Do you ever feel overwhelmed with the environmental issues we are facing? Do you ever wonder what you can do to make a difference, today?
In this episode I have an inspiring conversation with Christopher Mohs. Christopher is one of the founders and COO of Smart Healthy Green Living, a streaming service that is dedicated to all things sustainable when it comes to the home and garden. We talk about the value of making small changes and how, overtime, that can create massive results. We also explore conversations about rising above the noise in mainstream media and uniting the polarities that we are seeing in our social spheres. And much, much more. I hope you enjoy!
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Thanks so much Christopher, for taking the time to come on. I've really been looking forward to chatting since our last little phone call.
Christopher Mohs: Yeah, I'm really excited to have this conversation and [00:01:00] share, share the story, share some thoughts, ideas. I think it's fantastic what you're doing with the podcast and it's really inspiring.
Stu Murray: Thanks, man. And same with you with, it's been, I had the opportunity to go on and check things out and I think we really, we really need to see those platforms that are helping to tell the new stories and helping to build the new narratives and really carve out that new direction because.
We need at that fundamental level to, to hold a new story as we move forward and let go of these things that aren't serving us. But before we get into that, I'm curious. Like we, when we were first talking, you mentioned back in 2008 there was this real deep reflection. Obviously there was the housing collapse at that time and some big shifts societally, but it also led to some big personal shifts.
And would you be open to sharing a little bit more what was happening?
Christopher Mohs: Definitely, definitely. Yeah. It was, you know, for a lot of us, I think we can go back to that period in time and we can [00:02:00] recognize a transformative moment in the world globally. And I think in a lot of ways there was an awakening that occurred.
There was kind of reprioritizing what is what we value, what's important. And I think looking back on it post pandemic as we're coming outta the pandemic now, Over the last decade, probably a lot of the transformative stuff that we're seeing today had its roots in that moment, in that initial economic collapse.
And I know for me personally, that was, you know, I had a media business, that because of the nature of advertising pullbacks and various other aspects of things that were going on, it was no longer sustainable. And so I found myself at a spot where I was essentially reinventing myself. Up until that point, I was very career focused, career driven, you know, what are we gonna do to make a business impact in the world?
[00:03:00] And I walked away from that, realizing that there's probably a lot of other aspects to life that are. As important or more important than what I'm doing for work on a day to day basis. And so it really kind of provided that opportunity to step back, reflect and retool where I wanted to go and what I wanted that balance to look like.
And, over the course of a few years there, I took some time, dabbled with a couple jobs in around different things. Moved to New York City. I was living in Minneapolis at the time. Moved to New York City, entered the agency world there. All the hustle and bustle that was New York.
And so while I'm having this reprioritization, I'm also finding myself rolling into the hustle and bustle again, that is the big city. And that actually. [00:04:00] Brought me to a meeting with, Sadine. Schanberg, and Sadine is a, you know, she had, was building and innovating with housing in Greenwich, Connecticut. She does more luxury projects, but she does it in a way where she's looking at how, what are the innovative materials? What are the new methods, What are the things we're looking at in particular around like, became a theme for us, which was smart, healthy, green. What are those smart home innovations that make things run more efficiently aid us in our everyday life, make life simpler? What are things that make that home environment healthy? In terms of air quality, in terms of avoiding certain chemicals in products that we might be installing in the [00:05:00] house. And then on the green side, what are we building with? Are the materials recyclable when they come to the end of their life cycle?
Is the wood grown sustainably? Are the materials eco-friendly? Again, steering away from toxic stuff and really thinking of the environment in terms of how we make our choices in the materials that go into our home. And so she was innovating in that way out there. And we connected.
And it started out as a, initially we were pitching a show for, broadcast consumption, that ultimately rolled into, you know, let, we've got this amazing project with the Greenwich House. Let's just roll this into a YouTube series. So we produced a YouTube series. We got to the end of that project and we're like, What do we do next?
What can we tackle? And both of us agreed. We were walking through, one of the design shows, on the peer in New York City, and we're visiting and we're like, [00:06:00] you know, there's all these great products. There's all these great innovations and nobody is bring, nobody's bringing these to the market, to the consumer, helping to educate how to even select these things, how to ask for these things.
And then we also recognized in our work with various contractors that the contractors. Lack understanding in some ways around what's available and when they do have awareness of what's available, there's always that reservation on how do I position this? Is this something that this small, slight added cost up front?
How do I position that to the consumer to get them on board and bring them in to make these investments that pay off in the long run? And we were just visiting and we thought, you know, maybe we've been thinking too small, we were, we're doing YouTube, we were thinking a show, maybe on [00:07:00] broadcast.
We're like, there isn't a network, a streaming service, a packaged place to go where you can trust the information. Rely on what's being presented and learned from it. And we really felt that educating, informing and entertaining the public around what it is to be sustainable and smart, healthy green was a gap that wasn't really being served.
Sure, you can jump on YouTube and see a myriad of different things, but some of that is reliable, some of that isn't even as we, you know, So Shg Living currently is really curating content from across YouTube, primarily in a few other sources and packaging that in a neat interface for the consumer. So that you know that these are [00:08:00] creators that have been vetted, that they are presenting information that's reliable. Some of the fun aspects is they're experimenting and we're learning at the same time. So you can kind of learn from their mistakes and what they're discovering as they're playing around with different materials and different methods, which is part of the entertainment aspect of things.
But it allows the consumer to really. Move away from the unknown, which can be, you know, the YouTube algorithm and even just a simple Google search, like, how do I do this? And nine out of 10 of the results might be totally wrong. Information, misleading, more salesy, bought, paid for a little bit too heavily
And so how do we create a place where consumers can really rely on the information and trust that? And that's what we feel Shg living really brings to the [00:09:00] marketplace and empowers the consumer to be inspired, to be motivated and to be empowered to make decisions that allow them to, on an individual basis, lead a more sustainable life, through their home, through gardening, through lifestyle to choices and decisions.
And we call that approachable sustainability in a lot of ways because oftentimes when you hear the big conversations that are happening, it's how do we convert everybody to solar right now? How do we do? Or is it geothermal? Should everybody be having a geothermal heating and cooling system? maybe we all have to have recycled glass countertops.
