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Educating for Sustainability Lecture Series--Dr. Mitchell Thomashow

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Dr. Mitchell Thomashow, president of Unity College, Maine, USA

Thomashow delivered a presentation on "The Nine Elements of a Sustainable Campus" at NYU, Tuesday, February 9, 2010.  The powerpoint of his presentation can be found here.


Mitchell Thomashow Bio:

Dr. Mitchell Thomashow is the President of Unity College in Maine, a small environmental liberal arts college whose mission entails stewardship, sustainability, and service. As a college president, he aspires to integrate concepts of ecology, sustainability, natural history, wellness, participatory governance, and community service
into all aspects of college and community life.

He has spent thirty years in the field of environmental studies, promoting an approach that is precisely matched to the unique qualities of Unity College:
• Broadening the constituency for conservation
• Serving the underserved
• Modeling real-time, frugal sustainability
• Emphasizing the outdoors, hands-on, ecological learning experience
• Engaging the regional community in intellectual, artistic, and recreational opportunities

Thomashow is the founder of “Whole Terrain”, an environmental literary publication, originating at Antioch New England Graduate School, and the publication “Hawk and Handsaw,” a journal of reflective sustainability, published at Unity College. He serves on the advisory board of The Orion Society, the Coalition on Environmental and Jewish Life (COEJL), and the Teleosis Institute. Thomashow is a founding member of the Council of Environmental Deans and Directors (CEDD), a national organization that supports interdisciplinary environmental studies in higher education. He serves on the Steering Committee of the American Colleges and University President’s Climate Commitment (ACUPCC).

Thomashow's book, Ecological Identity: Becoming a Reflective Environmentalist (The MIT Press, 1995) offers an approach to teaching environmental education based on reflective practice—a guide to teachers, educators and concerned citizens alike that incorporates issues of citizenship, ecological identity, and civic responsibility within the framework of environmental studies. His most recent book, Bringing the Biosphere Home (The MIT Press, 2001) is a guide for learning how to perceive global environmental change. It shows readers that through a blend of local natural history observations, global change science, the use of imagination and memory, and spiritual contemplation, you can learn how to broaden your spatial and temporal view so that it encompasses the entire biosphere. It suggests how global environmental change might become the province of countless educational initiatives—from the classroom to the Internet, from community forums to international conferences, from the backyard to the biosphere. His most recent essay (2007), “The Gaian Generation: A New Approach to Environmental Learning” provides a radical new approach to teaching about global environmental change.Currently, he is in the initial stages of two writing projects: one a book on the ecology of improvisation, linking music, play and sports, and patterns in nature, a second a series of essays exploring how an environmental studies education promotes virtue.

NYU Sustainability Logo

"I propose that a deeply integrated, values-based approach to sustainability must thoroughly penetrate all aspects of campus life."


--Mitchell Thomashow

The Sustainable Campus as a Learning Lab:  A sustainable culture for a college or university involves  infrastructure, community, and learning.



Dr. Mitchell Thomashow is the President of Unity College in Maine, a small environmental liberal arts college whose mission entails stewardship, sustainability, and service.

Mitchell Thomashow is the president of Unity College. He is the author of two books, Ecological Identity: Becoming a Reflective Environmentalist (The MIT Press, 1995) and Bringing the Biosphere Home (The MIT Press, 2001) and he is a Steering Committee Member of the American College & University Presidents Climate Commitment (ACUPCC).


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