Speaker seeks to inspire students 

Using words to illustrate meaning is just one of the many goals Douglas Gayeton has set out to achieve; the idea that sustainability could be understood as a story, rather than a mere word or definition is another goal.  “Your words can change the world,” Gayeton said at Thursday’s Lexicon for Sustainability Environmental Forum.  

He explained the idea of food sustainability is essentially the notion of food stability.  

The food that is consumed by an individual has an affect on everything and everyone around them. 

“We are the first generation in the world to understand that we have finite resources,” said Gayeton. 

It’s not just about the words.  Gayeton’s words tell stories, specifically those that explain sustainability. Using wide-angle photographs with a soft-text overlay, Gayeton tells the stories of those making a change in their own worlds.  

Examples of these include the “Good Food Revolution,” a story of a man named Will Allen who decided to create food stability for his community by growing food “that’s safe, wholesome and affordable to all.”  Allen is just one of many stories that Gayeton is able to share through art and words.  

Telling the stories of those making a difference and redefining the way each individual thinks about sustainability are just some of the values behind the Lexicon for Sustainability. Sustainability is described as the conservation of ecological balance by avoiding depletion of natural resources.  

Each story shared one common message: the responsibility for change rests in the hands of the individual. 

As a filmmaker, photographer and writer, Gayeton was searching for a way to explain the importance of understanding food that is consumed and where it comes from. As director of the PBS series,  “Know Your Food,” he is the author of two books including “Local: The New Face of Farming in America” and “SLOW: Life in a Tuscan Town.”  Gayeton’s work revolves around understanding and shaping words that are used when describing living a sustainable life.  

“Do one thing today, buy something locally.  If you do one thing this week you can change the idea.  Buy one thing locally and you will change the picture,” Gayeton said.

Sonoma State University is currently maintaining sustainable practices through the Do One Thing Today, which encourages students to go local, recycle and make a conscious effort to practice a sustainable lifestyle.  

Other practices include school-wide recycling, efforts to go local in dining services as well as maintaining U.S. Green Building Standards in most of the buildings on campus as well as the residential halls.

Paul Draper, director of sustainability at Sonoma State and chair to the Sustainability Executive Committee, encourages sustainable practices by faculty and students.

“Last year we inaugurated a campaign for a Sustainable SSU called ‘Do One Thing Today”’or DOTT.   Simply, it asks that every one of us do something for sustainability each and every day. And at the same time I think we feel better about ourselves, too,” Draper said.

The school is also hosting events such as Sustainability Day on Oct. 21 and the Cardboard Challenge that occurs on Friday.