But at the end of the day, we're all at different points in the life cycle of the materials within our home. We're at different stages of our life. [00:10:00] So, you know, some of us are renters, some of us are buying our first home, Some of us are embarking into a fixer upper. Some of us are selling our family home and downsizing into a retirement.
Each of those scenarios has different economic parameters that go with them, that have different opportunities and different needs as well. And so we like to, we talk about it in terms of approachable sustainability because it's what are those small things that you can do and then, you know, weave these things in over time to really kind of transform your life, transform your environment into more of a sustainable way of life.
And as a result, energy costs start coming down. Health is improved. Um, you know, if you wanna geek out on smart home technologies, you know, like all of a sudden, like your house just automatically turns the lights on for you [00:11:00] cuz you got home. And some of those things are kinda. Nerdy things. I tend to like a lot of the smart home tech stuff.
I dive into Smart Home Solver and Steve Jog or Steve does on a regular basis and you know, I love what they're always tinkering around with and I kind of opine on it. Oh gosh, what would it be if I could incorporate that into the house somewhere? What would that look like? And it's always fun, we do have a smart home integration.
We're completing renovations of our house in Minneapolis and it's kind of funny when we have company come to visit and it gets into that, you know, sun's going down and all of a sudden, The evening scene and the house turns on and all the lights go to a certain level and it's like, wow, here's Christopher's stage , I enjoy.
And then when it gets time, close to bedtime, we, you know, all the lights dim down and create this really moody environment in the house that's very conducive to winding down at the [00:12:00] end of the day, chilling out and getting ready to go to sleep and to get a good night's sleep. And in that we, you know, that's a really good example of how smart home technology starts lending towards improved health.
And so all of these things kind of tie together in really fascinating ways. But back to that initial point, we have a campaign with Shg Living called Do One Thing. And the big premise behind that campaign is start with one thing. Don't allow yourself to get overwhelmed with making sure that every single aspect of your life is 100% sustainable.
That's ultimately the goal. But if you can focus and just take that first step of finding that one thing, it might be planting ground cover in your garden instead of, mulching everywhere. Looking at [00:13:00] native plants that don't require as much water. Looking at growing your own food. Maybe you create a kitchen garden or maybe you just start with one pot for some herbs. Or a tomato plant.
And just do something simple. If you're a renter, you've got your balcony. Maybe it's two or three pots. But it's kinda like, what are those small things that we can do? Because the magic of it all is we really can make a big impact if we're all working together as a community. Going for the same goal.
And if we all can just do one thing today, we start with that one thing, tomorrow we find another opportunity the next day another. And as we build these habits and build these new ways of thinking about things, we can collectively have a really big and powerful impact on the world around us and the global [00:14:00] community as a.
Stu Murray: Wow, what a, what an incredible journey that you've been on Christopher. That's, that's amazing. And going from,
Christopher Mohs: I, I met a woman from, from Greenwich and she changed my life. . .
Stu Murray: Yeah. Long story short, eh, , what can I say? Yes.
Oh, man. The, those three words that you said, inspired, motivated, empowered. I think that's such a brilliant place to direct the energy and the focus of that because think societally sometimes we get caught up in thinking that we need to mandate change or we need some kind of top down thing to drive it.
And it's almost rooted in a, a lack of trust in, in people and in society. And I just really love that you come back to this inspired, motivated, empowered approach and, and really that one thing at a time because it's rooted in it, the idea that people are doing the best they can and that people really do care.
And that they want to make this world better, and they wanna make their lives and their family's lives [00:15:00] and their community a better place. And I just love when we can start with that as an intention. And that in the awareness of when we're trying to create and go about bringing societal change, and also that do one thing campaign.
I, I mean, again, societally, we live in this world that tells us, be it through marketing and social media and this fast pace of technology that we can do everything all the time. And that's just not the reality, you know? And so what we really need to learn is more of that essentialist mindset, where it's what's the right thing in the right moment for the right reason.
Bringing people more and more to that is, is huge because like you said, it could be just that one thing. But then that builds our confidence, That builds our assurance, that builds our capacity to be able to do that, and then we share that with others. All of a sudden, who knows the, the implications of change that that could [00:16:00] happen.
I mean, look at a sailor, right? That you talk to a sailor and you say, Well, if you change your course only a couple of degrees over a long period of time, that that changes entirely the trajectory of your destination. I, I just think that's such a beautiful energy and intention to, to bring to that. And again, seeing your, your website, it's, it's elegant, it's beautiful.
It's a place that I wanna spend time on and, and it pulls me back in. It truly
Christopher Mohs: well, and it's a nice mix of, you know, obviously there's the shows. Or the core of everything. And those creators pour their heart and soul into what they're doing. And they, you can see the passion just oozing in every single episode of those shows.
Um, but then also you have thoughts from our team. Um, in the inspiration section. There are blog where, you know, here are, you know, that's where we might opine on various different, um, things that we're seeing in the news, things that [00:17:00] we're seeing popping up in our news feeds and various different aspects of our life.
And we're just kinda like, you know, hey, we should, this is kind of a cool thing. We should write about it and share more about it and get that out there. So there's all of that. And then we always like to have those back and forth conversations with the community as well. Um, you know, when they comment on our posts and, um, write into us and stuff, it's always nice to kind of have that back and forth dialogue, um, on how we can really make, you know, our lives better.
Stu Murray: It, it's, it's so true, right? And I mean, I've been on this journey for some time. I, I bought a fixer upper gutted the whole thing, renovated with my father, uh, worked on the homesteading path of, I probably got it up to about 50% of, of growing my own food, but wow, so much of that has been, okay, I'm gonna get lost in the Google rabbit hole, or stuck on YouTube for, for 5,000 hours.
And, [00:18:00] and I think it's brilliant, but at the same time, I wish I had known about, Shg living at that time where I could have just gone on curated content and been inspired by, by different ideas, Oh, here's a new form of insulation in the walls that I didn't even know about. And maybe Google didn't even take me.
But not only do I see it happening now, I understand the processes behind it. I'm seeing these qualified experts talking about it, and I, I just as I am now preparing myself to dive into a, a full off grid new build, I know I'll be tapping into that resource. .
Christopher Mohs: Fantastic. Yeah. And the, you know, and, and your story is as individual as my story is as anybody's.
And you know, that's, that's another aspect that we're really proud of, is on the platform in the various different shows. You've got [00:19:00] everything from large scale, luxury off grid living, where it's like, You would think that these are, you know, ma you know, structures that it's kind of like how can large luxury homes be sustainable because, you know, they got all these lights and everything.
