Bringing the Biosphere Home

Bringing the Biosphere Home

Learning to Perceive Global Environmental Change

By Mitchell Thomashow

A guide for understanding the ecological and existential aspects of global environmental change.





A guide for understanding the ecological and existential aspects of global environmental change.

This book shows how to make global environmental problems more tangible, so that they become an integral part of everyday awareness. At its core is a simple assumption: that the best way to learn to perceive the biosphere is to pay close attention to our immediate surroundings. Through local natural history observations, imagination and memory, and spiritual contemplation, we develop a place-based environmental view that can be expanded to encompass the biosphere. Interweaving global change science, personal narrative, and commentary on a wide range of scientific and literary works, the book explores both the ecological and existential aspects of urgent issues such as the loss of biodiversity and global climate change. Written in a warm, engaging style, Bringing the Biosphere Home considers the perceptual connections between the local and global, how the ecological news of the community is of interest to the world, and how the global movement of people, species, and weather systems affects the local community. It shows how global environmental change can become the province of numerous educational initiatives—from the classroom to the Internet, from community forums to international conferences, from the backyard to the biosphere. It explains important scientific concepts in clear, nontechnical language and provides dozens of ideas for learning how to practice biospheric perception.


Out of Print ISBN: 9780262201377 256 pp. | 6 in x 9 in


$25.00 X ISBN: 9780262700993 256 pp. | 6 in x 9 in


  • It is a good choice for those seeking to hone their ability to observe and understand nature at any scale.

    Richard A. Matthew


  • This exceedingly engaging and readable book effectively weaves personal narrative and commentary on scientific and literary works.

    W. Weston


  • This is a book full of practical and far-reaching wisdom, a book at once learned and lively.

    Scott Slovic



  • Delighted and delightful, citizens welcome their lives in the biosphere. This book of current nature literature and natural value judgements is your ticket to place and planet.

    Lynn Margulis

    Professor, Department of Geosciences, University of Massachusetts at Amherst

  • This book opens up the doors of ecological perception with a unique integration of scientific knowledge, creative imagery, and compassionate insight. Mitchell Tomashow gives us the lenses to see what is essential for our collective future—the intrinsic connection between the local and the global. We are all in his debt.

    Mary Evelyn Tucker, Department of Religion, Bucknell University, and Coordinator, Forum on Religion and Ecology

  • It's all about connections, and Mitchell Tomashow shows us how to connect the global and local, both intellectually and practically. Bringing the Biosphere Home is a must reading for people wanting to build a coherent world that honors place and planet.

    David Orr

    Environmental Studies Program, Oberlin College

  • Thomashow's book provides value judgments about nature, based on nature. And one emerges from reading with a profound sense of one's place in the biosphere.

    Lynn Margulis

    Distinguished University Professor, Department of Geosciences, University of Massachusetts at Amherst, and recipient of the National Medal of Science

  • Bringing the Biosphere Home is eloquent, passionate, richly allusive, and original.

    John C. Elder

    Stewart Professor of English and Environmental Studies, Middlebury College, Author of Reading the Mountains of Home

  • Mitchell Thomashow knows that we can only take care of the planet by taking care of our home places, so he teaches us how to become fully awake to nature nearby. It would be illuminating to stroll with him around one's own neighborhood, learning to read global patterns in the local landscape. Since he can't be everywhere in person, we're fortunate to have this sturdy, generous book.

    Scott Russell Sanders

    Author of Hunting for Hope and The Force of Spirit

  • Mitchell Thomashow has produced a brilliantly reasoned, charming, handsomely written book with grace and uncommon understanding. It's a guide to survival from spring peepers to wintering Monarch butterflies to us. Required reading—the perfect primer for those concerned with the future of the natural world.

    Ann H. Zwinger

    Author of Run, River, Run and The Nearsighted Naturalist

  • Bringing the Biosphere Home shows how scientific analysis and personal experience can intertwine. Thomashow's meditations on place, community, and the biosphere engage both analysis and contemplation, dissolving the false dichotomy between the local and the global.

    Tom Dietz

    College of Arts and Sciences Distinguished Professor and Professor of Environmental Science and Public Policy and Sociology, George Mason University