About the Thrivability Institute (Thriv'In)


Thrive:  To prosper, to flourish, to grow well or vigorously


Thrivability - A Definition

Sustainability has been hesitantly embraced over the past few decades, even though the idea of living in a way that sustains life seems prudent and beneficial.  Perhaps the answer to this perplexity lies within the perception of sustainability itself.

If we consider Rachel Carson’s book, Silent Spring, as the springboard for the modern environmental movement and follow this movement through today’s surge in sustainability initiatives, much of its history has been mired in conflict, “us vs. them,” guilt, and demands for sacrifice. Thus, for many people environmentalism and sustainability carries with it a feeling of lack and of giving up something, even as they acknowledge the need for action to avert a slide toward environmental destruction.

The most widely accepted definition of sustainability was issued in the 1987 Brundtland Report by the World Commission on Environment and Development.  It states that: ”Sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the current generation without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own need.“  While meeting basic needs is clearly a primary goal, if we focus only on meeting needs, we will ultimately achieve a dissatisfying level of existence.  Just as no one wants merely a “sustainable relationship”, no one wants merely a “sustainable life”.  Thus, despite much headway gained over the last decades, there is still a sense that shifting into a way of life that truly honors all life is still out of reach.  Sustainability does not arouse the human heart.

Thrivability fully embraces the principles of sustainability as they set a foundation for change.   Beyond that, thrivability shifts our focus, intention and attention on achieving thrival, not just survival, in all aspects of life: within ourselves, our relationships, our communities, our systems and our choices.  Thus thriving expands what sustainability means.  Thrivability invites us to re-infuse our lives with joy, curiosity, passion, innocence and gratitude, to move beyond mere existence to embracing life in its fullness.  It invites us to proactively consider the question of “what kind of a world do we want to live in?” primary to the one asked in most sustainable circles, namely “how do we fix the mess we’ve made?”  This shifts the focus away from humans as “evil perpetrators” towards human as adaptable, learning co-creators.

Thrivability approaches the Earth and all its inhabitants as partners with whom to co-create respectfully, honoring all perspectives.  It requires a perceptual shift in how we relate to and design everything as elegantly outlined in the works of both Victor Papanek (1975) and the team of Bill McDonough and Michael Braungart (2002).   To begin that process, thrivability asks some basic questions:

Who are you willing to be?
• What do you truly want?
• What brings you joy?
• What are your passions?
• Who are we collectively willing to be?

• What designs would allow us to fully thrive?

The answers, both individually and collectively, will continually expand our concept of Thrivability.  To better understand the complexity of the diverse patterns that weave together our choices - determining who we are and our impact on each other and all life - please visit the Conservation Economy Pattern Map.

Ultimately, thrivability invites a perceptual shift from scarcity to abundance, from sacrifice to celebration, and from hopelessness to infinite possibilities.


The Business Concept


The Thrivability Institute, (hence abbreviated as Thriv’In”), intends to activate one of the most valuable, abundant, and powerful resources our Earth has: the creativity and energy created by each individual passionately and with full support pursuing exactly that which brings him or her joy. Thriv’In plans to support this pursuit in several different practical arenas as we explore the myriad ways to move from sustainability to thrivability.  Primarily, Thriv’In will be a research and learning organization centered around passion-driven, joy-centered action learning. 

In order to accomplish this goal, we intend to purchase land.  Given the freshness of the concept of Thrivability, it is important to provide an actual space that supports active research and an opportunity for continuous practice and application of thrivability principles.  Thriv'In offers a unique opportunity deliberately designed to empower and nurture passion-driven research and creativity. 


Thriv’In as a Container

Perhaps most importantly, Thriv’In seeks to create an energetic container that is grounded in the intent, commitment and agreement to collectively maintain a resonant high-frequency field. Our current knowledge and understanding indicates that feeling states such as joy, gratitude, appreciation, and passion create high frequency states.  Evidence also indicates that such states increase mental clarity, creativity and focus.  Achieving such a space collectively is our intention.  Within this energetic container each participant is encouraged and supported in exploring their deepest passions within the context of designing our thriving emergent society - be it in the area of agriculture, science, inter-species communication, art, culture, economics etc.

