Sustainability conference may open doors for a sustainability journal at SNC

The ninth international conference on Cultural, Economic, and Social Sustainability hosted in Hiroshima, Japan may open doors for Sierra Nevada College students to create their own sustainability journal.

SNC Adjunct Faculty Brennan Lagasse hopes to attend the January conference and present his sustainability research. His attendance is dependent on obtaining the funds to fly to Japan. He hopes his experience will help start a journal at SNC.

“I hope to work with the journal committee, bring back their ideas to SNC and work with students to produce a sustainability journal on the campus,” said Lagasse.

The goal of the journal is to showcase students’ hard work to understand big concepts and break them down. Eventually, Lagasse hopes to have the journal grow campus wide and even reach out to other colleges and have them submit work.

“A journal owned and run by students,” said Lagasse. “Sustainability is the largest growing discipline right now.”

His presentation at the conference focuses on a case study involving a small ski resort in Arizona that wanted to expand using 100 percent reclaimed wastewater.

“This had never been done before in the history of ski resorts,” said Lagasse. “This creates a lot of environmental questions.”

The effects of the reclaimed wastewater had yet to be seen on humans. However, frogs that live downstream of a reclaimed wastewater treatment plant in

California had become completely hermaphroditic, with no male frog present among the current population.

According to the Britannica Online Encyclopedia, hermaphroditic is the condition of having both male and female reproductive organs.

Sustainability is more than just recycling and carpooling, according to Lagasse.

“Sustainability is not just the well being of the environment; it’s the well being of people,” said Lagasse.

The sustainability tips come about by looking at the big picture, then by looking at the small issues and developing easy ways to be more sustainable.

Lagasse says in order to become truly sustainable you have to develop critical thinking skills.

“Look at the big picture,” said Lagasse. “You have to ask ‘why aren’t we sustainable?”

Lagasse teaches sustainability to be much more than tips to change the way you live. Sustainability is multifaceted and many different disciplines have to be combined to understand the bigger picture of how to create a sustainable environment for people.

Lagasse points out that when talking about sustainability issues, the ‘people factor’ is often forgotten. Sustainability is about creating an environment that can sustain people, said Lagasse.

*Originally published in Eagle’s Eye.

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