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Lakeland University Japan News

Author Kai Sawyer Shows LUJ a Sustainable Approach to Living

Author Kai Sawyer Shows LUJ a Sustainable Approach to Living


Author Kai Sawyer Shows LUJ a Sustainable Approach to Living

On January 25, at 7pm, author and sustainability practitioner Kai Sawyer came to LUJ's campus in Ryogoku. His talk, "“Interbeing: Re-connecting to Nature, Humanity, and Ourselves," was held in the LUJ's Muskie Hall, located on the 6th floor. A packed crowd listened to Mr. Sawyer discuss his way of approaching sustainable living. 

Mr. Sawyer practices what he preaches, living off the land in Isumi city, about 2 hours southeast of Tokyo. "I boil rainwater...I catch rainwater off of the roof, and that's how I make my tea and miso sup. I start my day with starting a fire...I live in a hut that I built, which I feel is kind of amazing because I always thought you needed a lot of money, and you needed to get a loan and sell twenty years, thirty years of your life to get a house that's going to be trash eventually...but I got a magazine and it showed me how to build a hut." For around 3,000 dollars, Mr. Sawyer was able to construct the hut and live comfortably. 

Mr. Sawyer works with others at a Peace and Permaculture Dojo to learn how "to live life off of the land, and in community." At the Dojo, Sawyer and other participants put on cross-cultural events, such as African drumming, teach mudwall building, soil regeneration, and how to make miso, to name a few. 

Mr. Sawyer was born in Tokyo but raised in Niigata, Honolulu and Osaka. When he was younger, Mr. Sawyer expressed an interest in joining the American military, and this continued as a student at the University of California-Santa Cruz. But just as his studies began, the 9/11 terrorist attacks occurred, and the fallout that ensued changed his thinking about war and violence. Torn between his Japanese upbringing and the American way, Mr. Sawyer had a choice: "Be a good student and pursue that path, or to stand up and step into the unknown." Eventually, Mr. Sawyer joined the group of protesters, their movement against the wars in Afghanistan gaining national coverage. 

Mr. Sawyer's captivating and engrossing lecture lasted about an hour, with a question-and-answer period happening afterward. 

To learn more about Mr. Sawyer and his philosophy toward sustainable living, check out his book for young readers, Our Earth, Our Home: The Essential Green Living Handbook for Kids, available in English, Japanese, Chinese, and Korean. 

Our next Lakeland Lecture will be on February 22, with Researcher and Professor Christopher Kavanaugh. To learn more, stay tuned to this website, or contact Lakeland Lecture director Roger Grabowski at 

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