Date of Award

Spring 5-11-2022

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts (BA)


Environmental Studies


John Van Buren

Second Advisor

Garnet Kindervater


This thesis addresses the modern adaptations of human societies in response to environmental crises during the times of Covid-19 and climate change. As humans continue to inflict destruction on the planet and each other, we must understand human adaptation as a response to human action and treat this action as one equal to the forces of nature. Chapter 1 discusses the concept that human action has evolved to be as powerful as nature in terms of destruction and catastrophic consequences on human society. This chapter addresses relevant data on the magnitude of human consequences, in the context of Covid-19 and climate change, and considers the histories of human destruction. Using an anthropological lens, chapter 2 analyzes the inefficiencies of human adaptation and discusses that humans tend to adapt with resistance in reaction to crisis, rather than prepare resilient strategies for that crisis. Chapter 3 addresses the weak international systems and politics that respond to these environmental crises (i.e. Coronavirus and climate change) and suggests that these systems were not built for long-term, international cooperation. Moreover, these systems typically offer resistant, reactionary methods and do not promote preventative, long-term adaptations. Chapter 4 focuses on the inequalities and injustices that follow sporadic and regional adaptations, specifically comparing more developed and less developed countries, arguing that without the structure of functioning international systems, humans will adapt regionally and often face social, political, and economic inequality. And finally, Chapter 5 offers recommendations for the future of adaptations, explaining that it would be more productive if humans relied on preparedness and resilience rather than resistance.