Aaron Perry


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  • Episode 38 – Brad Lidge, World Series Champ on Slowing Down & Evolving
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Stewardship & Sustainability Series
Episode 38 - Brad Lidge, World Series Champ on Slowing Down & Evolving

World Series champion, archeologist, father, husband, and philanthropist, Brad (“Lights Out”) Lidge discusses the essential importance of getting outside our comfort zones to learn, evolve, and massively mobilize sustainability.

After finishing his illustrious career with the Houston Astros and the Philadelphia Phillies (for whom he threw the winning pitch in the 2008 World Series), Brad finished his undergraduate degree in Religious Studies (begun at Notre Dame prior to being drafted to the majors, finished at Regis University after baseball) and then went on to get a Master’s Degree in Archeology from the University of Leicester in England. An expert in Ancient Roman architecture and artifacts, Brad is dismayed that the plastics now found in North American digs over 50 years old require archeological documenting – thus, we modern humans have become the “Plastic People.” We need to evolve beyond that!

Enthralled by the amazing culture of Italy – where the “Slow Food” movement was born – Brad and his family have spent several summers on archeological digs there – where a closeness with the soil, the land, and the sacred olive trees (each of which has to be registered with the Italian government) is a delightful side effect of the pace of life there.

Here in Colorado, when he’s not helping his wife Lindsay with her new cut flowers business, Brad is coaching his son’s baseball team, attending his daughter’s cello performances, and serving on the Boards of both Project Cure and the Y on Earth Community. Brad tells us that it is imperative that we each “get outside our comfort zone” in order to learn, to grow, and to help transcend the destructive trappings of modern, plastic, non-sustainable culture. He shares how his days playing baseball – which required a close connection with the seasonal cycles of Mother Nature, and for which each and every baseball is rubbed with a special mud from the Deleware River before every game – allowed him ample time to read more history, and to cultivate a deeper connection with landscapes all around the country.

A true modern-day hero, Brad Lidge shares some simple, grounded wisdom that we can all benefit from – including the fundamental importance of deep breathing to reduce stress! (You can catch more of Brad at the upcoming 3-day summit: “Massively Mobilizing Sustainability: Deep Leadership for the 21st Century” (May 17-19, 2019) – use the special code: COMMUNITY for a 50% discount on your all-access VIP ticket today! – https://yonearth.org/events/summit2019/)


(Automatically generated transcript for search engine optimization and reference purposes – grammatical and spelling errors may exist.)

Welcome to the YonEarth Communities Stewardship and Sustainability podcast series.

Today we have visiting with us Brad Lidge.

Hi Brad.

Aaron, how’s it going?


How are you doing today?

I’m doing fantastic.

Just another great spring day here in Colorado, so beautiful.

I always appreciate him, yep.


For our audience members who don’t know Brad, Brad Lidge.

Lidge has a very interesting background and perspective that he’s going to be sharing

with us today.

He did part of his studies in religious studies at Notre Dame and then finished his undergraduate

degree, his bachelor’s degree at University of Regis in Denver.

He then went on to do a master’s in archaeology and ancient history at the University of

Lester in England.

Brad has expertise in Roman archaeology and European history in general and has a very interesting

perspective when it comes to talking about issues of stewardship and sustainability.

However, some of our audience may know Brad for his ability to throw a baseball and he

of course played professional baseball with the Houston Astros and the Philadelphia

Phillies and with the nickname Lights Out Lidge, Brad through the winning pitch in the 2008

World Series with the Phillies and that was a great moment of joy and victory and accomplishment.

And Brad, with that background which is so interesting and so diverse, I want to just

thank you for joining us on the show today and I’m really looking forward to hearing your

perspective on these topics of stewardship and sustainability.

So I will dive right in and ask you, we’ll get back to baseball a little later.

But I’ll ask you, from your perspective right now, what is the most important set of issues

for us to be thinking about and acting on when it comes to stewardship and sustainability?

Well, I mean, there’s a lot of stuff, right?

I mean, when I think about the world as it is today and politics and all the other things

that we try and wrap our brains around, it becomes just in my opinion more and more vital

for us to figure out and to have a game plan of what we want to do and what we want to accomplish.

There are certainly a lot of different venues and avenues that we can go down to help support


Obviously, I’m very proud to be a part of Y and Earth and I’m very proud of it because

I believe in the things that you have done and the steps that we’re taking to be able

to deliver that sustainability.

But I think for myself, it’s interesting, for my background coming out of baseball and

being retired, there was a lot of different things I could attach myself to in terms of

maybe some charities that I wanted to be with, things that were important to me.

And I think that for myself, I’ve got two kids, Avery and Rowan, they’re amazing.

Avery’s 14 now, Rowan’s 10, I can’t believe how fast time has gone since I have retired.

It seems like I just retired, but it’s already been five years, so it’s given me a lot

of opportunity and a chance to think about the things that are important to me.

Like I said, we all have the opportunities to be able to help out in different directions

that we want to, but certainly for me, being able to pass on something to my kids that

I’m super proud of, that they can see every single day in their lives, sustainability,

helping our planet in any possible way that we can.

That’s one of the things that I’m most proud of.

For me, it was kind of a no-brainer to try and figure out how I could do that.

There’s other things, of course, that are important to us as a family, but this is something

that we live with every single day.

