities chase people out. They always seem to want to take everything to the furthest extreme. Shows and books focus on living off the grid or moving to a tiny house. This is great to watch but isn’t realist for most families. This is where I found my place in sustainability. All of us can contribute, reduce our consumption, save money, and become good sustainability role models for children. We just needed to start changing some habits and how do we do that, little by little.
This is why I wrote the book. Almost everything I read wanted me to be all in or all out, well if you do that to someone who hasn’t gone without modern-day comforts they will quickly be all out. If we would have focused on small actions in the ’70s when climate reports started sneaking out into the public’s eye, we would be much further along by now. Instead, we pushed painful changes and here we are 50 years later in a much worse environmental position where the economy is still worth risking survival. 50 years of small incremental changes would have not only helped households but would lead to different consumer choices which would have forced the industry to make changes too. We would be doing much better as a planet if you ask me but they say “hindsight is always 20/20.”
I decided that better very late, then never. The beginner's guide to greening your life was written and followed by the Facebook site, group, and www.greeningyourlife.org. It’s my home that maybe these can help individuals that want to make progress to a greener future but can’t make the dramatic changes in their lives like moving to a camper or surviving off the grid can find their way to contribute. Every positive action is one more positive action than yesterday. I’m hoping that the online communities grow to create a support system and a green think tank where new ideas are introduced daily.
Starting October 16th, 2020, I’ll be stepping even further out of my comfort zone and will be co-hosting a podcast with my little brother Nick on realistic sustainability. I hope that with the books, sites, and shows we can contribute to those looking for a better way to live. I hope that we can help lead society to a cleaner and greener future and with all of your help, I think we can. Thank you very much for reading this, supporting the site, blogs, shows, or literature.
Michael J. Nazarian, MEM