Thomas F. Thornton

Thomas F. Thornton
University of Alaska Southeast

About

123
Publications
26,568
Reads
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2,937
Citations
Introduction
Additional affiliations
August 2008 - present
University of Oxford
Position
  • Managing Director
Education
September 1988 - March 1995
University of Washington Seattle
Field of study
  • Anthropology (MA, Ph.D); Environmental Studies (TA)
August 1981 - June 1986
Swarthmore College
Field of study
  • Sociology/Anthropology (+ Secondary School Teaching)

Publications

Publications (123)
Article
The article examines the process of production and change of place names based on data collected in 2017 among the Okhotsk Ewenki, the easternmost Indigenous community in Siberia, Russia. Through ethnographic and semiotic analysis, we show that Ewenki place names are not simply reproduced, but rather generated and transformed through empathic conta...
Article
Full-text available
Communities want to determine their own climate change adaptation strategies, and scientists and decision-makers should listen to them — both the equity and efficacy of climate change adaptation depend on it. We outline key lessons researchers and development actors can take to support communities and learn from them.
Article
Organisations can play a decisive role in steering societies towards sustainable, resilient, and regenerative pathways of development. However, little is known empirically about how they do so. Such knowledge is vital as COVID-19 has laid bare the need for a wide range of systemic transformations. We examine the role of Sustainability-Oriented Hybr...
Article
Changes in diets and food practices have implications for personal and planetary health. As these implications have become more apparent, dietary change interventions that seek to promote healthy and sustainable transitions have proliferated, and the processes and drivers of dietary change have come under increasing scrutiny. In particular, dietary...
Article
Full-text available
There is a growing recognition of the importance of conservation beyond protected areas, in spaces of human-wildlife coexistence. Negative human-wildlife interactions are a key challenge, but a better understanding of the forms of tolerance and mutual accommodation would be useful for coadaptation toward coexistence. To date, however, studies of hu...
Article
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Given current limitations of global and national governance arrangements in redirecting economic globalisation towards a climate-safe and sustainable world, it is crucial to understand how organisations that aim to tackle social and environmental problems using market mechanisms can contribute to fostering sustainability transformations. This revie...
Article
The essay argues that geographies of hope for Tlingit communities in Southeast Alaska begin with a strong sense of place, both social and geographic. In Tlingit, the matrilineal clan—the repository of heritage, identity, and property—constitutes the collective, animate source of resilience, hope, and renewal. We examine the ways in which clans cont...
Article
Full-text available
Background: Despite a rapidly accumulating evidence base quantifying ecosystem services, the role of biodiversity in the maintenance of ecosystem services in shared human-nature environments is still understudied, as is how indigenous and agriculturally dependent communities perceive, use, and manage biodiversity. The present study aims to document...
Article
Full-text available
Most sharing economy business models implement win-win strategies to promote business viability on the one hand coupled with environmental and social sustainability on the other hand. To achieve this purpose, a lower cumulative consumption pattern is a critical benchmark for the effectiveness of such strategies in the sharing economy. In this paper...
Article
Full-text available
Processes aiming to achieve urban transformation that includes sustainability can result in green gentrification and thus promote exclusivist, private green spaces. At the same time, they compromise the ability of cities to promote more systemic sustainable development. Istanbul has long been a site of planned gentrification and displacement throug...
Article
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Green-Win is the proposal where that government, society, and business can all reap benefits while at the same time playing a vital role in the transition to sustainable development and lower carbon futures. We argue that, while the Green-Win proposition is central to many state and expert models of sustainability transitions, as a construction, it...
Article
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Green businesses based on economic, social and technological innovations are engines of green growth and climate change adaptation across the world. However, without proper interactive mechanisms with the city, green businesses are particularly vulnerable in today’s fast-changing socio-economic and political urban contexts. Existing research on cli...
Article
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Sustainable urban transitions promise high mitigation and adaptation potential to address the effects of anthropogenic climate change. The two coastal megacities studied in this paper, Shanghai and Istanbul, have the potential for low-carbon urban transitions that can destabilize existing regimes. The destabilization is brought about by the disrupt...
Article
Full-text available
We examine collective action in the food system of the Canadian Maritimes to determine its effect on the resilience and adaptive capacity of food producers, distributors, retailers and governance institutions. Our data suggest that beyond their immediate benefits for their participants, expressions of collective action generate higher‐level impacts...
