Award winning author and food activist Frances Moore Lappe will speak at 3:15 p.m. April 5 in Morris Dailey Auditorium. She will be introduced by Jesse Cool, a nationally recognized Bay Area chef, owner of Flea St. Café in Menlo Park, and advocate for local and organic foods.
The SJSU Sustainability Initiative, Environmental Resource Center, Division of Student Affairs, College of Social Sciences, and Salzburg Program will sponsor the event, which will be preceded by LOCAVORE! a food and garden fair beginning at noon in the sculpture garden near Clark Hall.
Frances Moore Lappe is the author of 17 books, including her best-selling Diet for a Small Planet. Celebrating its 40th year, this book aims to inspire changes in eating habits in order to save the planet. Francis also leads the Small Planet Institute with her daughter Anna Lappe.
Focusing on the excerpts from her latest publication, EcoMind: Seven Thought Leaps for Our Planet and Its Changing Climate, Lappe talked to SJSU Today about what sustainability means to her and why the key to change is connecting with other people.
Among the messages she emphasized were “we have hit the limits of a finite planet,” “the answer is no growth,” and “consumer society is to blame.” The following was edited for length and clarity.
SJSU Today: Can you tell me about the keynote address you have in store for SJSU?
Frances Moore Lappe: This address is an attempt to identify some of the ways that we can frame the environmental crisis and the ways we can go beyond what we consider limiting. Instead of being trapped in mechanical ways, the focus is thinking in terms of the fundamental principal of ecology. Thinking like an ecoystem helps us to focus on the connection rather than the separateness.
SJSU: Can you tell me about how you started being sustainable-conscious?
Lappe: The best decision I ever made was to ask the most basic question in the world: Why is there hunger? Addressing the number one question — Why are we together in societies creating a world that not one of us as individuals would ever chose for ourselves? — that’s the question our species has to answer.
SJSU: Which part of researching sustainability was the most interesting or inspirational to you?
Lappe: The heart of my message now is that if we really incorporate the ecological worldview into our daily existence and really understand how incredibly interconnected we are, we have the power to fix it. The key is to understand that every choice we make has ripples throughout the system. Everything we do is changing the world. The choice we have is whether we are changing it consciously in the way that we want to.
SJSU: What else do you want SJSU students and alumni to know about sustainability or being mindful about their diet?
Lappe: Connect with other people and challenge yourself to learn and push the edge for the things that you are most excited about. There are endless possibilities to being sustainable, from getting rid of bottled water to choosing sustainable foods to recycling. The key is to connect with other people on your campus who are energized and bring that “what-can-you-do” attitude.