Well, one of the cool things is I, at that end of the spectrum, you are at a point where you are able to experiment with a lot of more cutting edge things, but it's incorporating geothermal, it's incorporating, maybe solar can be more creatively integrated into the architecture of the home in a way that wouldn't be possible.
Um, although that is making huge leaps and bounds in the last couple years, even in terms of what's available, um, um, for solar that just seamlessly integrates in with the roof, um, structure where it doesn't even stand out like it [00:20:00] used to with the bold traditional solar panels. Um, but to go off grid, On a large scale is almost as easy if not easier than on the smaller scales.
And you see shows like Tiny House, Tiny Living and um, Tiny House Expedition. And those are just, those are fun to watch because you have people that are going, you know, to the other end of the extreme and downsizing their life and prioritizing. That's the other thing that's kind of cool is from that health perspective, they're, they're downsizing to that tiny living aspect because they wanna reprioritize their life and it's everything from.
Gen Z, um, you know, fresh outta college. I just want simple. I want simple. Um, and I want that nomadic life and I wanna [00:21:00] explore the world all the way up to retirees that are like, Hey, I don't need this huge house that I was, you know, raising my family in. And I really want to downsize into something a little bit simpler.
And it's kind of fun to see each one of those episodes where you can see how each couple or individual has really paired down to what's important to them and incorporated that into their life. And then, you know, and then you see everything in between with Austin Flipster and Mike Montgomery's got his room renovations and stuff.
So, I mean, and then like for, you know, in your instance with the, you know, diving into the gardening and replacing your food sources, um, and you know, and I'm sure. You know, one of the things that is overwhelming when people get into the gardening aspect is you walk into the seat aisle and you forget. You know, it's kind of [00:22:00] like you're at this little ying and yang moment where it's like, Am I buying it cuz I think it's gonna be a pretty plant in the garden, or am I buying it because I'm going to eat it?
And I'll be honest, when I first created my kitchen garden, I went towards, Oh, that looks cool. Oh, that looks cool. Oh, that looks cool. I grew a whole bunch of stuff that I ended up giving to all the neighbors because it wasn't stuff that I ate. And then by the time I got the year three, really focused down and started to get the hang of, okay, what am I eating fresh out of the garden?
What am I camming and preserving for down the road? And then what freezes well that I can put in the freezer and really focusing on those items and focusing my growing effort into what I'm, what are the things that Christopher actually gravitates towards when he is in the produce section of the grocery store?
And then putting that in [00:23:00] my garden as opposed to, Now, don't get me wrong, the neighbors love the produce deliveries. Those are still happening in huge volumes because I just cannot eat everything that's coming out of the garden ever. But, um, but to that aspect, you know, that is how, how are you connecting community and how are you, you know, I love the fact that it's a nice excuse to go and check in on my neighbor who's in her nineties.
You know, still living at home, still doing her thing, but she's in her nineties and she loves getting grocery bags of fresh produce outta my garden. She, she thinks it's the coolest thing ever. And, but that's a way in which we build connections. And I think one thing that's kind of cool is when you see this happening on a larger scale and, you know, not to keep going back to Shg living constantly, but Tiny Towns is a good example of the, that really [00:24:00] features on these tiny house communities.
And it's cool how they have created these interesting, interconnected, you know, aspects where, um, you know, it's almost more of a social aspect to the thing. And this leads, you know, this level of connected. Is something that I think a lot of people are yearning for in this era of social media era of technology where, you know, it's, it's a lot easier to just, you know, connect with people online and through, you know, passively through their pictures that they're posting and status updates.
And so you see these people moving into these enclaves where it's like, Yeah, we're gonna, let's do a community garden, or let's, you know, what are these ways in which we can be interconnected? You know, I'm not in a tiny house community by any stretch of the imagination, but, um, the, you know, our neighbors [00:25:00] all have different strengths and stuff, and I've got a neighbor to myself, she's got two huge apple trees, and my neighbor to the north is every, every fall.
As soon as Cindy says, Hey, apples are ready to be picked, come on over and grab as many as you want, because, We know that those trees are producing more apples than we could possibly ever consume. All of us in the neighborhood, and Beth and I will go over and we'll just fill grocery bags full and we'll, you know, we just, we do cider and we do, um, apple sauce and apple pie filling and you know, we just try to use them as much as possible and, you know, becomes these ways that we can kind of connect with people.
And gardens have a really, really fascinating way of doing that with the community. But also that's similar value point of what is [00:26:00] important too. It's, I think one of the things that makes the tiny house communities succeed really well is because they are. Very likeminded in how they've kind of reprioritized things.
Um, we're not keeping up with the Joneses. We're not trying to, um, you know, follow the next bad or the next, you know, showy thing. Um, we condense things down to really what's important to us personally. And, and that I think even starts emulating today into communities of all economic backgrounds. People are trying to find ways to connect and so we're creating community gardens.
We're creating, um, ways to connect again and, you know, check in with our neighbors and meet our neighbors and know who is around us, and then find ways that we can connect and that leads to. Better health outcomes. Um, [00:27:00] it's support systems that keep people in their homes longer. Um, you know, my neighbor that's in her nineties, um, you know, she didn't have the support of neighbors around her that are more than happy to mow her lawn, um, help her out with different things, bring her bags of fresh veggies out of the garden.
You know, all those little things are things that, you know, she doesn't have to be looking at going into an assisted living situation or one she can stay in her home. That's been hers for life and she's happier there. She's going to probably live a lot longer because she's in her native environment, she's around friends and family, and it's just, there's so many layers.
I mean, we could talk for days, probably , but, um, I mean that's, this is the magic. That is this topic when we're, when we're talking about sustainability and how we [00:28:00] can really transform our individual lives, and then the balloon impact that, that has, that ripple effect going out, um, into the greater world is just magical in a way.
And it's, you know, it's just something that we can all, I think, find a way to kind of plug in and get excited about it.
Stu Murray: I couldn't agree more. I mean, there's so many things that just came up for me listening to you speak and you know, some big key words that came out were this longing that we have for connection.
