A former college president offers a framework for sustainability on campus, describing initiatives that range from renewable energy to a revamped curriculum to sustainable investment.
Colleges and universities offer our best hope for raising awareness about the climate crisis and the other environmental threats. But most college and university administrations need guidance on the path to sustainability. In The Nine Elements of a Sustainable Campus, Mitchell Thomashow, a former college president, provides just that. Drawing on his experiences at Unity College in Maine, he identifies nine elements for a sustainability agenda: energy, food, and materials (aspects of infrastructure); governance, investment, and wellness (aspects of community); and curriculum, interpretation, and aesthetics (aspects of learning). He then describes how Unity put these elements into practice. Connecting his experiences to broader concerns, Thomashow links the campus to the planet, reminding us that local efforts, taken together, can have a global impact.
About the Author
Mitchell Thomashow is the author of Ecological Identity: Becoming a Reflective Environmentalist, Bringing the Biosphere Home: Learning to Perceive Global Environmental Change, and The Nine Elements of a Sustainable Campus (all published by the MIT Press).
Praise for The Nine Elements of a Sustainable Campus
Overall I found Nine Elements an inspiring read. For those already familiar with the field it may not offer startling new solutions to achieving sustainability overnight, but it does provide nuanced insight into how we might undertake the journey in an accessible and engaging way. At a time when we still need many more university leaders who vocally champion sustainability, it is particularly significant that someone in Thomashow's position has added his weight to the growing body of voices calling for profound sustainability transformation, in universities and beyond.—Jon Emmett, London School of Economics Review of Books—