We’ve been able to get some land, and we’re starting to, my wife’s doing a flop, my wife

Lindsay is doing a flower farm, and we’re really excited about that.

We’ve got that up and running this year, Revery Fields, if anyone’s looking for flowers.

You know the website, is there a website for that?

Reveryfields.com, I think we need to, I think I need to probably go back and look at that.

No problem.

Revery Fields.

We’ll get that in the show notes for everybody.

Yeah, yeah, sorry about that.

We just decided on the name not long ago, and the website, the Dominion, everything else.

There’s a whole lot that goes into this that I wasn’t really, that I didn’t know about,

so it’s been an interesting learning process for us and it’s been very exciting as well,

anyway, so Revery Fields it is, and so beyond that, though, we’ve got some land, and we’re

just trying to do, I think, our part, and trying to find things that we can do to make

this our lot at least more sustainable.

I mean, we’re trying to guard as much as we can, and eat from that garden.

We’re fortunate to have some fruit trees.

We’re just trying to do a little bit every single day to feel good about accomplishing

our goals.


Well, to me, it’s so amazing the game plan that you and Lindsay have put together, obviously

after a successful career in baseball, you could really be doing just about anything you

want to at this point, and to make the land stewardship, the growing of flowers to

share with others in the community, to make that one of the priorities, I think, it’s

really telling, and to me, a beautiful example of how you and Lindsay are a power couple

in the sense of stewardship and sustainability power with her background in herbal medicine

and holistic nutrition, and all the things that you’re involved in.

I mean, it’s just beautiful what you guys are doing in the community.

Well, thanks.

You know, I definitely, as I said, I’m real proud to be able to help her out and to be

able to kind of do my part with all of this, and again, I think for me, when your kids

are young, they’re kind of paying attention, some of the things you’re doing a lot of times

are not, right?

A lot of times, a lot of things you’re saying is going one year and out the other.

But we are, at some point, going to turn our planet over to them, and they’re going

to turn it over to their kids and so on and so forth, and I think that for me, knowing

that I’ve done my part, you know, when my time comes to be able to pass on what I believe

in and what I think is important, but also vital for our planet to be able to pass that

on and what I’ve done to my kids, you know, again, that’s something I’m very proud of.

And I really enjoyed doing it, too.

It’s one of those deals where I know more about farming and sustainable practices than

I ever thought I would when I first retired, but the more and more I get into it, the

more I realize how big the picture is, and how much more I could be doing.

So, you know, it’s one of those deals where I think you just have to keep striving to

do more and to push yourself to do more.


Well, I’m so thrilled to know that not only, and this is, you know, in full disclosure,

not only are you on the board of directors of the Y Honors community, you’re also on

the board of another great nonprofit called Project Cure.

And in this way, doing a lot of work for folks all around the world who otherwise wouldn’t

have access to the resources that you all at Project Cure are helping them with.

And I was hoping you could just share a little with the audience about Project Cure and what

you guys are doing there.


Thank you.

I mean, I’d appreciate you bringing that up.

Another thing that I’ve been very proud of, and I actually jumped on the board at Project

Cure in 2009.

And I’ve been able to work with them, and obviously I was still playing baseball at that point,

but being able to, you know, it’s, there’s a lot of different ways you can help, you know,

sources to be able to help out different, different charities.

And in my part was to try and get some funds from the offices at MLB, the players union,

actually, as it has this kind of resource of finances.

And because they work with countries like the Dominican, you know, we’re able to go over

there, and essentially Project Cure’s MMO, they take medical equipment in our country

that’s not being used, excuse me, it’s actually just sitting in warehouses.

And you know, it’s amazing.

I mean, you’ll get a pair of, uh, a forceps that have an expiration date on them, right?

And it’s like, you know, they never get out of the package and then a couple of years

go by and all of a sudden they’re expired.

And instead of, you know, being able to use this medical equipment, you can’t use expired

medical equipment in that, you know, in that profession, it’s a big no-no.

So it goes to a warehouse and it gets, you know, it gets stored there for a while and you

have to pay fees associated with storing medical equipment for some of these hospitals or

you have to pay fees to dispose of it.

And what a waste, right?

I mean, that’s so crazy.

But Project Cure, we’ve been able to take this medical equipment and deliver it to third

world countries that are in need, shipping over containers and, you know, it’s been a

really cool thing to see how impactful it’s been in a lot of countries.

I mean, obviously, you know, Haiti had its time where it was in dire straits and we were

able to do a lot, obviously Haiti being connected to the Dominican Republic.

So, you know, it’s something that I’ve been real proud of being a part of and I have been

on the board there for a while now and it’s a pretty impressive infrastructure right here

in Colorado, down in South Denver and it’s been a blast to be a part of Doug Jackson,

the president there does a great job.

That’s absolutely wonderful.

Well, and of course, with the Y on Earth community, we have coming up quite soon a really

big three-day summit that you’re a part of, you’re one of the VIP speakers at that event.

And I’m so thrilled knowing who’s going to be there, that you’ll be there and some of

our other friends and colleagues and also who’s going to be in attendance.

It’s just, it’s going to be a tremendous experience for all of us and in a great networking

opportunity, a great way to continue cultivating relationships with all kinds of folks doing

really important work here in Colorado and all around the country.

And just so thrilled, Brad, that you’re going to be there and I’m wondering if you might

give us a little foreshadow, a little hint as to what you’ll be talking about.