This deep desire to reprioritize, to simplify. I think these are things that, again, another crisis. It, it seems to be these moments of crises within human civilization that often can bring about some, some radical changes. And I think we're, we're. We're in that right now. We're in, [00:29:00] Yeah. These massive changes, this massive time for pause, for reflection, emerging out of a time where we had been more isolated than ever.
And so this deep, deep pri reprioritization of what's really important to me as you had done back in 2008 and just looking at, well, I want to connect. I want more time in my day. I wanna be able to work from home. I want flexibility to work when I want. And when, as we were saying in that last conversation, when that creative inspiration comes, I wanna be able to sit down and capture it, but I also wanna be able to go out and walk on the beach or go and sit down by the lake or you know, go to my local park or connect with my neighbor.
The, I want these moments too. And so we have to start to reimagine and, and breaking out of. Monotonous, unquestioned, cyclical pattern of, okay, well I get in debt, I get a mortgage, I go get a student loan, I go get these things and just perpetually [00:30:00] having to upkeep a certain lifestyle so, so that we can just keep putting food on our plate and paying on all our bills.
And I think there is that growing disillusionment, and that's reflected in the great resignation that's reflected in infinite amount of statistics that we could pull out and look at. People are ready for something different,
Christopher Mohs: but the cool thing is, is what people are gravitating towards are things that are tapping into their passion, tapping into what motivates them to go to the next level for themselves individually.
And I think you see people, you know, when you look at, you know, you hear the terms, you know, the great resignation, quiet, quitting. You know, I think it's, it's not so much the negative things that I think some people feel that they might be, um, and might be scared of. I think it's just, it's, it's indicative of this reprioritization that's [00:31:00] happening amongst people.
And some of it frankly, is just being driven by some of the social realities that exist, um, around us. Um, challenges with, you know, and, you know, when we look at sustainability, you know, we are really focused in, you know, the home, the lifestyle, that type of stuff. But it goes beyond, you know, sustainability goes, you know, how are you sustaining yourself?
And what are the systems and support around you that are allowing you, you know, is it family being nearby? Because, you know, we're having challenges with childcare and so how do we, what are those support structures look like? Um, you know, hearing a lot about teacher shortages, so what does that look like?
And I mean, there's all these types of things, but I think at the core it's really about an awakening around these. This is my [00:32:00] passion. I want to be inspired, motivated, and passionate about what I'm doing. And I want to know that what I'm doing each day is having a positive impact for myself, for my family, for my community, and then ultimately, The longer legacy of what is that impacting on the world?
And it all kind of feeds into that sustainability conversation. Um, if you go really, really broad, and I think when you talk to business leaders, you know, they're, they're all very much aware of this. Um, you know, you've got the un sustainability goals that have been mapped out now, and it's, you know, if you had gone back 10 years when we talked about sustainability, it was about, it was solely about the environment.
It was solely about public infrastructure. It was, [00:33:00] how do we get cars off the road? How do we coal power? You know, decommissioned and how do we switch to renewable energy? That was the brunt of the conversation. And then we started to evolve to, well, geez, we need to be thinking about our forest. We need to be thinking about, um, you know, the animals and sustainable fishing and, um, sustainable livestock, um, raising, We need to be looking at farming.
How do we feed the world in a way that doesn't strip us down to a monoculture? Um, you know, and we've been, we keep making leaps and bounds towards these different goals. Um, and each time we do, we learn a little bit more and we refine it a little bit more and tweak it. And so what I think is kind of cool about the UN sustainability goals is they're talking about.
Sustainability in terms of, you know, a [00:34:00] sustainable workforce, a sustainable environment of sustainable, you know, everything Like, these are all these core tenants of civilization. How do we make those, um, you know, how do we really impact sustainability across that? And it's, it's a really interesting conversation that's happening globally.
I don't think anybody has the answer. And I think if his, anything history teaches us that, um, we will continue learning because there are things that are built into our current understanding of sustainability that 10 years down the road we may go, Ooh, we forgot about we, we accidentally left something behind over here.
We need to figure out how to tweak to bring that back in. Um, and we'll continue to do that. It's a journey. It's, it's a, not it, you know, And. I think sustainability, it's a, it's a long term commitment. It's something that, it's not [00:35:00] overnight. There's no magic pill. It's a mindset. It's a collective mindset that we put ourselves into to essentially at the core do better.
What that do better looks like. We can experiment with, we can toy with, we can play with. But what we know though, from like the last 10 years in this transformative era that we're going through, what we've realized is that, that do better. It's probably outside of the box of our current understanding. And so you see all these things and you know, You've got the spectrum across society, whether it be politically, socially, economically, whatever it is.
You have people that can't wait to get to that next stage and level and are coming up with those creative [00:36:00] solutions, championing those creative solutions that I want it now. And then on the other end you have, well, uh, wait a minute, I'm not so sure I'm ready for that. And I think the big challenge that we have is how do we feed the needs of everybody?
And I think those people that are ready to take action now and do that transformative change, go to that next step, do that experimenting, play around with that new idea. How do we empower them and celebrate them and let them roll forward? And then those that aren't quite ready, how do we support them?
And kind of say, you know, Hey, we understand it, We get it. You're gonna, you are a spectator. You're gonna watch and see it unfold because you want the proof in the pudding before you buy in 100%. And so it's really meeting people across that entire spectrum I think is really [00:37:00] important to consider.
We all are gonna have to play a part in this, but coming in and saying, Okay, everybody, we're taking vegetables out of the grocery store, you're now growing your own . You're gonna freak a lot of people out. It's not for everybody. Yeah. Not everybody wants or feels comfortable jumping into geothermal for various different reasons.
Sometimes just geographically where you're located, it's just not really a viable option. Some of us live in areas where solar panels just make sense. If you were to go to Northern Norway where land of the midnight sun part of the year, you're gonna be fine. Part of the year, there's no sun. So what are you going to do?
So, we can't just phase out things completely, but how do we figure out, you know, And then same thing with one of the things that popped up [00:38:00] recently was that new, you know the water usage in the west and that reallocation of water resources that occurred, that's gonna drive a lot of new conversations.
This is a scarce resource. Who knows weather climate, It's, it can be crazy and there's a lot of unpredictability that goes into it. But five years from now, out of reasons that we don't currently understand. We might start getting monsoon weather in the desert Southwest, and all of a sudden, oh, we've got a whole different set of things that we're dealing with.
