Researcher ORCID Identifier


Graduation Year


Document Type

Open Access Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



Second Department

Environmental Analysis

Reader 1

Jordan Daniels

Reader 2

Lance Neckar

Terms of Use & License Information

Terms of Use for work posted in Scholarship@Claremont.

Rights Information

© 2023 Sanjana G. Bhatnagar


The causes of anthropogenic climate change touch every feature of our modern-day existences. Approaches to sustainability tend to focus on material actions, but unsustainable practices are guided by an ontological orientation of individuality and human exceptionalism. This thesis provides an alternate account of being that decenters individuality through weaving the metaphysics of Fazang of the Huayan School of Mahayana Buddhism with the metaphysics of Martin Heidegger. To encompass the whole of the relational network that constitutes and conditionally defines our existence, I expand Heidegger’s account of locales as relational sites which are put forth solely by humans to an account of locales that are multi-species commons gathered by the human and non-human alike. To move beyond building locales that are dominated by human individualism and exceptionalism, I posit dwelling within a relation to death that rejects the finite boundaries of the self to embrace the shared space of impermanence, expanding outwards to an ecological continuity understood through Val Plumwood’s ethics around the food web. Ultimately, the causal network of a bioregion is established as the locale, a place of dwelling that makes our relational ontology apparent by grounding our dwelling in ecological continuity. Building, by the account of this thesis, must work towards unfolding the infinite networks of relations that facilitate a bioregion’s capacity to be a sustainable site of continuity through impermanence.