Well, yeah, I think, you know, there’s a few things that I’m pretty passionate about

when it comes down to it.

Of course, in the realm of sustainability and, you know, I think there are certain ways

that we can apply ourselves and our talents to be, I guess, leaders in the field.

I mean, for me, like, I don’t have a background in this stuff, but I know that I can still do

things that are out of my comfort zone because a lot of times that’s what it takes to be

a leader.

I really feel like, you know, it’s easy to stay within the parameters of what you know.

And that’s great.

People, they know sustainability and it’s amazing.

And that’s their path.

But for me, that wasn’t my path until more recently.

And I learned I have to get out of my comfort zone and push myself a little bit toward it.

But when I do that, the rewards have been incredible.

So, you know, I’ll be kind of dancing around, I guess, a little bit bouncing around on

different leadership topics, different things that I have heard over the years that, you

know, at the time, okay, this applies to baseball, but there’s a lot of things that apply

to life in general.

And, you know, maybe baseball players aren’t always seen in the light of the most intellectual

people out there.

However, there is a certain wisdom that’s passed down through generations of a game that’s

been played since the mid-1800s here in America.

So, there’s a lot of knowledge and wisdom that’s passed down from the generations before


Baseball’s crazy.

It’s not like the other sports, right?

I mean, it’s 162 games and 180 days.

So, you have to learn about the rhythm of the seasons.

When to get yourself, you know, physically more prepared other times you need to give

yourself a break.

It’s kind of like a year-long cycle.

So, you really start to get in touch with mother nature more than you’d think because,

you know, you play in spring training, maybe you’re in a warm spot and then you go somewhere

where it’s cold and then there’s the summer and then it’s cold at the end of the year

if you’re lucky enough to continue playing in the fall.

So, there’s a lot of wisdom, I think, collective wisdom within baseball and I look forward to

sharing some of the more outstanding quotes and lessons I’ve learned through that.

But again, a lot of this can be taken and in the light of sustainability applied in that


So, it’ll be really, I’m really looking forward to it.

It’s going to be a great time.

Absolutely wonderful.

And just as a reminder, the name of the summit is massively mobilizing sustainability.

Leadership for the 21st century and we’re weaving together some of the strategies and the

opportunities, the knowledge and the realm of sustainability, regeneration, stewardship.

We’re weaving that together with cultivating our skills as leaders so that we can have

as much positive impact as possible regardless of our backgrounds, our stations and so forth.

And, you know, I’m so excited and Brad, of course, we’ve talked over the years about some

of the more interesting nuances of baseball and some of the connections with the natural

living world.

You know, it’s a sport played on soil and turf.

It’s a sport played with wooden bats grown in real live trees.

That’s right.

And there’s also a really important connection with the very special type of soil or dirt.

And I wonder if you might share that a little bit with our audience too.

Yeah, it’s actually pretty fascinating.

You know, a lot of times people that are familiar with baseball will know that baseballs have

to be rubbed up with a certain kind of mud or dirt before they’re allowed to be put into

the game.

So you get these, you know, new baseballs from Rawlings and these shiny baseballs don’t

just go right out into the game.

They have to be rubbed up with and given a certain tack.

They do this so that the balls don’t squirt and slip right out of the pitcher’s hand and

end up being almost a projectile weapon coming in at the hitter, right?

The hitter is actually happy that these balls are rubbed up a little bit.

But this mud comes from the Delaware River and there’s a certain area where they get

this mud from and it can only be from that area and they put it in these little containers

and they ship it to the clubhouses collectively around America and where the baseball stadiums


The baseballs are rubbed up.

There’s a designated guy that rubs up the baseballs with this mud that knows exactly

how to do it.

It’s a pretty amazing process but when you get it in your hand, you can tell it’s got

that tack and that feel.

But it is fascinating here because for me, there’s this connection to soil that I never

thought about.

But a baseball still to this day, if I pick up a new baseball, it doesn’t feel right.

It needs to have that mud on it.

And of course, we talk about soil all the time with Y and Earth, the sustainability

factors and everything else that go with it.

But interestingly, for me, getting out of baseball, and I know we’ll get to this at some

point, but the transition into archaeology, where I’m taking a trial and I’m digging in

the mud, there’s something about dirt and soil that I keep coming back to.

And baseball absolutely is a game, I mentioned the cyclical part of it, the seasons and kind

of going through a very long year.

There is something about baseball that is a reminder of how America used to be a long

time ago.

It’s the only sport that’s not played with a clock.

I mean, you play, you know, nine innings.

If that takes you an hour and a half or takes you four and a half hours, you play nine


So you have to have a certain level of patience going to a baseball game and you have to

have a certain level, I think, of relaxation as a fan.

And it’s different than other sports that way.

We are in a world right now that is constantly trying to rush more and more, have more and

more action in sports, you know, football, basketball, they can change their rules at the

drop of a habit.

Baseball holds on to itself being, you know, our nation’s pastime and all these records

that happened in the early 1900s say and the game hasn’t changed, so you can still compare

air to era.

Anyway, there’s all these different things that I can go on forever, right?

But this is why baseball, for me, is such an incredible game because it’s not measured

with extreme rate, extreme pace, 21st century offense and just, you know, super short attention


Baseball still requires a little bit more of you as a fan to be patient and appreciate

the little things in the game.


