Sustainability Q&A: Professor Sajber

What is your position and department?

Lecturer, Philosophy.

What does sustainability mean to you?

That I should refrain from any act in relation to the environment which would result in other people not being able to engage with or benefit from nature in the same way in the future.

How have you been involved in promoting sustainability on campus?

I promote sustainability in my Ethics sections, in which environmental ethics is an important theme.

What are some things you do in your personal life to live sustainably?

I try not to drive except with a good cause. I gave up driving on the day Katrina hit: I heard the news of the levees breaking on the radio in the middle of a huge traffic jam while driving home from school. Aristotle thought that phronesis, our practical wisdom, should allow us to make the connection between our daily practices and their large-scale consequences — at that moment, the consequences were broadcast straight into my car as it was idling on the highway. I got through my first year of teaching at Gonzaga car-free, though I acquired a small car since then. I live close to the university so I walk, bike or I take the bus. If you know where the bus is going (the map is online) and if you know how to get on the bus (you swipe your Gonzaga ID), it easily beats the solitary, isolated cabin of a car. It also happens to be completely free to the Gonzaga community and a great way to reduce our dependence on cars.

How could Gonzaga continue to improve its sustainability efforts?

By following the plan proposed by the Fossil Free Gonzaga campaign: by divesting Gonzaga’s endowment from the current 200 most carbon-intensive companies.

How will you continue to promote sustainability after you leave Gonzaga?

Even while I’m at Gonzaga, I am trying to “minimalize.” I can’t see myself downsizing to 100 items in my household just yet. I do think however that a radical reconsideration of our relationship with the things we own could go a long way toward decreasing our waste and our unnecessary encroachment on nature’s resources.

Professor Sajber
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