But the current reality is, yeah, maybe lush green longs don't make sense right now, but we've gotta, how do we prioritize? What does that look like? And then, you know, how can we make individual choices that aid in that? In the long run, surprisingly enough, a lot of times those individual [00:39:00] choices to shift towards more sustainable thing actually eventually become economic incentives, because switching from, you know, Yeah, I love having my lush brainin lawn.
But the last two summers, you know, the first year we lived in this house, the, actually the first two summers, The lawn was always green, gorgeous. I mean, green grass. The plants were lush. Everything was happy. I didn't ever water it. I don't have a watering system, but the last two summers had been very, very dry.
Now, three weeks ago, we got a de of rain and everything's greened up again, and we're good to go, so fine. But I'll be honest, in July I was starting to look and go, hmm. Maybe doing some sort of native prairie planting flowers and grasses in a couple [00:40:00] sections of the lawn, and having that go over to something.
There are plants that are more drug tolerant. The roots go a lot deeper to tap into the groundwater. It's more sustainable. And not to mention, you know, all I love the flowers in the garden and all the native bees that you see and the butterflies and the birds and the wildlife. I could do a little bit less with the squirrels, , they like my tomatoes.
But it's cool seeing all that wildlife in nature in your backyard. But that's a, that is a thought that I was having at an individual level. Then it rained a lot and so that obviously changed. But part of me is still kind of thinking like there's my boulevard, which is very hard to water.
I don't wanna be dumping water onto my landscape. I would like to be able to prioritize my water usage towards other things. I live in a part of the country where water resources are not merely as scars and controversial as other parts of [00:41:00] the country, but, and I'm very lucky and fortunate for that. But I also still wanna be a mindful steward of the water usage that I am using.
And so, you know, that is the thing that I can do on an individual level is adopt a landscaping format that is more conducive to drought tolerant plants, things that'll just do better in the environment, give back more to the wildlife around me and stuff. Obviously being in an urban setting, I think that there's a little bit of a different way that you tackle that because, Neat groomed landscapes is kind of a thing that people wanna see and you don't wanna upset your neighbors, but, carve out a strip of planting bed that can be native plants.
And then just kind of expand that a little bit and expand that a little bit. And I've seen places where they've done native [00:42:00] prairie plantings for the landscape, like around corporate campuses and stuff. It's gorgeous. It's absolutely stunning when done well. And I think that's another area where education plays in a big part because up until recent era, to go back to the extreme, the 1950s lush, green lawn, perfect house, everything manicured has been sold as the American dream.
and maybe the American dream is something different going forward, more sustainable. Maybe the American dream is more of a native plantings landscape type of thing. I mean, what does that look like? And we're playing with that. We're figuring it out. We're toying with a lot of different ideas.
I think one of the cool things is I see the next gen, not the millennial generation, although the [00:43:00] millennial generation that we're in, I think is doing a lot. We're seeing a lot of cool stuff with the baby boomers cuz baby boomers are like, what kind of world are we leaving to the next generation?
But I think the real magic is gonna happen in that next generation that's just starting to graduate from college right now. And I think it'll be really interesting to see. How they interpret their ideal American dream, their packaged world experience. I think it's gonna be more worldly. I think they're probably going to, they're gonna be much more well traveled.
They're going to, but they, I think they're coming up in a world where their world purview is not like I look at when I grew up, it was my small town in northern Minnesota. I graduated in 98 from high school. The internet was still dial up access at that point. [00:44:00] I think we might have had a dedicated internet line by the time I graduated high school, but I don't think so.
I think I still had dial up internet with that modem sound that, only some of us know what that sound sounds like into college even. But, When I think of what my worldview was growing up in high school in the nineties, it was small town usa. Like I had very little understanding of what it was to live in a medium sized town.
I mean, there were like literally 10,000 people in my hometown, small town, let alone in a big city, let alone what would life be like in New York City. This generation is coming of age where not only do they have an active view port through social media, YouTube, television, and everything else to the entire global [00:45:00] community, but they are forging relationships across the globe at record pace.
And so it's a very, very different. Viewpoint of that global experience. So I think it's gonna be really interesting to see what this next generation coming up is going do in terms of that general life experience. I, I'm looking forward to seeing it like it.
Stu Murray: I like it. You've got a really positive, optimistic out outlook on things, and I, I appreciate that and that, I think that's something we can, can put out there as we co-create these new stories about what things can look like.
And as you said, like even redefining what beauty looks like beyond that lush green lawn and, and creating these new natural landscapes that offer beauty of a, of a different kind and. More indigenous, uh, kind, a native kind to the [00:46:00] land itself. And not only could it look beautiful, but it can sequester more water, it can prevent runoff and flooding into our streets.
And it just, it can do so, so much creating those landscapes for all the different plants and all these different things. One, one thing I wonder is like while we're in this time of growing polarization, we're at a crossroads, I think, where we could go in, in multiple different directions with these things.
And I think we do need to stay as optimistic as I feel I'm cautiously optimistic about these directions that we could go in, uh, because I see, for example, how we have dealt with the, the medical issues of the last couple years with these growing polarizations or how it's even looking now on the environmental front, people are seeming to divide our path forward as as sides.
And we're we're sides, right? So there's us versus them, us versus them. And I'm concerned if we choose that as a trajectory forward [00:47:00] that we're going to have to go up against and, and battle against one another on these platforms and on these stages. And you mentioned something earlier as you were speaking about, again, really inspiring and empowering and motivating people rather than forcing change.
You said not everybody's going to be the early adapters and not everybody's even going to be the, the middle level. There's going to be hesitancy and I've. Having studied environmental studies, environmental science and university, I was much more of a, an aggressive liberal when it came to political change, political transformation.
And I've really, I've changed my tune and my thoughts around that over time. And I've started to empathize more so as well with that conservative, I, I understand where they're coming from because these people where I thought before is, well, they're just oil loving, fossil fuel guzzling, you know, And, and it's just, it's inaccurate.
I think everybody. [00:48:00] Cares and they just have different priorities, right? And so I think that conservative ideal is a lot more around putting food on the plate and, and taking care of the families and these things. And sometimes these people are seeing that, uh, environmental movements could be a threat to, to their livelihood.