Article
Full-text available
50 days free at https://authors.elsevier.com/c/1abJ22eyKFZgaF ----While there is broad agreement in theory that farmers' expertise should be integrated into discussions of land management and climate change adaptation in the food system, it is unknown how much research practice has integrated these recommendations. To gauge the state of the field,...
Article
Full-text available
As experts predict that at least some irreversible climate change will occur with potentially disastrous effects on the lives and well-being of vulnerable communities around the world, it is paramount to ensure that these communities are resilient and have adaptive capacity to withstand the consequences. Adaptation and resilience planning present s...
Chapter
Full-text available
Accounts of the supernatural being, Raven, are of singular cultural and historical importance within the oral tradition of Tlingit people, and indeed, among most Native societies of the Northwest Coast of North America. Raven is the foremost “trickster” and “transformer” in Tlingit oral tradition. Here, we identify the role of Raven in Tlingit unde...
Preprint
Background Despite a rapidly accumulating evidence base quantifying ecosystem services, the role of biodiversity in the maintenance of ecosystem services in shared human-nature environments is still understudied, as is how indigenous and agriculturally dependent communities perceive, use and manage biodiversity. The present study aims to document t...
Preprint
Background Despite a rapidly accumulating evidence base quantifying ecosystem services, the role of biodiversity in the maintenance of ecosystem services in shared human-nature environments is still understudied, as is how indigenous and agriculturally dependent communities perceive, use and manage biodiversity. The present study aims to document t...
Preprint
Background Despite a rapidly accumulating evidence base quantifying ecosystem services, the role of biodiversity in the maintenance of ecosystem services in shared human-nature environments is still understudied, as is how indigenous and agriculturally dependent communities perceive, use and manage biodiversity. The present study aims to document t...
Book
This Special Issue introduces human adaptation to biodiversity change as a science-policy issue. Research on human adaptation to biodiversity change requires new methods and tools as well as conceptual evolution, as social–ecological systems and environmental change adaptation approaches must be reconsidered when they are applied to different proce...
Article
Transformations towards more sustainable consumption and production cannot be achieved through mainstream organisational management rationales and practices. These management rationales and practices tend to impose rigid, fictitious dichotomies between what occurs internally within the orga- nisation and what occurs ‘out there’ in biophysical syste...
Article
Full-text available
We investigate the perceptions and impacts of climate change on 11 Indigenous communities in Northern British Columbia and Southeast Alaska. This coastal region constitutes an extremely dynamic and resilient social-ecological system where Indigenous Peoples have been adjusting to changing climate and biodiversity for millennia. The region is a bell...
Article
Balancing trade‐offs amongst social–ecological objectives is a central aim of natural resource management. However, objectives and resources often have spatial dimensions, which are usually ignored in trade‐off analyses. We examine how simultaneously integrating social–ecological benefits and their spatial complexities can improve trade‐off analysi...
Article
Full-text available
Adaptation to environmental change, including biodiversity change, is both a new imperative in the face of global climate change and the oldest problem in human history. Humans have evolved a wide range of adaptation strategies in response to localised environmental changes, which have contributed strongly to both biological and cultural diversity....
Article
Indigenous peoples (IP) and traditional knowledges have been marginalized in the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) since its inception, but recent efforts have attempted to better integrate Indigenous perspectives. This paper proposes an empirical method for tracking country representation of IP and traditional knowledg...
Article
Full-text available
This review evaluates the potential of the proposed local communities and Indigenous peoples’ platform to effectively engage traditional ecological knowledge (TEK) for climate policy. Specifically, we assess the platform's potential to enable greater representation and participation of Indigenous peoples (IPs) within the United Nations Framework Co...
Article
We explore a "Go With the Older Fish" (GWOF) mechanism of learned migration behaviour for exploited fish populations, where recruits learn a viable migration path by randomly joining a school of older fish. We develop a non-age-structured biomass model of spatially independent spawning sites with local density dependence, based on Pacific herring (...
Article
Sustainable Consumption and Production (SCP) has traditionally treated consumption and production as separate domains of economic activities with different solutions for sustainability. In the emerging sharing economy, consumption activities are more and more integrated into the production process of shared goods and services, which provides novel...
Article
Improving fisheries management is a key challenge in addressing the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 2 (Zero Hunger) and support Goals 1 (No Poverty) and 14 (Life Below Water). However, sustaining the ocean's living resources has important dimensions beyond food security, such as cultural values, which might be of equal importance in som...