You know, I’m thinking that my experience going to a baseball game really is a calming

effect as opposed to going to a football game where it’s like fight or flight, those

stress hormones, that’s what it’s all about.

I think that’s why it’s such a rush for a lot of folks to watch football.

But with baseball, we’re calming our nerves and I know you’ve shared with me that as a

pitcher, one of the skills you’ve developed in a huge way is with your breathing.

That’s right.

And we know more and more executives, more and more entrepreneurs, more and more educators

are bringing breathing practices into their businesses, into their schools.

We’ll be doing some breathing exercises actually at the summit and this is such an important

tool for us as leaders and for us as we’re going about our day-to-day lives to make

sure we stay calm and are able to focus and accomplish what’s at hand and, boy, I know

this is a big part when you’re on the mound and under pressure, right?

What describes just what that experience is like?

It’s pretty intense.

My role in baseball is a pitcher and beyond that, I was coming into close games.

We always say people are watching the first couple innings, they start to lose interest

in the middle of the game, but they’re all of a sudden when the game’s on the line, everyone’s

attention and focus come back in.

As a closer, your team’s winning, you’re expected to go out there and keep the lead.

If you don’t, it’s literally called a blown save.

You keep the lead, you get the save, if you don’t, you blow the save.

There’s a ton of adrenaline that builds up.

I say as a fan, you have to be patient and just kind of enjoy the game.

When you’re actually in the game, it’s a little more difficult to do, but my rookie season,

I was getting out into the mound and running out there and one of my good friends noticed,

he’s like, man, even after you run out to the mound, you’re breathing so fast before

you make these pitches.

I was kind of everywhere.

I was throwing it hard, but I was missing my location and I wasn’t able to call myself

down, so we worked with the guy that was able to show me some different breathing techniques

to really slow your heart rate down.

You’re right.

This can be applied in so many different things when we ever get our nervous system up or

adrenaline gets up.

Breathing is essential.

I figured out, took me a little bit to understand how to do it, but I figured out when I was

able to start breathing, that I was going to get a lot better results.

I was able to adapt that practice out on the mound and it was huge for me in my career

to really be able to slow my heart rate and to just take some deep breaths because the

adrenaline is very intense and your mind’s going a million miles an hour.

You have to figure out a way to do that, otherwise you’re just not going to probably stick

around in the game that long.

Yeah, and I’ve heard you say that you can tell now as an advisor to young pitchers when

they’re adrenaline’s too high, they’re throwing wild and you recommend to do some deep


Is that straightforward?

It is.

Well, what’s funny is my son’s 10 years old and he’s playing and he’s just dabbling

into pitching for the first time.

I’m working with 10-year-olds and I’m working with minor league guys for the Philadelphia

Phillies and last year the major league guys for the Philadelphia Phillies and it’s all

the same.

Whether you’re 10 years old or 25 years old, your tendency when that adrenaline gets up,

when that nervous system gets up, your heart rate goes up.

And so you start breathing faster and faster and you don’t have as great a control of your

faculties, of your muscles as you do when you can slow that heart rate down and start


I mean, many people before me, obviously, I’ve been able to pass that on through many

different walks of life.

But in baseball, it really is something that a lot of guys, they’ve been able to use that

adrenaline their whole life and not have to worry about it.

But the major league is a little bit different.

If you’re slightly off, it’s a very big, it could be a very big miss.

So you know, guys have to do that.

We do.

I talk about it with them all the time, stepping off the mound, taking a lap around the

mound, rub up the baseball, kind of feel it in your hands, take some deep breaths and then

get back on the mound and slow that heart rate down and the results typically are a lot


It’s so cool.

Well, I will share with you and in front of our audience that many times in the past

year, I’ve thought of you talking specifically about this breathing before, say, giving

a talk at a university or even today, earlier around town, I saw a few emails coming through

on some of the logistics related to our summit.

And of course, a lot of planning goes into an event like that and I felt my heart rate

going up, I started feeling a little stress and I was like, oh, wait a minute, just breathe.

And just remember, all that will work itself out, no problem.

And not to let that stress impulse take over.

And I think especially now with social media, with all of our communication abilities,

one of the biggest tasks for each of us is that stewardship, when it comes to stress

and different responses and being able to go to that breathing and techniques like that.

So I’m just sharing that I literally earlier today, I thought of that and thought of you.

So I’m good.


Well, good, because I need to remember it myself a lot of times, you’re right, social


I mean, you know, as many email pings and text pings as we get, we got to be here here


And it’s easy to get that, those feelings of anxiety and the stress levels up and forget

to just take some deep breaths.

Yeah, for sure.


Oh, good.

I’m glad that worked out.



And we’ll be sharing this with others too at the summit.

Well, you know, one of the other techniques and strategies around cultivating some of these

things at the personal level that is so important is around food and nutrition.

And I know you were sharing with me recently that among professional athletics, different

ball teams and so on, you’re seeing some really interesting changes when it comes to

what the athletes are actually being fed, the food that’s being provided.


It’s crazy.

The evolution of understanding performance in the realm of athletics because even a decade

ago, things were much different than they were 20 years ago, but now things are completely

different than they were 10 years ago.

And what’s ended up happening is with more and more scientific studies, the food and

the clubhouse is across the major leagues.

And I know this also applies to the NFL and NBA and all major sports.

The food has shifted from snacky food and sugary food.