And in some cases they are actually correct. Like what we're having in Canada is some really serious carbon taxes that are being laid on. In the, at the exact same time that we're trying to battle the biggest inflation we've seen in over four decades. And when those things start stacking on top of one another, when we put in a carbon tax here, I, and I'm not against carbon taxes, but it has to be strategic because when it comes down the way it is, it's hitting the people in the households.
And so we're having growing economic insecurity at the household level, and that's going to put a further struggle on the food that they can be able to procure. And all of these different, the time that they have, oh, now they need to get a second [00:49:00] job. So their ability to start a garden is now compromised.
So there's so many other factors that need to be considered as we move forward and, and. I really hope, and I, it's largely the reason why I started this podcast is that I see these growing polarities in society and sometimes I, I wonder, are we heading towards a civil war? And really like, I want to see us unite the polarities, have these conversations and stand in our different beliefs, but be able to understand and hold space for understanding those we disagree with, understanding their reasons and their perspectives and find common ground as we move forward.
Christopher Mohs: I think so in that vein, I, I think one of the things that is important to remember is politics, news. A lot of that is theater. A lot of that is how do I get a rise out of the other side? And to your point, some of it [00:50:00] is, Competitive nature. It's almost like taking politics to the football field. In terms of a, and I'm thinking American football and how that competitive, you know, that's a very cultural thing here.
And it's in order to win, I have to beat someone. And I think what I, what gives me hope is that what I see on that local level is there are struggles, there are frustrations, but there are a lot of people that are a place of listening and a place of, here's some common ground where we can start working on things and then move out from there.
I think one of the challenges that we have globally, and that governments are trying to solve and big corporations are trying to solve is this [00:51:00] imposed deadline of we have to get to this point of, we, we have to like somehow prevent this point of no return from occurring. There's not a lot of consensus on exactly what that point of no return is, what that looks like.
And the reality is I don't think science or anybody else fully knows the answer to that because these aren't, nature is not predictable. I mean we can make predictions, but it's not like we can say it's going to rain tomorrow. We can say these conditions seem to make it look like it's going rain tomorrow, but.
It may not actually rain tomorrow. I mean, that's the nature of nature, environment. So where's that threshold and stuff? And I think it's important to, there are things that government, large corporations, probably need to focus on and do. And [00:52:00] there are really smart people and really highly capable people tackling those things and experimenting.
And some of them are pushing harder than others, and it'll even itself out, and it does what it's supposed to do. But I think the average person, people like you and I on the ground, living our life day to day, sometimes gets sucked up into that and into that drama, which at the end of the day, a lot of the the politics is driven by the media.
The media is driven today by clicks. So everything is written position to make you click and read cause it's revenue driven. I think having an awareness and understanding of that is critical. I think some people very easily get sucked into it and lost and it gets frustrating to see loved ones falling [00:53:00] into that, into that category.
But I do think that type of education around how all that those systems work is important to really understand because then you're acknowledging it and taking it for what it is and going. Okay. And the exciting thing is, is that, you know, I'm starting to see innovators even within journalism that are stepping out and saying, you know what?
No, I want to be a source of information that isn't here to try to drive clicks. I'm going to present information that is trustworthy, reliable, Even ke doesn't, isn't designed to rock the boat. And I'm going to trust that I'm going to gather a micro audience of people that are [00:54:00] looking for that break, looking for that relief.
I can't tell you the last time I watched network television or network news. I just don't, I, I've zeroed in on a couple influencers on primarily on, Instagram not intending to endorse one social platform over another by any stretch of the imagination. I think they all have their challenges, but.
There's a couple influencers on Instagram that I now follow that are really taking this premise of, I'm just presenting to you the strip down. This is what's happening. This is what it means. Yes, this side is saying this and this side is saying this, but the facts are this. Now take that as you will. Yeah.
And incorporate that into your general knowledge and [00:55:00] understanding and make decisions. When it comes down to time for us to make decisions when election time and such that, makes sense for your understanding of the topic. And one of the things that I love, one of 'em is just very straightforward and she's very much, this fact, this is what it is.
You know, might it go this way? Sure. Might it go the other way? Maybe, but we don't know. That hasn't been decided. This system has to play itself out first, or this system has to play itself out first. But let me explain to you that political process and what that looks like, or let me explain to you the nuances of how the Supreme Court comes to a decision, or let me explain to you what goes into, you know, agency review things.
And I think that that's really powerful. It's another one of those changes that we're seeing happen. You [00:56:00] see it a little bit with cnn. They kind of announced that they were gonna try take a different direction with their format. Seemed like they were going a little bit more.
Of a just straight up news anchor desk format as opposed to opinion shows. Whether that materializes or not, I don't know, but I think that that's, you know, being in this media world, that's one of the things that we're trying to do with Shg Living is we don't really, I, there's ideas that come from both sides.
There's things that can be there that might get us to the end game, but at the end of the day, we just really wanna focus on the individual. We wanna, we wanna share ideas, share information. We were not intending for it to be controversial. We don't want it, It shouldn't be, you know, a desire to live a healthier, sustainable [00:57:00] life.
I think it's something we can all get on board with. I mean, nobody is raising their hand and saying, Well, no, you know what? I, I would rather skip the vegetables and increase my chance of getting a horrible disease later in life tenfold. Nobody's signing up for that. Nobody's volunteering for that. And so, on an individual level, we wanna make these changes.
I think we wanna be more sustainable, We wanna live more sustainably. I think where the differing and opinion is, is where is that happening and where is that we there being dictated from? Yeah. And how do we get there? And there's a, like I said before, there's a place for governments, there's a place for large corporations and there's a place for small businesses.
And the individual, I think, where the biggest impact can happen. Is small businesses in the individual. It's at [00:58:00] local level. It's the community level. I think that's where the big, it's the, it's the community that decides, you know what, no, I don't want a coal fired power plant out on the outskirts of town.
I don't want that there. I don't, I would rather prioritize something else. What can that something else be? For some communities it's wind. For other communities, it's solar farms. For other communities, it's how do we get solar panels onto our houses and make each individual house a little bit more self sustainable off the grid?
It takes on, there's like we've been talking about, there's a million different ways to approach it. And how we tackle that is as individual as each community and each individual within that community. And I think. The big part of the magic and how we solve this is how do we educate and empower each individual to [00:59:00] make those choices that are right for them?