Article
A simulation-estimation approach is used to evaluate the efficacy of stock assessment methods that incorporate various levels of spatial complexity. The evaluated methods estimate historical and future biomass for a situation that roughly mimics Pacific herring Clupea pallasii at Haida Gwaii, British Columbia, Canada. The baseline operating model t...
Article
Most sharing mobility business models promise green and affordable transport in cities. However, their rapid scale-up processes have often caused significant disruption and stresses to urban governance. Free-floating bike sharing (FFBS) is highly-touted in Shanghai as a means to bring biking habits back to an overly car-congested city. Despite subs...
Article
Full-text available
Approaches to measuring marine biological parameters remain almost as diverse as the researchers who measure them. However, understanding the patterns of diversity in ocean life over different temporal and geographic scales requires consistent data and information on the potential environmental drivers. As a group of marine scientists from differen...
Article
Urban transformation is vital to global sustainable development as humans increasingly come to dwell in cities. Within cities, the mobility sector promises the highest potential of carbon emission reduction. The disruptive business innovation brought about by the advent of app-based smart-sharing systems is emancipating collaborative consumption of...
Chapter
Full-text available
This paper examines processes by which Alaskan and Siberian indigenous peoples have been rendered as political subjects, “traditional” hunters-gathers, and sustainable enterprise owners amid their respective colonial and post-colonial industrial economies. The comparison is instructive because, despite being part of diametrically opposed (Soviet ve...
Article
Full-text available
This paper introduces a five-step framework, namely the Robust Adaptation Planning (RAP) framework, to plan and respond to the 'grand challenge' of climate change. RAP combines, under a unified framework, elements from robust action, participatory planning and network theory to capture the different motives, perception, and roles of actors that are...
Article
The disruptive rise of the sharing economy has inspired multiple social innovations embodying significant potential towards achieving urban sustainability in crucial areas like low-carbon mobility. Increasingly, consumers in such sharing systems participate in activities of value co-creation together with firms and peers, such as through enforcing...
Article
Current models of adaptation to climate change focus on common causes of vulnerability among individuals and communities in an attempt to improve their capacity to adapt. These models tend to neglect the impact on vulnerability of local relationships that include political and economic power structures. We use social network analysis to examine the...
Article
Since the mid-2000s, millions of spatiotemporally disparate and demographically heterogeneous North Americans have signed online petitions challenging proposed transcontinental Alberta oil sands export pipelines. This phenomenon typifies bottom-up, self-organized, and ostensibly extemporaneous cyberactivism. These dynamics contradict traditional th...
Article
Full-text available
Among the maritime Tlingit of the Northwest Coast of North America, little lakes or lagoons are defined by several terms, the most common of which is áak'w. The Tlingit term is applied to both freshwater lakes and salt water lagoons, and is relational (lagoons are small as compared to large freshwater lakes or saltwater bays) and processual (involv...
Article
Indigenous Peoples (IP) are a critical and inadequately considered population in the climate change crisis. IP represent much of the world’s cultural diversity – and this environmental knowledge and adaptability should be considered a crucial source to contribute to global solutions. Yet IP globally face systemic discrimination and exclusion from p...
Article
Full-text available
Global environmental change (GEC) is an increasingly discussed phenomenon in the scientific literature as evidence of its presence and impacts continues to grow. Yet, while the documentation of GEC is becoming more readily available, local perceptions of GEC— particularly in small-scale societies—and preferences about how to deal with it, are still...
Article
As developing countries move from policy to implementing adaptation to climate change, formal operational structures are emerging that exceed the expertise of any one actor. We refer to these arrangements as ‘meta-organisations’ that comprise many autonomous component organisations tackling adaptation. The meta-organisations set standards, define p...
Article
Debates around the design and content of climate change adaptation policies are shaped, in part, by the power and influence of actors within an adaptation regime. This paper applies a power-mapping technique, Multilevel Stakeholder Influence Mapping (MSIM), to stakeholders in Ghana's agricultural adaptation policy regime. The method provides a quan...
Article
A mischievous figure from traditional cultures around the world can contribute an alternative narrative for humanity in the Anthropocene.
Article
Full-text available
The idea of climate change has been enforced by its similarities with belief systems. It may come as a surprise to scientists, the media and climate activists participating in climate change discussions that they are unconsciously following models rooted in belief systems. These models include an emphasis on existential anxiety and the public expre...
Article
Full-text available
This report describes the goals, data recovery methods, data analysis, and conclusions of a pilot project “A Multidisciplinary Exploratory Study of Alpine Cairns, Baranof Island, Southeast Alaska,” funded by the National Science Foundation under Project No. 1230132. The project brought together experts in the disciplines of archaeology (University...
