I would like to thank the Harvard Climate Solutions Fund for their generous support, which gave me the opportunity to develop forms of optimistic storytelling about environmental risk, and the Harvard Asia Center, whose support allowed me to include Nepal among these narratives. I am also grateful to the Harvard Radcliffe Institute for funding the “Imagining Retreat” symposium prior to my fieldwork, and to my collaborators Professor Sharon Harper, for the journey, and Professor Joanna Lombard, for continuing to imagine with me. I am deeply indebted to the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation for the support to augment my research throughout our collaboration and our discussions of change in Florida.

Thanks also to everyone at my second home at the Harvard Arnold Arboretum, where I encounter endless inspiration from the living collections, and especially to Professor William (Ned) Freidman, for his vision and support. To Peter Del Tredici, who taught me to really see plants, thank you again.

A special thanks to the Harvard Graduate School of Design, especially the Master of Design Studies (MDes) students in Risk & Resilience for considering “retreat” a topic worthy of further consideration at a time when most design schools were trying to teach students how to “build back better.” This includes support and ideation with Justin Henceroth, Isaac Stein, Ashley C. Thompson, Maggie Tsang, and my colleague and co-conspirator Professor Diane Davis.  For those precious years of research, thanks also to Professor Pierre Belanger and Professor Kiel Moe, who led by example and offered continuing support.

Most meaningful enquiries cannot be pursued alone. The research that led to Landscapes of Retreat was a collaborative effort undertaken together every step of the way. I would like to thank Mariel A. Collard for her time, space, and modesty during our travels. Without Mariel, the research for this book would simply not have been possible. I am also grateful to everyone who worked alongside me over the years, with special thanks to Catherine Auger, Dane Carlson, Naoko Asano, Edith Jostol, Yannick Lay, and Malone Matson.

I would like to thank my publisher, K. Verlag, for believing in this book, especially director Anna-Sophie Springer for coordinating its production, guest designer Ginny Davies for the beautiful execution of the layout, and editor Etienne Turpin for his support and dedication. I met Etienne early on in the project and since that time, we have worked together to develop a research symposium, lectures, project pitches, and course curricula in a spirit of radical collaboration. In 2020, he mobilized the grant enabling this book and choreographed its structure in response to our many walks in the field. Like his commitment towards Landscapes of Retreat, Etienne’s perspective on grassroots climate change adaptation and his editorial-curatorial vision are a lasting inspiration.

I want to extend some of my gratitude geographically:

in Chile, gracias Alejandro Hormazabal Garrido from Fundación Acercaredes, Daniela Alejandra from Arauco, Ruiz Gonzalez, Tova Katzman, Bernardo Reyes, and Joel Eliú Barrera Valdés;

— in Nepal, namaste & tashi delek Babu Tamang, our friend and guide, his whole family for their hospitality, and George Varughese and Mohandas Manandhar from the Niti Foundation;

— in Japan, arigatõgozaimashita to non-profit organizer Wakaki Fujita in Karatsu, our boat captain Kan Morita, Kyushu University researcher Akira Tanaka, and community historian and patient
teacher Yo Yamada;

— in Alaska, Quyana Professor John Koepke, relocation coordinator Sally Cox, and Michael Walleri, who serves as legal counsel to Niagtaq Village tribal leaders;

— in Québec, merci to the mayor of Sainte-Flavie Jean-François Fortin,  Laval University Professor Dr. Ladd Johnson, Les Jardins de Metis’s Director Alexander Reford, and biologist Guadalupe Fernandez at Parc de la rivière Mitis.

Last, but by no means least: thank you Ezra Andrade Lee, for everything.

To unsettle land as part of reparative practice is a way of residing otherwise, with a different rhythm of relation, care, expectation, and reciprocity. Without understanding how our feelings, thoughts, and behaviors work together with the land, it is almost impossible to find our ways back to ourselves and each other. I hope these stories have contributed to a language of change that affirms the love we feel for each other and for the planet.

1 Winona LaDuke, Recovering the Sacred (Chicago: Haymarket Books, 2016), 227.

2 My research for this book, as well as my teaching alongside it, have been greatly influenced by the writing of Winona LaDuke, especially All Our Relations: Native Struggles for Land and Life [1999] (Chicago: Haymarket Books, 2015).

3 James Baldwin, “As Much Truth As One Can Bear,” New York Times Book Review (14 January 1962), BR11.

4 In this regard, I am less interested in what was left than how it got there, because understanding the process of transformation is critical to developing the repertoire of practices needed for climate adaptation. Thus, the art of attention I aim to cultivate is more or less an inversion of the study of haphazardly abandoned buildings, lots, and lands. To understand this distinction, readers might consider Cal Flyn, Islands of Abandonment: Life in the Post-Human Landscape (London: William Collins, 2021).

5 Matthew Lawrence and Laurie Laybourn-Langton, Planet on Fire: A Manifesto for the Age of Environmental Breakdown (London: Verso, 2021).

6 Isabelle Stengers, In Catastrophic Times: Resisting the Coming Barbarism, trans. Andrew Goffey (London: Open Humanities Press, 2015), 62.

7 Stengers, In Catastrophic Times, 62.

8 Stengers, In Catastrophic Times, 54.

9 Stengers, In Catastrophic Times, 62.

10 Ursula K. Le Guin, “On Being Taken for Granite,” in The Wave in the Mind: Talks and Essay on the Writer, the Reader, and the Imagination (Boulder: Shambhala, 2004), 8.

11 See, New York’s Build Back Better
Plan, “BRIEF: Bloomberg to Announce
Post Sandy Preparation Plans Tuesday,”
NewYork (6 December 2012);
-or-bloomberg-delivers-address-shaping-new-york-city-s-future-after-hurrican-sandy; critiques of the program presented by various scholars, including Liz Koslov et al., “When Rebuilding No Longer Means Recovery: The Stress of Staying Put After Hurricane Sandy,” Climatic Change 165/3–4, (2021),

12 Octavia E. Butler, Parable of the Talents [1998] (London: Headline, 2019).

13 Virginia Woolf, Orlando: A Biography [1928] (London: Penguin Classics, 2016), 55.

14 NOAA National Centers for Environmental Information, US Billion-Dollar Weather and Climate Disasters (2022),

15 Woolf, Orlando, 55.

16 Dipesh Chakrabarty, The Climate of History in a Planetary Age (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2021), 195.

17 On the art of noticing, see also Anna Tsing, The Mushroom at the End of the World: On the Possibility of Life in Capitalist Ruins (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2015).

18 Leanne Betasamosake Simpson, As We Have Always Done: Indigenous Freedom Through Radical Resistance (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press 2017), 240. See also Glen Sean Coulthard, Red Skin, White Masks: Rejecting the Colonial Politics of Recognition (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2015).

19 Anna Tsing, unpublished; this definition emerged in conversation during October 2018, in reference to a project entitled “The Arts of Noticing.”

20 N. Scott Momaday, Earth Keeper: Reflections on the American Land (New York: Harper, 2020). For readers unfamiliar with the colonial history of the United States and its effects on relations between Indigenous people and their lands, I would strongly recommend Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz, An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States (Boston: Beacon Press, 2014).