That stuff’s out of the clubhouses now.

Now every team has nutritionists, people that go in, personal chefs, people that are

preparing meals for guys based on their workout regimens and what they need to do to be able

to perform at optimal levels.

So now you’ve got all these anti-inflammatory smoothies and shakes in the clubhouses and

these fantastic meals that are sustainably sourced a lot of times because let’s be honest

I mean when something is sustainably sourced, there’s a chance or a lot better chance that

that animal is going to be taken care of better in its life.

It will be a healthier animal and it will be a better source of protein for the athletes.

So people are starting to really understand this stuff scientifically which is awesome for

me to see.

I remember going through the minor leagues and you know you’d make yourself a peanut

butter and jelly sandwich because that’d be the only thing in the clubhouse and maybe

a bag of chips would be hanging on the wall and there weren’t a whole lot of options.

So you take what you were given but now in the minor leagues.

There’s a great selection of food, and so I think it’s taken a long time, but professional

sports have really opened their eyes to, hey listen, we’re paying these athletes a lot

of money, why not take that extra step and give them healthy food so that they can increase

their performance?

It’s kind of a no-brainer when you think about it.

It did take a while to get there, but we’re seeing it now, and as I said, it’s awesome

for me to see the evolution of that.

I was drafted into professional baseball in 1998 by the Houston Astros, and from that

time, over these now almost 21 years, actually 21 years in June, it’s been amazing to see

that evolution, but it’s something that I’m really happy to see.

It’s really amazing, the ability for us to choose more anti-inflammatory foods, it’s

something that won’t only benefit those of us in professional athletics, but all of

us benefit from these kinds of foods, whether it’s reducing the inflammation we would associate

with aches and pains as we’re getting older.

I know there’s more and more research coming out showing that inflammation is affecting

cognitive performance, it’s affecting our immune systems, it’s potentially even affecting

behavioral issues and certain foods, certain herbs, certain roots like turmeric and ginger.

Certain men are incredibly effective at reducing that inflammation, and it just makes sense

that where performance is at such a premium in professional athletics, you’d be seeing

that trend, and it’s something we can all really benefit from.

Yeah, I mean, it really is, if you can just find a slight edge to, I’m thinking from

the lens of an owner of a team, if you can find a way to get your athletes a slight edge

in terms of performance, by giving them a healthier, more nutritious meal, reducing their

inflammation, making them feel better, what a great way to be able to go about your business.

Fortunately, ownership all over sports, they’re the ones that are providing the finances

for this, so they get behind it, and I think every one of them to a man understands now

how impactful that performance is, but you’re right, I’m glad this kind of happened toward

the end of my career, but I’m very glad that I’ve been since then eating much more beneficial


I know I feel heck of a lot better than I did, even playing because the transition hadn’t

quite happened yet.

We’re abusing our bodies pretty good when we’re doing professional sports, but now I understand

the model of eating healthier and more sustainable now, so I’m really appreciative that I can do


Also cool, and I’m just thinking, when it comes to executives, when it comes to entrepreneurs,

when it comes to folks who are leaders inside organizations that might not be athletics organizations,

one of the great opportunities is to get these healthier food and beverage options right

there into the office or the facility, and that’s just another way to create greater advantage

for the team to reduce sickness, to enhance quality of life, which we know is one of the

ways that companies are attracting and retaining talent in their respective industries and disciplines,

so it’s one of these strategies that seems we can be using really across the board.

Yeah, no question about it, I think it’s funny because, and we’ve passed this information

on to our kids now, and they really, I’m seeing a lot of times in some of the young kids

I’m coaching, they’re understanding, they have options on the bench, they’ve got some

sugary and salty snacks that let’s just say aren’t the best option, and then they’ve got

some other stuff that fortunately some of the parents will bring, and the kids they understand

it, and it’s awesome to see, it makes me very optimistic for the future, thinking about

sustainability and the foods that we eat and the choices that our kids are making, they’re

starting to get it, and there’s some really tempting stuff out there for these kids, food

that I remember being delicious when I grew up, but now I know is essentially poisonous

for our bodies, and they’ll still dabble in there of course, but now they’re actually

taking the initiative to have that healthy food as well, so it’s great to see, and I think

that the message is getting there, we just need to keep delivering it as much as we can,

because things are slowly but surely going in the right direction.

Absolutely, absolutely, well, I want to ask a little more about the future by

referring to the past, but before going there, I also just want to share with our audience

that this is the YonEarth Communities Stewardship and Sustainability Podcast Series, and

today I’m visiting with my good friend Brad Lidge, and we are talking among other things

about our upcoming summit called Massively Mobilizing Sustainability, Deep Leadership

for the 21st Century, and this is being held outside of Boulder, Colorado, May 17-19 at

a beautiful retreat center in the mountains.

You can get your tickets with a 50% discount, that’s half price, using the code Community

at YonEarth.org, and I want to thank our sponsors that are making all of this possible.

This includes the International Society of Sustainability Professionals, the Association

of Walder Schools of North America, Weile of Waters, Patagonia, Equal Exchange, Earth

Coast Productions, Lukton Lodge, number 119 of Internal Organization, and the Lidge Family


We also want to make sure everybody knows that because we are living in such an important

time to mobilize everything we can, the YonEarth community is making all of our e-book

and audiobook products available for free, just use the code Earth Day, every day is Earth

Day, it works every day, to get your e-book and audiobook resources again at YOnEarth.org.

