It will be about appropriate technologies and their impact on the everyday lives of people living on this planet. Appropriate technologies are technologies designed to increase sustainable living by using local resources to design and develop technologies that will be sustainable, scalable, and affordable for the people who will use it. Lonny Grafman, founder of Appropedia and instructor of environmental resources engineering and appropriate technology at Humboldt State University, will guide us through the tenets of appropriate technology and how we can apply these principles to our communities so that we may live sustainably. Lonny will share some of the appropriate technologies he has designed and developed with his colleagues to aid our understanding of the impact of appropriate technologies abroad, especially in developing countries.
Why did you choose this topic and why did you want to make an event about it?
Fall quarter 2014, I took a class called “Appropriate Technologies for the World’s People: Development,” taught by Dr. Peter Schwartz. This class changed me because it made me aware of how unsustainably I live – how much trash I produce, how much water I waste, how much money I spend on unnecessary things, and most importantly, how the way I live affects other people and our planet. His class inspired me to apply to host this event because I believe it is essential for everyone to learn how we can design and develop technologies that will increase our capacity to live sustainably.
How will you make the event relatable to people of any background?
By asking the audience to envision how they can live more sustainably. Fortunately, appropriate technology is interdisciplinary. When I took Dr. Schwartz’s “Appropriate Technology for the World’s People: Development” class, the 60 or so students were all from a variety of majors and backgrounds. This is what made the class so unique. Sustainable living is for everyone, and this event is intended for people of all backgrounds.
What are some reasons that students from any type of major should go to the event?
My vision for this event is that students who attend will form interdisciplinary collaborations on future projects. For example, engineering students have a lot to offer appropriate technologies as technologies require design, especially a design that is efficient. Anthropology students equally have as much to offer because appropriate technologies require an understanding of the culture and the people to which the design is being delivered, or else the design will not be effective. Therefore, I truly encourage all majors to attend this event because collaboration is not only powerful, but helps develop an appropriate technology that is effective.
Who is helping you with this event?
Peter Schwartz, Physics and Appropriate Technology Professor at Cal Poly, referred me to Lonny Grafman. Dr. Schwartz has many colleagues who are involved in designing and developing appropriate technologies. I am thankful for Dr. Schwartz’s support in this event. He is the only person I have met in my life who truly practices what he preaches, and I’m lucky to know him and to have been educated by him.
Karen Lauritsen, Communications and Public Programs Coordinator at Cal Poly’s Kennedy Library has been extremely helpful, collaborating with me to organize this event and make it a wonderful experience for the audience. Her excellent managerial skills have helped me transform my visions for this event into realities.
What is your major and why did you choose it?
My major is microbiology. I chose microbiology because I am continuously fascinated by the immense powers of microorganisms. It never fails to amaze me how living beings so small, unseen to the naked eye, can demonstrate such sophisticated functions. Whether a microorganism causes lethal hemorraghic fever or aids in digestion of food, the mechanisms by which they function are so unique and intricate.
What do you want to do when you graduate?
After I graduate this spring, I plan on pursuing a Master’s Degree in Public Health, to become a public health practitioner. With this degree, I plan to positively influence the health outcomes of marginalized groups of people within our community. Good health is a human right, not a privilege – and I hope that I can play a role in making this right accessible to all people, regardless of race, class, gender, and sexuality.
What are some fun facts about you?
I do undergraduate research with Dr. Marie Yeung where I induce a bacterium found in brackish saltwater, namely Vibrio parahaemolyticus, into a state where it is viable-but-nonculturable (VBNC). This phenomenon, VBNC, is found in several bacteria and is of great medical interest because the bacteria are still alive and possibly still virulent, but cannot be cultured and isolated onto media for observation! So, in my lab, we use molecular tools to study V. parahaemolyticus in VBNC state.
Meet Nasim and learn about appropriate technologies on April 10 at Kennedy Library.
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