Cuz then they're gonna feel good about that contribution and then when they feel good about that contribution, they're going to wanna take that further and take that to the next step. And I think that what we're doing with Shg Living is a small piece of that challenge. And you know, like I, I've said, you know, it's taking those big challenges and how do we package those into the home environment, into that individual lifestyle habits and use those to propel our individual footprint, influence and educate and motivate our neighbors the broader community.
And then let that pulse out and make a difference.
Stu Murray: I love that, Christopher. And I agree, like I, I share very much that, that same point. And I think it's important for us [01:00:00] when we do get caught in these stories of that growing polarization to turn things off, go out in nature first, take a breath and come back to our local communities and remember that we all fundamentally want that same thing, is a good life for ourselves, a good life for our families, a good life for our community at large.
And that strong, resilient d diverse communities. And that's diversity not only in our environment, not only diversity of the resources that we're using and all of these different tools, but diversity of speech, diversity of thought. And we need to respect people's opinions and ways of going about things.
Cuz only through mutual respect and that deeper sense of connection will we actually. From my delusional perspective, be able to influence a sustainable change that actually empowers and motivates people at that individual level. Because I agree with you, I think that lasting change will come at that small business community, individual level that we need to really build up.
And, and [01:01:00] so that's really it. And I really believe in my heart that every single human, when we're healthy, every single human wants to be of service. And tapping into, well, what's that look like for me to be of service? What's that look like for me to, as you said, awaken into that passion driven life and tap into what that is for me and how I can contribute.
And for me, something that, a theme that's been coming up along with sustainability and empowerment and uniting those polarities is healing. And I think, mm-hmm. , we're emerging from these ages of. I've inherited intergenerational trauma, and I, I've been quite hopeful because it seems like we're talking about mental health and talking about these things more than ever.
And I hope we continue to lean into that in a more and more authentic and genuine way so that we can heal ourselves, heal our patterns, the ways that we react to people we disagree with, the ways we react to things [01:02:00] outside of us that might not sit comfortably and find a space that we can approach that so that I can contribute to my healing and so that I can hold space for, for others to, to be a part of that process of the collective healing that we need to go through.
Because ultimately, I agree with you that we all do want that same thing and there is a bright future waiting for
Christopher Mohs: us. Yeah. Yeah. And it's not always comfortable. It's can be incredibly difficult to acknowledge sometimes, but Yeah. But I think the key is listening and just being open to what. Other experiences are, I think at the core each of us has a different life experience.
And I guess if there's one thing that social media has brought to the world, I think is we've got a generation of people coming forward that have grown up laying out their dirty laundry, so to speak. Whereas, you know before it was like, Oh no, Rick, you know what happens behind closed doors [01:03:00] is behind closed doors.
We share so much more. So it's, it's creating more honesty, more openness, and part of that process is incredibly hard because some of us are, like you said, we're revealing trauma, we're revealing difficulties. But some of us have to acknowledge our role in some of the trauma that may have been inflicted.
Whether intentional or not. And and I don't think anybody has a direct distinct intention of causing harm on anybody, but, there are, there's always areas where we can improve and there's, it's human interaction really, when you think about it. It's human interaction. It's like, it's as basic and primal as the elementary school [01:04:00] playground.
And some of us are able to rise above a, some of us get stuck in that. Some of us don't understand why we're in that place. But, listening, feeling, just recognizing. I think the easiest thing is just to recognize we each have our own experience and we each have our own story and we each have our own part to play.
And respecting that is a really good first step to general healing and understanding and moving forward as a community. And so, yeah. That's
Stu Murray: why I have this. I agree more I agree. And I think there's that term toxic masculinity that's been brought up more and more as we, as we become more aware of that patriarchal influence that we've had in society.
But sometimes I wonder [01:05:00] if that term is doing more damage than it's doing service. Because, because I think it's important to acknowledge the, i, the aspect of toxic masculinity, but I, I wonder if it shifts us away from our focus on what it actually means to be a man. And what I think often toxic masculinity really means when I try and unpack it and actually reference that in a pragmatic sort of way as like, okay, so what do I do with that?
I think. What I see is that when somebody's referencing toxic masculinity, it's, it's where they're looking for manhood and masculinity in an adult form, and they're seeing an adolescent to a child. And we haven't really reached that stage of maturity where we're coming out of those playground politics and these, these really, Oh, he did this to me.
I'm gonna do that to them. Or, you know, that the little kid doesn't, the little boy doesn't cry. All of these [01:06:00] kind of things where we have these bottled up expressions, we have not, we don't have rights of passage in our society, and so I think so many of us are, are in adult bodies, but stuck in adolescent minds and mm-hmm.
I wonder if there's an aspect of that as, as we move forward. So I, I think there is value in acknowledging that, but what is it that we're really looking to, to gather when we talk about toxic masculinity, when we talk about these things, how do we leverage well, and one thing that constructive way.
Christopher Mohs: Yeah. And one thing that, you know, I mean, back to the theater thing, you know, politics of theater, toxic masculinity, what does that, we, we kind of have an understanding of what that means, but it sometimes gets tossed out there and used as a way to separate and divide in the way like wokeness or, feminism or, there's so many [01:07:00] different terms that we come up with that become tools to say you're either for or you're against when the reality is, is, We just need to be mindful and respectful of where each individual is coming from in their own unique experience.
Because one person's, I mean, I experienced this even within my own family, among my siblings, we grew up in the same household. We have the same parents, same upbringing and stuff. We all had very different interests because our parents raised us to be very unique individuals. It was like, where's your passion?
Go for it. And my passion was one direction. My brothers is another, my sister is another area and, and stuff. But there are moments even as siblings where we don't always see eye to eye. And I think we can all relate to situations in our families, like really going to that granular [01:08:00] level that, you know, we might not see eye to eye with another sibling because the reality is, is.
What happened to me on the playground in third grade is a very different experience than what my brother had on the playground in third grade for a myriad of different reasons. But social structure, development through childhood takes on very different. We all have that part to play. I mean, if you look at the playground, we all can identify those specific parts that are there, and then you have the spectators and you know, our adult life in some ways is influenced by that experience.
And, but what I think is cool is at the end of the day, at the end of an argument, at the disagreement, you might step away for a couple minutes, but you still come back as a family. You're still a family. You still [01:09:00] have that commonality, that common goal, that common purpose, and. You don't just walk away from family.