And so with this in mind, Brad, I know that as we are doing all this work for the future,

one of the most important things is understanding the past.

And you have a depth, shall we say, of expertise in that arena, and you like to go digging

and dirt at very important archaeological sites.

And I want to kick this off by asking, I know you’ve done a handful of digs now, where

have you done these and what have you been looking for?

So yeah, this has been something that since I retired, like I couldn’t wait, so growing

up I loved World History, I’ll back up once step here, and high school I had a great

World History teacher, Eric Kobel, was his name, and he totally just made it come alive.

And so since then, I remember loving World History.

And when I got to college, I always thought, I’m going to do something in this, but you

know, baseball kind of took over, and even during baseball, I remember thinking, as soon

as I retire, I wanted to do something in this, but I actually couldn’t wait that long.

And I think for me, in 2008, it was that great season that we were fortunate enough to

win a World Series out in Philadelphia, but also something happened that year, where I really

wanted to start jumping back into school, I mean, you get all this free time, we call

downtime on the road, right?

Like, you have a game that gets over real late, you go to bed real late, you wake up, I don’t

know, 10, 10, 30 somewhere in there, and you don’t have to be at the field until like

2.30, so you get these like four hours to kill.

And you know, a lot of times people are just looping sports in or over and over and over

and over again, baseball tonight, whatever it is.

And I found after about five or six or seven years of doing this, I was like, enough,

I want to do something toward potentially what I could do when I stop playing.

So I started going back to school to finish up my bachelor’s degree, which I was about

90% down with the Notre Dame, but unfortunately, I needed to go back to South Bend to complete

the Notre Dame degree, so that’s when I went to University of Regis and Denver, jumped into

religious studies, and I wanted to do religious archaeology or something that would be in

that path, because as I said, I loved world history, I loved reading about it, but it

wasn’t enough, I wanted to be kind of proactive in it somehow.

So archaeology was kind of the perfect path.

So when I retired, I finished up the bachelor’s degree, and then I jumped right into this

master’s degree in ancient Roman archaeology, and, you know, part of the, since I jumped

in, was going on these excavations, and so now for six, this will be the sixth summer.

We’ve been able to go over to Europe for a month or so, and I’ve been able to take part

in these excavations some more than others, some way more detailed than others.

I’ve been able to be on part of a staffer a little bit, and in the ancient Roman city

of Carcelai, spent a lot of time out there, I did my dissertation on the nails of the

bath complex there.

So it gets real specific, of course, when you get into a master’s degree, but it’s been

an amazing experience for myself and for my family to live out there, to kind of get

immersed in, you know, another culture.

We’ve been to England for a summer as well, but I will tell you central Italy has something

going on that’s been pretty remarkable, as hot as it is, and we were in this little town

called San Gemini.

It’s hot as it is, and the fact that there is no air conditioning in any of the units

in a small little town like that, it doesn’t seem to plague you, even my kids were okay

with it, because there’s something else going on there that is just, I mean, that’s, you

know, where the slow food movement started, and people take their time there, and they

enjoy everything, and you get kind of immersed in that culture, and it’s just an incredible


So we’ve loved doing it, fortunately they’ve been extremely friendly to our kids, and

everything’s been great, you know, in terms of that, but for me, it’s been one of the

most rewarding things I’ve done is jump into something that I was passionate about.

Again, you know, you have to get out of your comfort zone a little bit, and you’ve got

to take some strides toward things that you want to do or that you believe are important,

but I’ve been excavating at these ancient Roman sites and finding some remarkable stuff.

Pottery coins, glass, jewelry, you know, you never know, like for me, part of the excitement

is that you dig your trowel in, and you know, you’re in central Italy, you have no idea

what you’re going to find.

It could be medieval, it could be, you know, ancient Roman, it could be ancient at Truscant,

you don’t know how far down you’re going to go, and it’s just a really exciting thing

to be a part of.

Oh, that’s so exciting.


Well, and you’re also, meanwhile, getting your hands in the dirt literally, right?

That’s right.

And some of those benefits we often talk about.

Yeah, absolutely.

I mean, you know, it’s, for me, it’s priceless to be able to kind of, you know, continue

to go down and work through that dirt and that soil, and, you know, again, an artifact

might come out of it.

It might not.

But you’re just kind of in these giant, you know, trenches and you’re working with dirt

all day.

And some people, you know, by the end of the day, they can’t wait to shower off, of course.

But, you know, you get these buckets of dirt and you’re sifting through stuff.

And it’s just, it’s an amazing experience being out there.

Like I said, I never thought I would be feeling super comfortable just sitting out in, you

a hundred degree heat in the middle of summer between like 8 a.m. and 5 p.m.

But there’s something about it where you’re just so entranced with what you’re doing

and you’re kind of in tune with the, you know, with the Italian summer and you just, you

can’t beat it.

I mean, it’s an incredible experience.

That’s absolutely wonderful.

Well, I’m wondering with your exploration of the history and the archaeology, do you find

that there are certain lessons we might glean from older cultures, from past times that

would be pertinent relevant to our times now regarding especially things like sustainability?

I mean, there’s no question, you know, something that just immediately popped into my mind

when you were asking me that is there was an excavation we were doing in another central

Italian town called Orbietto, a beautiful spot.

