My name is Jason Sather, and I am one of the new interns here at Nourish the Planet in Loveland, CO. I graduated from Prescott College in 2012 with a B.A. in Sustainable Community Development with an emphasis in Ecopsycology and a strong breadth in Earth Sciences. Now 34 years old, I have spent much of my adult life working in the construction industry with experience as a professional plumber and carpenter, among others. I like to tell people I build things and fix things. With what I have learned in extensive undergraduate studies encompassing topics like agroecology, earth system science, adventure education, psychology, and sustainability I like to think that I can help fix some of the problems we face as human participants in this more-than-human world while building new systems that help us make sense of our place in it.
It wasn’t until my first collegiate environmental science class in the late nineties that I was introduced to the effects my life had on the world around me. The ideas that were introduced there created a chain of events that have widened my perspective of the world, and led me here to Nourish the Planet. Along the way I have learned much about our world and the human effects on it. Sustainability has become for me much more than a goal, it is a way of life.
For me sustainability is about responsibility and some sacrifice. It is our responsibility as humans being the most impactful species on the planet to be humans doing the most to be sure that our actions and effects do not destroy the vibrant and fragile systems that sustain life around us. It is not all about carbon emissions and climate change, although these are very important. It is also about food systems, water use, resource conservation, habitat loss, economic stability, social equity, waste management and undoing the damage we have already done. For me, in my life, this is simple: sacrifice some of the comforts we are so accustomed to so that others might be able to have comfort at all. Shorter showers and mindful use and reuse of water, reuse and recycling of materials and resources, driving less, being a more mindful consumer and reducing my waste, and eating less processed foods from sources closer to home as often as I can; these simple things have made a big difference in my life.
I think it really is this simple. If most people were to incorporate these simple guides into their life we could reduce the environmental footprint of human species substantially. And this is my plan for the future; sharing what I have learned and teaching others how to be more mindful in their lives, to make choices that have more positive impacts on the world. My goals for the future all stem from these ideas. I believe that in the next ten years the U.S.A. can become world leaders in environmental stewardship and resource management. I do not mean that we will have the best Parks system. I mean that we can create a society with the lowest environmental footprint, making the greatest strides in technology, conservation, and rehabilitation all aimed at making the life sustaining systems of our planet stronger. For my part in it, I plan to help inform people about choices that make more sense. Whether that is convincing clients to build homes that have smaller environmental footprints, developing food systems that feed our growing urban populations without damaging our rural and wild lands, or leading informational workshops to inform citizens about the plethora of choices out there that just make better sense – I will be making a difference.
This is what excites me about working with Nourish the Planet and the Mountain Sky Group. Nothing is as important to the human species as redefining our food systems. The carbon footprint associated with our current processed and packed food paradigm is so large that once we start paying the real cost of feeding a growing human population – and we are starting with loss of environmental quality worldwide – only the richest will be able to feed their families well. But with innovative livestock feeding systems, and brilliantly designed and implemented urban growing systems, we have the ability to not only offer the urban populations more nutritious food, but with a lower environmental and financial cost as well. With our global fresh water supplies dwindling, options like aquaponics systems just make a lot of sense. The things I am learning at Nourish the Planet are leading the way in repurposing urban blight and developing food security and I am enthusiastic about being a part of it! If I could go back and tell my younger self anything, it would be to get into this sort of thing much earlier, and maybe see more of the world.
I love traveling and south-east Asia is high on the list as is South America. I would love to spend some time in small villages around the world, learning from different cultures their secrets to happiness and simplicity. I love hiking and exploring and when I get overburdened by the pressures of life nothing makes me feel better than getting far away from the trappings of the city and wondering in strange lands. I often carry with me my camera, trying to capture the essence of beauty in the wild around me or catching a glimpse of the humanity we all share. This is what inspires me when I feel down; the truth that we all share that spark of creation within and between us, every person, plant and animal the essence of creativity and beauty. I try to remember that we all share in the joy of accomplishment and sorrows of defeat with those close to us, and together as human beings and humans doing, we can overcome anything. When it all comes down to it, I try to live my life, as my father taught me, with integrity. In the highest, represented by the life of Mahatma Gandhi, the words and actions of a few can inspire the many to rise together and do what is right. Or more directly summed up in a phrase attributed to Gandhi: “Live simply so that others may simply live.”