I mean, in some ways, obviously there are instances where that's not always the case, but I think most of us have that experience where, you know, whether it's our actual family or our chosen family, there is that connection. There is that unbreakable bond that no matter what the disagreement is, we can overcome that.
So how do we take that unit and expand that out larger? And so next time you're having a disagreement with somebody that is outside of that core unit and you're feeling like you're at an impasse, think to yourself like, Okay, how would I approach this if this was my brother? How would I approach this if this was my sister?
How would I approach this if this was my aunt? And come back to that with that kind of empathy and [01:10:00] compassion that you would have for a family member and. Let that dictate the conversation because what instinctively we're going to do is say, Wait a minute, I've upset you and I don't wanna upset you cuz I care about you.
I care about your feelings. So I'm gonna take a step back. I'm gonna let you get this off your chest. I'm gonna listen. I'm gonna hear where you're coming from, and then I'm gonna say, I hear you. I understand. And then the conversation continues forward as opposed to finding gridlock. And I think listening is probably the biggest skill that any of us can hone when it comes to these conversations and these discussions.
Just take a moment. Let sometimes we just need to vent. I can't tell you how many times I hop on the phone with my mother-in-law. And I'm just like, Oh my gosh, [01:11:00] let me just tell you about this experience. And she gives me the, It's something that I used to do with my father a lot, before he passed away.
And it's just, you know, it. Cause we all need that release. We all need that person in our life that we can just kind of go to. And that person on the other end, they know I'm listening, I'm hearing, I'm rolling. But I also recognize that as soon as you're done and you calm down, you're gonna loop back and start going, Oh, I get, you know, I understand where they're coming from.
You guys be overreacting about this, that, and I think we all need to be able to have that opportunity. And I think when, instead of being a force to. Basically cause the colder to boil over, if we can all step back and be like, You know what, let's let it come down to a nice simmer [01:12:00] and we'll let the pot pool and then we'll continue forward and think of how much further we get.
Yeah. When we do that, and we all can relate to instances where the conver where in the conversation we've done that, where we just, you know, just let it come down to a cool temperature and then we roll forward again. Cause flying forward when both pots are boiling over doesn't get us anywhere. So yeah, I think that that's, that's a big part of it.
It's just listen. Yeah, take it in. And it's amazing also what we can learn when we take it in because there are so many aspects of other experiences around us that inform how they react to different things. That if you take the moment to step back and listen. You can actually learn so much and then your world view and collective understanding of what's around you becomes that [01:13:00] much more improved.
Stu Murray: I couldn't agree more. I think that's such a wise teaching and an important note to, to talk about. And it's, for me, what comes up there, Christopher, is that idea of reacting versus responding and being able to take that space in between and bring humility into our relationships.
Like what is my goal here? Is it to be right or is it to move into deeper connection and deeper understanding? And I really have been meditating on this concept of relationship as a mirror and. In that way, it's allowed me to bring more humility because where I would have typically reacted with an accusatory style approach and said, Well, this is everything that's wrong with that other person, I can stop and say, Well, what is it in my myself that I'm seeing, that I'm reacting to when I'm in relation with this other person that's bringing up uncomfortable feelings within me?[01:14:00]
And when I am mindful enough and slow down enough and take enough space to be able to step into that, I've just noticed such a deepening in my relationships and even when I don't, I'm learning to have the humility to be able to admit that I was too fiery in that moment. , you know, that I was all of these things because I am at times very much that, and to step back and say, Listen, I am sorry.
I wasn't my best self in that moment, and I hear what you were saying. And an offer, maybe here's a boundary that I had, or here's how I could be supported differently, or whatever that is. It's gonna look different every single time. But really to come back to what is my goal here? Is it to be right? Or do I genuinely wanna move into deeper connection, deeper understanding, and move towards individual and collective healing.
And for me, that's dropping down [01:15:00] into my heart and becoming more and more true.
Christopher Mohs: Yep. And when you tap deep inside and focus on what your inner needs are and then build a life around that, I think that's when you start to feel more empowered, more free, more liberated, more, I mean, really you can tackle anything when you allow yourself the space to really find your true destiny, what really takes you forward personally.
Stu Murray: I love that. I love that. I think that's some beautiful notes to be wrapping up our conversation on and leave people with, cuz that's that kind of way of relating with ourselves and with others. I, I really do believe we'll bring that more beautiful world that you've spoken about throughout this [01:16:00] conversation.
So if people are looking to tap into that smart, healthy, green living network, if they want to connect with you, if they're interested in hearing more or diving in and getting inspired themselves through these videos, where can they go?
Christopher Mohs: So easiest thing, just go to s hg living.com. There's links there to all the different app stores.
If you wanna watch on Apple tv, Roku, wherever you wanna watch your phone at night before you go to bed, to get some last minute inspiration to send you off into dreamland of your future sustainable garden,, you know that's the best place to go and that links to our social handles and stuff as well.
And you can join a community of people that are passionate about a greener tomorrow and really focusing in on that smart, healthy green lifestyle that I think is really gonna change the world.
Stu Murray: That's [01:17:00] beautiful. I look forward to diving in deeper myself as I move forward in my next phases of the sustainability journey.
Christopher Mohs: Is there wanna tag, tag us so that we can follow those? Because I wanna, I wanna see what you do. I wanna see what you
Stu Murray: do. Yeah, I'll, I will absolutely do that. I've got, I've got some big plans, so as I channel that inspiration through the videos, I'll, I'll keep you guys in and tagged, and up
Is there any last, messages that you'd like to leave people with as we sign off?
Christopher Mohs: You know, I think the biggest thing that I would lead people with, I mean, we've covered so much stuff, but I think, the biggest, the one thing that I would say is don't allow yourself to become overwhelmed by all of the theater, all of the scary things that are all around you.
Because at the end of the day, each of us in democratic societies around [01:18:00] the globe, we have one moment where we can impact that global impact. And that's on election day, But, We can adopt simple habits every single day. Find out one thing, figure out how to incorporate that in, and just slowly start evolving and taking those steps and just do it at your own pace.
Do what makes sense for you. Experiment a little bit, Play a little bit. Inspire others around you, but don't get over. Don't allow yourself to get overwhelmed. Just take it one step at a time and find what drives your passion, what motivates you, and let that lead you.
Stu Murray: I love that.
I love that. Thank you so much, Christopher, for taking the time.
I appreciated this conversation