Human environment interactions and collaborative adaptive capacity building in a resilience framework

Bruss, Peter T., author
Galvin, Kathleen, advisor
Banning, Jim, committee member
Boone, Randall, committee member
Reid, Robin, committee member
Thompson, Jessica, committee member
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Being firmly in the Anthropocene Era--a period in humanity's evolution where human behavior and dominance is significantly impacting the earth's systems, my research objective was in response to the concern and call of the National Science Foundation and of the International Human Dimensions Programme on Global Environmental Change that humanity needs to develop new strategies to tackle complex anthropogenic issues impacting the global environment and that there should be a focus on human behavior to effect change. Through a collaborative tri-phase dual model research initiative in the back country of Burntwater, Arizona in the Houck Chapter on the Navajo Nation, a small group of Navajo, using a photovoice and artvoice technique, began an exploration into community issues and concerns. The outcome confirmed that illegal trash dumping was a serious matter to the community in need of attention. Through multiple community gatherings the illegal trash dumping issue was discussed and explored within the workings of a Participatory Social Frame Work of Action - Collaborative Adaptive Capacity Building (PSFA-CACB) conceptual model. Using data from my field site I was able to partially inform a theoretical agent-based model Taking Care of the Land - Human Environment Interactions (TCL-HEI). Using the TCL-HEI model I was then able to theoretically illustrate within a resilience framework a social-ecological system regime basin shift from an undesirable state to a desirable state. This shift resulted from a change in the system's stability landscape variables through the introduction of a combination of consultative behavior and economic incentive model parameters. The ultimate objective of the tri-phase dual-model approach was to show how local and regional sustainable entrepreneurial and cooperative action might change illegal trash dumping behavior through a recycling and waste-to-fuels processing program. I further show how the effect of such an initiative would result in mitigating environmental degradation by lessening illegal trash dumping sites and landfill deposits while creating jobs and empowering a local population. It is my hope that the ramifications of this study might be considered at the Chapter, Agency and Nation levels on the Navajo Nation to explore possibilities of contracting-out for the development of a clean-energy waste-to-fuels processing facility and program.
2012 Spring.
Includes bibliographical references.
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capacity building
agent-based modeling
Associated Publications