DUBLIN, NH: Four Weeks Later

Although I returned to Dublin on May 26th, three weeks after my initial departure, it took me a week to settle in, get organized, and recalibrate.

Perhaps the best way to celebrate the extraordinary proliferation of biomass in the month of May is to juxtapose some photographs. Check out these before and afters:

 

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While traveling West I observed the pace of Spring in different regions of the country. But my only real marker for contrasting the changes (after all, I was just passing through) is my home place in the Monadnock Region of Southwest New Hampshire.

The vastness of the North American continent is extraordinary. And despite globalization, interdependence, and the Internet, the variety of landscapes and habitats (though surely not what it once was) is remarkable and inspiring. I enjoyed every landscape. I never tired of observing the scenery. In the Midwest, on my bicycle and from the car I observed the intimacy and diverse topography of what at first glance seems relatively flat. There are rolling hills, rises and bends, watercourses and levees, glacial marks, sand dunes, and all manner of geomorphological intricacies. And when the landscape is inescapably flat you have the everchanging and enchanting great sky. Every region has it's unique beauty and there is so much more to discover. The Mountain West is dynamic and daunting. There was way too much for me to take in. The daily bicycle rides literally grounded me in a discipline of sensory awareness, taking the landscape in at a reasonable pace and scale.

And the I fly home in one fell swoop, on a night flight from San Francisco to Boston. I peeked out the window just a few minutes before landing, but other than those brief glimpses of Eastern Massachusetts I saw nothing. What a contrast. We sacrifice way too much in our worship of speed. 

I am glad to be in one place for awhile. I am savouring the slower pace of watching the end of Spring and the beginning of Summer. 

 

 

 

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Mitch Thomashow

Thomashow devotes 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. In August, 2011 Thomashow became Director of the Second Nature Presidential Fellows Program. This new program is designed to assist the executive leadership of colleges and universities in promoting a comprehensive sustainability agenda on their campuses. Fellows provide executive consulting on climate action planning, long-range financial planning, organizational leadership, curricular implementation, and community investment. From 2006-2011, Thomashow was the president of Unity College in Maine. 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, a passive house student residence, as well as 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. Thomashow is the founder of Whole Terrain, an environmental literary publication, originating at Antioch University New England, and “Hawk and Handsaw,” a journal of creative sustainability, published at Unity College. He serves on the boards of Orion Magazine and The Coalition on Environmental and Jewish Life (COEJL). Thomashow is a founding organizer of the Council of Environmental Deans and Directors (CEDD), a national organization that supports interdisciplinary environmental studies in higher education. He provides ongoing consultation to the Sustainable Endowments Institute and their new Billion Dollar Green Challenge program. His two 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, you can learn how to broaden your 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. with mandolin.png His new book, The Nine Elements of a Sustainable Campus (The MIT Press) provides a framework for advancing sustainable living and teaching in a variety of campus environments. It will be available in January, 2014. 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’s 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.