Year of Award


Document Type

Thesis - Campus Access Only

Degree Type

Master of Science (MS)

Degree Name

Environmental Studies

Department or School/College

Environmental Studies Program

Committee Chair

Phil Condon

Commitee Members

Amy Ratto-Parks, Neva Hassanein


bioregion, building, clothing, distancing, farming, handmade, local economy, making, memoir, shelter, social change, social justice, water, food, sustainable agriculture


University of Montana


This series of essays explores the concept of “distancing,” the conceptual and physical separation we have from products we use every day. Although these concepts are most popularly explored through sustainable agriculture, the goods and services we are distanced from range from the bowls we eat breakfast in to the water we drink. Although we use these things nearly every day, we know almost nothing of their histories, so an accurate accounting of our effect on the world remains difficult. In part, this lack of knowledge, this distance, allows for social and ecological consequences we would never willingly put our names on, everything from environmental degradation to unhealthy labor conditions. Similarly, we often do not know what good can come from our choices, from how we choose to spend our money and our days. These essays concentrate on the acts of courage and good faith that inhabit everyday objects. They connect people to places and communities, rejoining the links between ecological contexts, raw materials, human skills, art, technology, and ourselves as consumers, customers, citizens. I also explore my personal experience with the alternatives to “distancing” in relation to my aspirations for a homeplace and experiences as a grower of food and maker of functional art, through the stories of particular goods involved in more ethical commodity networks. This exploration also looks at ways that other people and institutions are intentionally making connections with handwork and responsible production and distribution networks, particularly in comparison to the industrial, global commodity networks that often unhealthily, unjustly govern many lives around the world today.

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© Copyright 2012 Grace Charlotte Brogan