Katie Kish

Katie is a PhD student at UWaterloo studying radical and disruptive environmental political economies.


If we sit for a while, allow entire afternoons to pass in the presence of birds, we may find they are skilled in subtle pedagogy.

– Terry Tempest Williams (1987), Pieces of White Shell: A Journey to Navajo Land

KATIE-224x300I believe that we have passed environmental and social thresholds far beyond what political sustainability plans had set to save us from; now we must look towards radical transformation. Our social world, relying so heavily on our deteriorated and broken environment, may soon tip into an unknown and scary future. I am interested in our role within this future; in the ways people will find meaning, purpose, and hope. This unknown future provides great possibility for creativity to emerge that will help to create new worlds. There are a number of people already tapping into this creativity, and that within their creativity there lies solutions to our deepest problems. These are the participants of research – preppers, makers, farmers, homesteaders, and hackers. These are the people fighting for environmentalism in a new, arguably more effective, way and the ones more willing to compromise and engage with wicked dilemmas of change. However, to allow these solutions to take hold we must be ready to challenge the status quo – to be a little uncomfortable and let go of our security blankets.

My name is Katie Kish. I am a PhD student in the School of Environment, Resource, and Sustainability at the University of Waterloo (though I am currently on mat-leave). I’m working under the supervision of Stephen Quilley and Stephen Murphy. Together, our research and collective passion is forging many interesting paths. Some of our projects include the Experiential Learning Group (including an in-faculty festival), Open Source Ecology UW, a first year Big History course, a curriculum focused on reskilling and knowledge for life and the Metcalf Funded reMaker Society. This work is done in collaboration with the Waterloo Institute for Social Innovation and Resilience and the Waterloo Institute for Complexity and Innovation.


Nora the Grump


Zoe the Huntress

Beyond school… I like to do web-design, crochet, camp, sing and do DIY things at home. My husband and I have been busy growing our family first with Zoe, our strong-willed huntress, not to be messed with and more recently with our grumpy and focused daughter, Nora. Nora has helped us both to realize what’s really important in life – poop, food, and sleep.