Mitchell Thomashow Book Discussion and Signing
Dr. Mitchell Thomashow, former president of Unity College, will discuss and sign copies of his new book, The Nine Elements of a Sustainable Campus, at the UCCPA on Tuesday, October 7 beginning at 6 p.m.
Admission is free and open to the general public.
The Unity College Center for the Performing Arts (UCCPA) is located at 42 Depot Street (off Route 202) in Unity, Maine.
When writing his new book, Thomashow drew from his experiences as President of Unity College. He also relates his experiences to aspects of his recent role as Director of the Second Nature Presidential Fellows Program.
“Dr. Thomashow’s work has enlivened discourse and at times pushed the boundaries of environmental thought,” said Unity College President Stephen Mulkey. “Throughout his life he has served humanity and the natural world. When I think of role models for the next generation of wise environmental stewards, Dr. Thomashow comes to mind. His energy, enthusiasm and vision for a sustainable planet helped Unity College to transition from a regional entity to a borderless concern that issues graduates to all points on the compass.”
Dr. Melik Peter Khoury, Executive Vice President, says that Thomashow infused the College community with a sense of optimism.
“Dr. Thomashow always conveyed the spirit and strengths of the College in ways that were accessible to the general public,” Khoury said.
Dr. Michael Evans, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, praised Thomashow’s collaborative nature and interest in academics.
“Faculty were consistently supported as they endeavored to improve and reframe Unity College’s curriculum,” Evans said. “Through his efforts the College expanded its reach and developed valuable partnerships.”
Thomashow has devoted his life and work to promoting ecological awareness, sustainable living, creative learning, improvisational thinking, social networking, and organizational excellence. Currently he is engaged in teaching, writing, and executive consulting, cultivating opportunities and exchanges that transform how people engage with sustainability and ecological learning.
Since August 2011, Thomashow has served as the Director of the Second Nature Presidential Fellows Program. This program is designed to assist the executive leadership of colleges and universities in promoting a comprehensive sustainability agenda on their campuses. Thomashow works with the ACUPCC (American College and University Climate Commitment) Steering Committee to help cultivate executive consulting on climate action planning, long-range financial planning, organizational leadership, curricular implementation, and community investment.
Thomashow served as president of Unity College from 2006 – 2011. With his management team, he integrated concepts of ecology, sustainability, natural history, wellness, participatory governance, and community service into all aspects of college and community life. This included construction of The Unity House, the first LEED Platinum President’s Residence in North America, and the TeraHaus, the first student residence hall in the United States built to the passive house standard, the most energy efficient building standard in the world. TerraHaus was recently featured in the August 2014 Issue of Sierra Magazine.
Thomashow initiated comprehensive campus energy planning, an integrated approach to growing food on campus, and a new academic master plan.
Previously from 1976-2006, Thomashow was the Chair of the Environmental Studies program at Antioch University New England. He founded an interdisciplinary environmental studies doctoral program and worked collaboratively to grow and nourish a suite of engaging Masters programs, geared to working adults.
He serves on the executive committee of the board of Orion Magazine. He is a founding organizer of the Council of Environmental Deans and Directors (CEDD), a national organization that supports interdisciplinary environmental studies in higher education.
Two of his books have significantly influenced environmental studies education. 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 that incorporates issues of citizenship, ecological identity, and civic responsibility within the framework of environmental studies. 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 philosophical contemplation, individuals may learn how to broaden spatial and temporal view so that it encompasses the entire biosphere. His essay (2010), “The Gaian Generation: A New Approach to Environmental Learning” provides provocative new concepts for teaching about global environmental change. Another essay (2012) “Where You At 2.0” reasserts the relevance of bioregionalism for digital age learners. A recent essay (2013), “Sustainability as Turnaround” is a case study of his work as president at Unity College. His new book, The Nine Elements of a Sustainable Campus (The MIT Press, 2014) provides a framework for advancing sustainable living and teaching in a variety of campus environments.
Thomashow is currently working on two writing, networking, and teaching projects.
Improvisational Excellence suggests that improvisation emulates the patterns and processes of the biosphere. It is a series of essays linking play, music, and observing nature to the paths of everyday living. It is the philosophical basis for Thomashow’s workshops on global environmental change, music and nature, and ecological perception.
Wilson’s Library is a series of prose poems depicting extraordinary moments during the history of life on earth.
Thomashow lives in the hill country of southwest New Hampshire in the shadow of Mount Monadnock. He loves to explore the fields, forests, wetlands, hills, and lakes of Northern New England where you can often find him on his bicycle. His recreational interests include basketball, baseball, board games, jazz piano, electronic keyboards, musical composition and recording, guitars, hiking, and lake swimming.