When we’re doing our excavations, the, the olive trees are essentially sacred in Italy.

And this goes back, you know, to ancient Roman times, before ancient Roman times.

They treated their, I mean, they’re olive trees with such reverence that these things

were literally sacred to them.

Even now, Italians have to literally locate and GPS olive trees.

You’re not allowed to dig an olive tree out.

If you do, you have to let the government know.

Olive trees are that important, you know, in, in Italy.

And one of the olive trees that we were digging around, we were, we were trying to get the

root ball out so we could transplant it and then we were going to have to replant it.

Like this is a, you know, big deal.

You don’t mess with these olive trees, right?

We found the shard of medieval pottery that was 700 years old in the root ball.

So it just goes to show how far back these things go and how important they are for the

cultures there for, you know, centuries, even millennia.

And I just think that when you kind of look back at, you know, how they treated, you know,

things like olive trees, yes, but there’s a lot of other, you know,

natural things that they understood and appreciated as being so important to their lives, so sacred

to their lives, that they would never harm them or foul them up.

I mean, I think if they looked at what we were doing today, they’d be scratching their head.

They’d probably not understand the technology, obviously, but they’d also say, like, you know,

why are you scarring the earth the way you are?

Don’t you understand that you’re going to need this stuff, you know, many years from now?

So I don’t know, that there’s, you know, there’s practices that the ancient Romans used to have

that are probably wheat scratcher headed a little bit as well, but that being said,

I think they had a certain kind of balance and, you know, ability to be in touch with,

with the seasons and nature that is completely missing from life today.

So, you know, there’s tons of stuff that you could kind of go back and look at, I think,

you know, in terms of those ancient societies and those ancient cultures that make a lot of sense,

but I think, you know, more than anything else, it’s how they respected the land around them

and how much they understood the importance of the land around them and how much life it gave them.

I mean, if they didn’t treat it well, they weren’t going to be able to eat,

they weren’t going to be able to drink, they wouldn’t survive.

Yeah. So, big deal, you know, but that sink in.

I mean, you know, it’s obviously, you know, two millennia, like I said, away from,

from ancient Roman times, but, you know, in a lot of ways, we’ve made some incredible

technological advances in other ways, we’ve really kind of wrecked things for ourselves.

Maybe we kind of wind a little bit of that. We’ll see.

God bless your hopes though. Well, and, and, you know, I believe we can, and that we can enhance

our own qualities of life while doing so. So, it’s important work. And, you know, I’m curious

with your religious studies background, obviously, you’ve also taken a deep dive into some of our

religious and spiritual heritage, especially in the European West. And I’m struck by one of your

earlier comments about getting outside of our comfort zone. And I know, you know, having

interviewed a variety of guests from different backgrounds, different faiths, different countries,

even, you know, there’s such diversity in our, in our global culture. And, and I’m just wondering

if, in your exploration of the religious history, you find any insights or teachings that would

help us as we’re dealing with some of these uncomfortable aspects of modern life right now,

as we’re dealing with sustainability issues and so forth. Is there anything that jumps out at

you there? You know, if I sat down and thought about it, I think there’d be a lot of things that

jump out. I can tell you right now that that one of the things that maybe is a little bit different

today is it’s kind of a superficial layer for a lot of our lives. And back then, it was so,

you know, the rituals and everything else that was associated with their beliefs was such an

everyday part of their life. It was something that they were entrenched in. I mean, their belief

system, you know, they didn’t have the science behind them that we do. And maybe that’s for better

or for worse. I’m not exactly sure, but I think their beliefs and their understanding of how

important certain things were led them to make a lot of the decisions they made. Now, again,

you know, some better, some worse. But I just think that it’s a far cry from from how we live

in today’s society. It’s kind of there. It’s in the periphery. And sometimes people use it for,

for maybe incorrect purposes or maybe they’re not interpreting things, right? That’s always an

issue. But I just think that we’ve, you know, there could be a lot to be learned from from how

immersed ancient cultures were in their beliefs. You know, if we’re, again, we can’t probably take

everything they did and say that applies now. Nor can we take everything they did and say that’s

a good idea now. But we can take a lot of the things that they did as kind of lessons and how to

really be passionate about your beliefs and to kind of, you know, live your life based on that.

Because that’s what they did. I mean, that’s all they knew. And so that’s how they went about

their daily lives. It’s so interesting. Yeah, I think one of the things that’s really hard for us to

even imagine and understand right now is what life was like before television, before radio,

before let alone internet and in social media. It was such a different experience in so many ways.

Yeah, it really was. You know, and I think that going backwards with some of those practices,

again, you know, we have this this land around and I feel very fortunate to have any kind of land

around me. But, you know, taking the time to to go outside and kind of unwind a little bit from

all the social media, the technology around us. It’s so easy, you know, and it’s tough too with

kids. Like you got to really, you got to really kind of push them out the door a little bit. But

it’s amazing once they get outside and they start working with the soil and they start, you know,

helping out gardening or or pruning a fruit tree or whatever. It’s amazing that all the sudden

they’re locked in. Like they don’t even think about the technology that they’re missing or whatever.

