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"Sustain" means to keep someone alive, to keep something happening or to support or uphold. "Ability" is defined as being able to do something and brings up implications of power, resources, opportunity, talent and potential. In a new Encore class at San Juan College, instructor Mark Everson explores these concepts in "Learning from Sustainability."

"Sustainability often refers to using resources in such a way that we also save them for future generations," Everson said. "This is extremely relevant to the Encore program, because as people age, it makes sense to look toward future generations, as well as to reflect on all that they have learned from the past.”

A well-known quote from Wilma Mankiller states, “In Iroquois Society, leaders are encouraged to remember seven generations in the past and consider seven generations in the future when making decisions that affect the people.

"Seven generations is about 175 years — and when you’ve lived a number of years yourself, it may be easier to envision what that looks like," Everson said.

Everson invites students to explore this concept of sustainability and see new ways of being more sustainable as citizens of the country and planet. Many examples of sustainability begin with ecology, but Everson wants student to apply the concept of sustainability to other aspects of life, such as relationships, values, jobs and family life.

Everson has a bachelor’s degree in sociology and a master’s degree in environmental education and has been an educator for more than 20 years. He has worked previously as a teacher trainer, naturalist, researcher and classroom teacher. This class is an expansion on the presentation "Enough," which took place at the Show and Tell in Aztec in June.

"Learning from Sustainability" will meet from 9:30 to 11:50 a.m. Thursdays from Oct. 29 to Dec. 17. This and all other Encore classes are designed for adults 50 and older but are open to all students 18 and older.

For more information on this and other fall Encore classes, go to sanjuancollege.edu/Encore or call San Juan College’s Community Learning Center at 505-566-3214.

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