Graduation Year


Graduation Month


Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Science


Environmental Science and Sustainability

Faculty Mentor Department

Environmental Studies

Faculty Mentor

Caroline Stephens


Colonialism, Sustainability, Ecology, Climate change, Environmental Studies, Environmental Science

Subject Categories

Environmental Studies


The purpose of this creative scholarship is to examine human relationships to Earth and the implications for a thriving future. This thesis studies the current environmental state of our planet, then looks at sustainability as a model for improving human and planetary health, and ends by visualizing a thriving future beyond sustainability in which we adopt a “caretaker” culture. The key to this trajectory is to untangle and dismantle colonial relationships with the planet and replace them with “caretaker” relationships - relationships rooted in love, honor, and reciprocity with environmental connection, while taking into account past, present, and future generations

This thesis is a culmination of four years of coursework in environmental science, environmental studies, Indigenous Knowledge, and climate change. These courses included examples of how political divisions prevent climate action, colonial ideas stall progressive wilderness policy, and resource management decisions are made without sufficient community input. These issues have made me realize that cultural change is most urgently needed to solve or manage major environmental and social issues.

To carry out this project, I utilized Western and non-Western concepts. I drew upon lessons learned across many of my courses and read several books and texts to prepare myself for the writing of this thesis. These texts include books, articles, essays, TED talks, and other sources that span environmental, social, economic, and cultural topics. These sources are listed by chapter in the bibliography at the end of this document.

This project communicates to the world that how we live our relationship with the planet matters. Time and time again, the biggest obstacle to climate and environmental solutions is the lack of care for the planet. We need to reimagine our relationship with the planet everywhere and in every way.

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