Embargo Period


Degree Name

MA in Climate Change and Global Sustainability

First Advisor

Kristian Brevik

Second Advisor

Richard Walz


Global sustainability can be understood as an oxymoron since no global society has ever managed to be truly sustainable. Effective examples of sustainable and resilient societies do exist on a much smaller scale, however. This study examined small-scale land-based livelihoods, or homesteads, to understand what factors contributed to their environmental sustainability and climate resilience. Through participant observation as well as long form loosely structured interviews, conceptions of resilience and sustainability on the homestead scale were developed. By understanding the philosophical, spiritual, and political frameworks that inform the homesteaders’ approaches to their livelihoods, three deliverables were developed to exemplify these approaches in practice. A composting toilet, a solar still, and a pair of saplings served to demonstrate visceral awareness of resource cycles, acceptance of the slow gifts of passive energy, and consideration of a future far beyond our own lifetimes. What these all show is that resilience and sustainability are achieved as byproducts of lifestyles based on healthy relationships between human society and the nonhuman environment within which it exists.


Environmental Studies


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