Abstract: This paper presents a framework for designing desert livelihoods – ways to make a living that are adapted to the biologically and culturally diverse arid zone of Australia. Cultures are shaped by the biophysical characteristics of the places within which they evolved, and cultural practices in turn shape their environments. This diachronic relationship between natural and cultural systems around the world has developed a large body of Indigenous knowledge (e.g. Posey 1999). Biological and cultural diversity frequently co-occur: Australia is one of six nations that is mega-diverse biologically and linguistically due to its high numbers of endemic vertebrates, plants, birds and languages (Harmon & Maffi 2002). In turn, the high extinction rates of our biocultural diversity may have profound consequences for our national identity. In this context, cross-cultural sustainability is the challenge to safeguard human wellbeing and the adaptive capacity of ecosystems by maintaining a functioning lifesupport system (Fischer et al. 2007).