Conversations #19 - Jason Snyder
A conversation with Meta-Modern Homesteader, Jason Snyder—
Read & Listen on Substack
Hey Eclectic Spacewalkers!
Last month we traveled to the outskirts of Boone, NC to sit down with Jason Snyder.
Jason is yet another Twitter mutual that we had the pleasure of finally meeting in person. We also were joined by previous podcast guest Ashley Colby, who was visiting the US from Uruguay.
Not only did we travel to record this podcast with Jason, but also to film what it is like to be a budding homesteader and a “Dommer Optimist.” We are in the midst of creating a short film based on both of those embodied ways of life, but below is a little preview. More to come by the end of the year!
Both Jason and Ashley have helped open our eyes to some of the folly of techno-optimism, and its discontents, but both have also been humble enough to not completely fall down the slippery slope of the worst kinds of techno-pessimism. There is a tension there that needs to be explored, discussed, and experimented with.
Wendell Berry has been for decades one of the most cogent voices for questioning the economic, political, and technological arrangements of our communities, especially within a local agricultural context. A prolific writer who with his The Unsettling of America: Culture and Agriculture changed our entire perspective of the value of the land and its uses. (Pro-Tip: Listen to the audio-book narrated by Nick Offerman)
Doomer Optimism is a way of being that has arisen spontaneously, through distributed digital & IRL networks, that takes seriously the all-encompassing reality of us humans living within The Anthropocene, but also - and possibly most importantly - does not succumb to apathy & nihilism. Amongst climate change, ecological degradation, political upheaval, and all the “doom” in the world, communities and individuals’ best bet to ride the wave of destruction are to become staunch “optimists” and help birth the next generation of doers, institutions, and collective sense-making.
Doomer + Optimism = Navigating civilizational collapse (literally & metaphorically)
Our conversation with Jason was as wide-ranging as the colors of fall leaves in the Appalachian mountains. We talked about regenerative food systems, bioregionalism, and teaching at Appalachian State University, amongst other topics.
Below are timestamps of the conversation to skip around (or just clear your mind and press play to hear a thoughtful conversation).
We thank Jason for his time, research, and eclectic mind. Enjoy the conversation, and until next time - Ad Astra!
Who, or what, influenced your curiosity growing up? (03:55)
Questioning Neo-classical economic models (14:15)
Publishing papers, academic publishing, and development issues (24:10)
Technopoly, Techno-Optimism, Techno-Pessimism, and Techno-Realism (41:40)
Energy use, bio-regionalism, and collective decision making, (50:00)
Life as a budding homesteader (59:25)
What is Doomer Optimism? (01:08:45)
The Doomer Optimist Collective (01:17:50)
Jason’s answer to The Overview Effect questions (01:23:05)
More on Jason Snyder:
Teacher Profile: https://sd.appstate.edu/directory/jason-snyder-phd
Google Scholar: https://scholar.google.com/citations?user=vlhs0XQAAAAJ&hl=en