Poster
Based on data from Shanghai and Istanbul, two representative megacities and economic centers of upper-middle-income countries located in East Asia and between West Asia and Europe, we identified two significant opportunity spaces for transformation. One is enabled by the disruptive business model innovations of the sharing economy in Shanghai’s mob...
Article
Full-text available
The Tlingit Aboriginal tourism enterprise named Icy Strait Point in Hoonah, Southeast Alaska is used as a case study to develop the new concept of Sustainable Social-Environmental Enterprise (SSEE). SSEE is defined as an innovative enterprise that has dynamic operational strategies while still maintaining its corporate core values and integrating s...
Article
The Anthropocene is rooted in the proposition that human activity has disrupted earth systems to the extent that it has caused us to enter a new geological age. We identify three popular discourses of what the Anthropocene means for humanity's future: the Moral Jeremiad admonishes the transgression of planetary boundaries and advocates reductions t...
Article
Full-text available
The concept of Ecosystem Services (ES), widely understood as the "benefits that humans receive from the natural functioning of healthy ecosystems" (. Jeffers et al., 2015), depicts a one-way flow of services from ecosystems to people. We argue that this conceptualisation is overly simplistic and largely inaccurate, neglecting the reality that human...
Article
The management of the sea has increased exponentially in the last half-century, and different academic disciplines have been vital in shaping this management. Human geography, despite its explicit focus on the human–environment nexus, has so far had little impact on human relations with the sea. Based on empirical research conducted in England and...
Article
This special section features recent ethnoecological studies of key fish and shellfish species used by tribes and First Nations of the Northwest Coast of North America. The papers present ethnographic studies of the region’s largely overlooked indigenous mariculture practices, and seek to reframe them as a form of cultivation rather than simple “co...
Article
Full-text available
Pacific herring (Clupea pallasi) are a keystone species in the marine ecosystems of the Tlingit and Haida peoples of Southeast Alaska and British Columbia. Herring are not only caught and eaten and their eggs gathered, but also cultivated through respectful engagement, especially in their spring spawning cycle. This paper examines the nature of her...
Article
We present evidence for cultivation of marine resources among aboriginal peoples of the Northwest Coast of North America. While such evidence has been marshalled for plant cultivation, we argue that similar cultivation techniques developed around salmon and other critical marine resources of which they had intimate knowledge, and that such interven...
Article
The growth of peri-urban areas is increasingly recognised as a dominant planning and urban design challenge for the 21st century. In burgeoning poor urban settlements growing on city margins, autonomous adaptation strategies are often the only measures to respond to increasing climatic and compounding stressors. Yet, in both research and practice t...
Article
This paper uses GIS and spatiotemporal analysis of a historically and culturally modified marine ecosystem to evaluate Pacific herring abundance, declines, vulnerabilities, and future prospects, about which a Native Tribe and state fisheries managers disagree. In 2008, the Sitka Tribe of Alaska (STA) requested that an area within its traditional wa...
Article
The transformation of Pacific herring (Clupea pallasii) fisheries from communal to commons to neoliberal regulation has had significant impacts on the health and sustainability of marine ecosystems on the Northwest Coast of North America. Due to their abundance, seasonality, and sensitivity in disturbance, herring were carefully cultivated and prot...
Article
Full-text available
In the United States and the United Kingdom, over the last decade major retail chains have increasingly publicized their efforts to supply sustainably sourced and eco-labelled seafood. Debate exists over the extent of consumer demand for this product. Seafood eco-labels purportedly resolve the information asymmetry between producer and consumer, al...
Article
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Where power lies and how it is conceived in studies of governance and institutions is often not discussed. This is due to the ubiquitous nature of the topic. Power is shaped by a variety of institutional factors, including the architecture of governing structures, questions of scale and level, and access to key resources including knowledge and cap...
Article
Full-text available
This paper analyses the organizational and implementation design strategies of two ongoing Local Adaptation Plan for Action (LAPA) initiatives in Nepal and Pakistan. LAPA is considered an answer for institutionalized local-level adaptation planning that aims to capture local needs and direct resources to where, when and by whom these are most neede...
Conference Paper
Background/Question/Methods To what extent can ethnolinguistic and ethnoecological knowledge be used as tools for envisionng and carrying out ecosystem management in coastal areas? This paper examines this question by looking at case studies of Pacific herring and salmon in social-ecological systems in Southeast Alaska. The paper examines several...