And I think that yeah, maybe you have to work a little bit toward it at first, but it kind of

starts to get easier and easier and they start to appreciate it more and more as they get older. So,

I mean, you’re right. It’s a very it’s a very difficult thing to do in some levels to be able to

unplug and we live a very different way of life now than we used to. But I think when we kind of

get back into that for just a little bit, we really start to appreciate where our foods coming

from, the effort that goes into it, the time and the care that you need to give things in order

for them to be able to produce just a small amount. So, it makes you, at least for me, it makes me

really start to appreciate the importance of understanding our food systems, of understanding,

you know, how much effort and time goes into and care goes into what we’re eating if we’re doing

it the right way. Yeah. Oh, it’s so true. I mean, one of the things that seems to be a really

important truth right now is that our forebears, our ancestors, regardless of what part of the world

we come from, almost certainly by definition, would have lived in closer relationship with the

natural living world. Oh, yeah. And it was sort of a default. It was it was a context that could

was just, just was right. Right. And now to have that kind of connection and relationship,

it seems, takes increasingly a willfulness and intention, a, whether it’s parents with their

kids creating an intention that they go outside and unplug from the devices or as grownups,

especially, you know, with our busy work and responsibilities to, to say, you know, for the next

two days, I’m going to unplug and go backpacking or hiking in the woods or whatever it is. I think

that’s one of the most important differences about being human right now versus in the past for

most of our ancestors. I mean, there’s no question about it. It is, you know, we, if we so choose,

can really not even go outside, you know, the entire day or for weeks at a time, you know,

you can have your groceries dropped off right to your door now. There are services that do that.

So we are, we can be completely disconnected if we so choose. And sometimes it’s more convenient

or easy, we think, but we forget what we’re missing by being connected. And I think, you know,

again, it’s, we talk about, you know, you got to get out of your comfort zone sometimes. Sometimes

the easier thing to do and, you know, is to let your kid just sit there and watch TV and play

video games for a while, but the rewards for getting them outside and for having him find that

connection are, we’ll last them an entire lifetime. So, you know, it’s, it’s not always the easiest

thing to do. It’s certainly a lot of times you got to get out of your comfort zone and you have to

make an effort because everything is so, you know, just write it, you know, write it, your feet,

however you want it these days. I mean, it’s so simple to be disconnected. But I feel like the

rewards you get from that, from going out and being connected, you just, you can’t measure any other

way than just going out there and doing it and feeling it for yourself. It’s a reward system

that is not tangible, but it is, you know, very much real. Yeah, truly, truly. So I’m, I’m

wondering Brad with all that we’ve been discussing today. If you could give one piece of advice

to our audience, you know, folks all over some in cities, some in rural settings, some in suburban

settings, some older, some younger, you know, very diverse group. What would that piece of advice be?

Well, I think there’d be maybe two pieces. First all, I will say that, that don’t forget to let

yourself have an appreciation for what you’re going through in daily life for the food you’re

eating in daily life for how it got to your table. Don’t forget just to have an intention for a minute

to sit down and think about how it got there, all the different steps. And, you know, if you’re

eating fast food, it might not, you know, it might not take you a long time to think about the food

chain, unfortunately, but, but when you are eating something that’s not fast food, we’ll say, you know,

don’t forget about the amount of work and effort and time and care that went into having that meal,

and you will appreciate it so much more. I mean, you’ll have so much more respect for the whole

process of it, and you yourself will think about, I think you’ll start to think about sustainable

practices and, you know, hopefully make an effort to really be conscious of that, if nothing

else be conscious of it. And then the second thing I would say, I will get back to what we are kind

of discussing, getting out of your comfort zone. You know, listen, I could, I do a baseball radio show,

I’ve been working with the team I retired with, the Philadelphia Phillies here and there,

special advisory work, special assistant work, and I know that, so it’s easy for me to jump back

into it, it’s easy for me to stay in that world, but I know that I’d be cheating myself if I did

it because it’s not something that, it’s something I’m very passionate about, but there’s

something else that’s going on around us, and I have to get out of my comfort zone to acknowledge it

and to be a part of it, but I know that sustainability on our earth, you know, what we’re doing with

YonEarth, it’s not something again that I necessarily knew a ton about when I retired, but

for me getting out of your comfort zone and finding those things that you are passionate about,

those things you believe in, those first steps are never easy, but the rewards and the fulfillment

for doing it, you can’t replicate it in any other way. So I guess for me, get out of your comfort

zone and make a bigger effort, a lot of people are making great efforts, make an even bigger effort,

and find the rewards you’re going to get from that because they will be, they’ll be lasting

your entire lifetime. Absolutely beautiful, absolutely beautiful, Brad. Well, I want to just say on

behalf of the audience, thanks so much for taking the time to visit with us today, and I want to say

to our audience, we’re really looking forward to you joining us at the summit May 17 to 19. We’ll

be continuing this discussion with a lot of other friends and colleagues, and Brad, I want to thank

you for our friendship and for all your support of the YonEarth community, and it’s a great

pleasure to be able to collaborate with you in this way. Aaron’s been awesome for me, and I

appreciate my experiences with you as well, so we’ve been friends for a long time. Yes, we have,

this is this is great man, I appreciate being here every step of the way. Awesome. Thanks, breath,

you bet, you bet, thank you. The YonEarth community stewardship and sustainability podcast

series is hosted by Aaron William Perry, author, thought leader, and executive consultant. The

podcast and video recordings are made possible by the generous support of people like you.

To sign up as a daily, weekly, or monthly supporter, please visit yonearth.org backslushsupport.

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