Senior Theses

Publication Date


Document Type

Thesis (Open Access)

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy



Faculty Advisor(s)

Jesús Ilundáin-Agurruza

Subject Categories

American Material Culture | Human Ecology | Philosophy


America has become industrialized and characterized by social anxiety and overconsumption. The inability to be sustainable has led the once plentiful and flourishing nation into an ongoing sustainability crisis. Even if there is a deep connection between them, this essay focuses on social sustainability rather than ecological. It argues for an intentional community-based framework to keep American life sustainable. Pollution, civil unrest, and intense social anxiety create unfulfilling life conditions for many American citizens. Using examples from modern American intentional communities, I will explain the need for self-directing, close-knit communities. Flourishing community members, as it will be considered from sociological and pragmatist theory, are notably more autonomous and environmentally conservative than mainstream American society. Communal societies immensely aid in successfully establishing contextually-based governments that help fulfill their citizens. They are more conscious of their environment (in the broader sense than the ecological one) and thus seek a healthy sustainable consumption rate and social climate. The values and traditions that cultivate environmental care are integral in communities and often combat the instability of American society. Though grassroots communal living can be hard and often forsakes the amenities of capitalist America, it offers alternative values that would still sustain and help to achieve fulfillment by the population.