Practicing Thrivability

Michelle Holliday is the author of ‘Age of Thrivability: Vital Perspectives and Practices for a Better World’ She is the host of Thrivable World and has presented in several TEDX conferences (see

Michelle promotes natural systems thinking and reminds us that we are nature, and that by acting as nature we can develop life-aligned and life enhancing relationships in our lives, our work, and our communities.

In this one-day workshop Michelle and Katharine Burke, founder of the Small Earth Institute in Norway, will
• apply natural systems thinking to make sense of the chaos, complexity and potential in the world
• explore our role as humans connected to and interdependent with the ‘more than human world’, and
• provide an introduction to the emerging worldview and practice of “thrivability”.

The event will take place in Sandefjord Norway, close to Torp Airport. It will include two snack/cofffee breaks, healthy lunch, and a dinner following the end of the workshop. The dinner will be in a standup/sit down mingling format, which will create possiblities to meet other particpants and strengthen relationships that will lead to further interconnectedness
Please join us for a provocative, paradigm shifting and fun workshop!

“If humanity is going to make it through, the intention of our work together must be to shape every project, every community as a practice ground for a more thrivable world.” — Michelle Holliday

(includes full day 8 hour workshop, two coffee/tea/snack breaks, lunch, and dinner)
Student/unemployed/freelance: 1500kr
Steady income: 2000kr
Institution/supporting contribution: 2500 kr.

For further information and to register, please contact:
The Small Earth Institute:
Facebook: The Small Earth Institute

A Rebellion of Food: 8/23/2021

A deep adaptation experience

This is the beginning of the extinction rebellion week called the ‘Impossible Rebellion’ I am not sure why it is called that but it may be as a challenge- can we take on the impossible? Because all the events here in Norway are up in Oslo and I can’t get up to Oslo until Thursday, I woke up this morning and decided to use this week for a ‘rebellion of food’

Not a fast, but a weeklong commitment to eat ONLY from the food we have grown ourselves. I wander into the garden before breakfast to look for what it might be. I pick beans, chard, onions, garlic, plums. The quinoa is not ready yet, but I still have some quinioa left over from last year. We have picked apples and raspberries and so many cucumber and green squash and some hokaido squash. There is dill and oregano and basil and sage. There are lots of potatoes. I feel a sense of gratitude and think of Joanna Macy’s spiral of the work that reconnects- I already feel reconnected to my place, my living on this small piece of land, and am filled with gratitude at the harvest that is available.

I also find myself thinking of Jem Bendell’s Deep adaptation and of the principle of relinquishment: what will I need to relinquish this week to accomplish this rebellion? Salt. Sugar. Coffee. Of course, Chocolate. The raspberries have all been made into jam, with sugar that was not grown here. I question myself whether this will be ok, and decide no, not for this week. No wheat either. No oatmeal, although we have some oats grown down in the far field for the goats. I wonder how much is there, how to thresh it, if it is possible to make bread or small cakes. No yeast. Of course yeast is naturally occuring in the environment, but I am not sure if I can make a sourdough with oats. I muse on how much we take for granted, what deep adaptation will mean, even for those of us that have some land and can grow some food. Of course we will need to work together, come together communally and share what we have grown. But not this week, and so I ponder how ready, how unready we are for living in ways that are really light on the Earth, and on the need to start now, not later. There really is no later now.


I decide to use half of the small amount of quinoa I have left from last year, and make a quinoa pudding. Quinoa needs to be soaked, then boiled, and the water changed several times because of the saponins in the seeds. I save the water- if it contains saponins can I use it as soap? Can I use store bought soap this week if I am taking this challenge seriously? How could I make soap? I begin to think of all the things I need to learn.

I am aware as I boil the quinoa and then spin it to a pulp that I am using electricity that does nto come from here. In a perfect experience I would need to use solar or wind power, or build a fire with my own wood. Our wood is from the farm next door, but not from our own land. I decide that for htis week, I will have to compromise on the energy.

I mix the quinoa with some apple pectin I cooked down two days ago, and with small pieces of apple and plum. No sugar or salt. We have some honey from the neighbor next door- I reflect that this may be ok, but I am not using it this morning. I regret slightly, that I did not pick more raspberries when they were ripe, or more of the black cherries. I wish the hazelnut trees had nuts this year, and that the sunflowers had grown better. I am aware of the better choices I would have to make, the care I would have to take, if my garden were the only source of nutrition.

The pudding is slightly nutty and creamy from the pectin, slightly tart and slightly sweet. I drink mint lemon water with mint from the garden and slices of lemon from our indoor lemon tree. It’s fine, and I have gratitude for nourishment, food planted from seeds by my own hands, watered an nourished by my own energy, now providing abundance and giving energy back to my body. It’s actually very filling, and I save half the bowl for tomorrow’s breakfast. I think of people who do not have enough to eat, of the coming food crises due to climate calamities, and move also into The Work that Reconnects’ “acknowledging our pain for the world”. The next step of the Work, “Seeing with New Eyes”, is also right in front of me: We are of the Earth and nourished by the Earth, and the solutions to this crisis are in reconnecting to the Earth, relearning to grow and harvest from her bounty without destroying ecosystems, and working as community to help each other. There is no other way.

Restorying nature connectedness project-ongoing

This project is developing as a result of work over the past year interviewing teachers about their developing ecological awareness. A takeaway from this work has been the realization that we all have stories of our relationship to the natural world, and that reanimating these stories through telling and re-storying them can both reconnect us to our own ecological identity and provide inspiration for others.

Several threads are currently developing in this project. Please share your thoughts and ideas, and check back to see how the project is going.

Continued research and practice in restorying our ecological awareness

Restorying our connectedness in place and time

A podcast of restorying

Restorying workshops

A Wedding with Trees: Aug. 7 2021

Norwegian Wood:

A Wedding With Trees

August 7, 2021, at The Small Earth Institute: Horten, Norway (one hour south of Oslo)

 A one day nature connectedness and Work That Reconnects event in which we will:

  • Explore our connections with trees and honor our pain for the plight of the forests and the ecosystems they nourish.
  • Write our vows to trees as we come to experience our love for these great beings.
  • Walk in the forest and experience the deep time history of trees on Earth, immerse ourselves in our relationship with trees, and choose (or be chosen by) a tree to say our vows, making deep connection and commitment to these, and all trees.
  • Celebrate our connection to trees in the evening with a ‘wedding’ celebration feast, tell stories and poems, sing, and dance.

This event is money-free: no monetary payment is required although you may donate if you like to help us continue the work .  We do ask that if you come, you commit yourself to giving this event forward to others, in other forests or woods. Also, please bring celebratory vegan/vegetarian food and drink to share.

For more information, please contact: The Small Earth Institute email:  Facebook: The Small Earth Institute  Twitter: @dennelillejord