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Hardcover | Out of Print | ISBN: 9780262201377 | 256 pp. | 6 x 9 in | October 2001
Paperback | $24.00 Short | £16.95 | ISBN: 9780262700993 | 256 pp. | 6 x 9 in | February 2003

Bringing the Biosphere Home

Learning to Perceive 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.

About the Author

Mitchell Thomashow is the director of the Second Nature Presidential Fellows Program, which assists colleges and universities in promoting a comprehensive sustainability agenda on campus. From 2006 to 2011 he was president of Unity College, Maine, and from 1976 to 2006 he was Chair of the Environmental Studies Department at Antioch University New England. He is the author of Ecological Identity and Bringing the Biosphere Home, both published by the MIT Press.


"It is a good choice for those seeking to hone their ability to observe and understand nature at any scale.", Richard A. Matthew, Environment
"This exceedingly engaging and readable book effectively weaves personal narrative and commentary on scientific and literary works.", W. Weston, Choice
"This is a book full of practical and far-reaching wisdom, a book at once learned and lively." , Scott Slovic, Orion


"Eloquent, passionate, richly allusive, and original."
—John C. Elder, Middlebury College