The Nine Elements of a Sustainable Campus
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.
HardcoverOut of Print ISBN: 9780262027113 248 pp. | 6 in x 9 in
Paperback$25.00 X ISBN: 9780262529006 248 pp. | 6 in x 9 in
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.
London School of Economics Review of Books
There are other books on greening our colleges and universities, but this latest is the best. Thomashow's The Nine Elements of a Sustainable Campus is wonderfully comprehensive, clear, and useful. His writing style is efficient but quietly elegant, so the book is actually a pleasure to read. What a huge difference it would make if all of America's higher education campuses read this book and pursued the good advice in it!
James Gustave Speth
author of America the Possible: Manifesto for a New Economy and former dean of Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies
This is a trail-blazing book that should be required reading for university leaders at every level. It's that important. The ideas in The Nine Elements of a Sustainable Campus can transform universities, and universities can lead the cultural and structural transformations that are essential to a thriving future.
Kathleen Dean Moore
co-editor of Moral Ground: Ethical Action for a Planet in Peril
The Nine Elements of a Sustainable Campus is essential reading for those engaged in campus sustainability. It is an insightful, holistic, and thought-provoking book that eloquently integrates the myriad complex elements and immense opportunities of campus sustainability. Mitch Thomashow artfully weaves his personal sustainability narratives for a compelling read which demonstrates an integrated and purposeful approach to campus sustainability.
Heather A. Henriksen
director of the Office for Sustainability, Harvard University
Colleges and universities are idea factories that impact all aspects of our collective ability to adapt to and invent the future. Sustainability of the linkage between our designed environment and our inherited natural environment must be ensured for our future success. Thomashow, in The Nine Elements of a Sustainable Campus, provides a great blueprint on how colleges and universities can use their campuses as the teaching platform to make sustainability a core value and a core outcome for all of our planning and thinking. If we can design our colleges and universities to instill these values and ideas then we will see a greatly improved chance of a sustainable future.
Michael M. Crow
president, Arizona State University