Scientific, social, and vibrational technologies are available to assist us in this goal.  Group technologies such as Dynamic Facilitation and Heart Circles provide strong evidence that this container will open up and amplify collective creativity beyond any single person's imagination.  Frequency itself, and its role in creating strong relationships, vibrant communities and functional networks, will become an area of study in and of itself, including how it impacts emerging social inventions.   As the collective frequency increases, we fully anticipate Thriv’In to become a powerful vortex drawing people globally to connect, share, participate and collaborate.  What can emerge from this field – thriving technologies, agricultural methodologies, social constructs - we can, with great joy, only begin to feel into.

Thriv’In as Research Facility

As we begin to expand our perceived options, both individually and collectively, we will naturally begin to explore new processes, innovative technologies, sustainable designs, and creative expression to assist the emergence of a thriving society.  Thriv’In intends to create a rich, supportive environment in which this research can be conducted freely.  We invite researchers of all ages and experience to passionately follow their creative spark for their own joy and, ultimately, for the benefit of all.

Currently, the most readily approachable areas of research lie in the realms of


We fully anticipate many more areas of research to emerge as people infuse their energy and creativity into the field of the possible.

We intend to share the research findings emerging from Thriv’In both locally and with the world, to assist in applying what we are learning in the microcosm of our environment to the global macrocosm. We want to utilize our high-frequency field by inviting the most brilliant, deep thinkers and feelers of our time to tap collectively into the field of infinite possibilities. We particularly acknowledge the evidence cited in James Surowiecki’s book, The Wisdom of Crowds, and welcome and embrace the wisdom of diverse independent thinkers of all ages and all vMemes identified in the Spiral Dynamic system.  From this we intend to see new ideas emerge for every area of our society, which we will share through publications, public talks, co-creative conferences, and workshops.

Both school groups and home-schoolers are encouraged to visit and use us as a community life-long learning resource.    Details...


Thriv’In as Joy-Centered, Passion-Driven

Action Learning Environment

Thriv’In’s educational programs are based on the concept of passion-driven, Joy-Centered Education(SM), developed for learners of many ages. They are designed to accommodate the needs of a diverse learning community, including:

  • Outreach programs to public and private schools, or school visits
  • Accommodation of home-schooled and traditional-schooled research scholars
  • After-school programs
  • Adult evening classes
  • Occasional workshop intensives


Our environment will be specifically designed to include abundant resources with which to direct each participant’s own learning.


Because we are a research and education facility, Thriv’In is a perfect location for a regional center of Gaia University (www.GaiaUniversity.org).  With a focus on leading-edge eco-village design, permaculture and sustainable technology, the partnership of Gaia U and Thriv’In allows us to offer globally developed college-level and advanced degree course work in a hands-on fully activated regional location with UK/EU accreditation.  Details...

Thriv’In as a Local and Global Community Resource Center

Thriv’In intends to become a local and global community resource center, able to host events and gatherings of all kinds, including inviting native elders to host special events to making the space available for workshops and community ceremonies including:

• rites of passage

• learning from native elders of all cultures

• hosting special events and workshops, especially agriculture-based studies

• seasonal celebrations

Over the last 20 years, we have witnessed Ashland powerfully converging into an emotionally, intellectually and spiritually vibrant community with a shared vision for deep connection and inclusive co-creativity (the WebSpirit on-line community is evidence thereof).   (See our Demographics for a more thorough look at why Ashland and Thriv'In are a perfect match.)  In addition, we want to call together all global social designers who are awakening to emerging visions for a thriving humanity and the systems it depends on.  Converging this wisdom will amplify the collective space to assist in creating a thriving world that works for all. 


Who is Thriv'In?

Our Advisory Board

Our Board of Directors

Our Staff


Next Steps

Thriv’In is currently in the process of identifying an appropriate parcel of land to acquire.  Ideal aspects would include:

  • Sufficient irrigated acreage to
    • provide for extensive agro-ecology research opportunities
    • support permaculture-based studies
    • allow for several buildings and event space
    • house animals for interspecies studies
    • Bonus: water feature for riparian studies
  • As close to downtown Ashland as possible
  • Excellent solar and, if possible, good wind exposure
  • Either raw or turn-key developed land.  Raw land will offer the opportunity to fully involve the community in the envisioning, design, and development of the land from the very beginning.  Turn-key land will allow us to create multiple income streams quickly. 


We have identified several parcels that meet our requirements.  With your financial support we can begin to co-creatively manifest the Thrivability Institute right now.


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