Plenaries and Keynotes

Mitch gives riveting and inspiring keynote addresses. They are suitable for conferences, convocations, commencements, or special events. He enjoys using his talks as a way to inspire community action, network building, and a spirit of optimism and excitement. He often uses a keynote address as the central focus for a more extended consulting, teaching, or visiting faculty experience.

Currently he offers six keynote addresses which can be tailored to your events audience.

Book Mitch for your next Conference Keynote ›

The Nine Elements of a Sustainable Campus

Mitch outlines a comprehensive strategy for campus sustainability that connects all aspects of campus life. Themes include how to use sustainability as the basis of institutional turnaround and branding, using organizational leadership as the basis for planning and change, and the profound ethical questions that drive sustainability thinking. He connects sustainability to global environmental change, natural history, place-based learning, educational philosophy, and human flourishing.

In addition to the plenary, Mitch will work with the senior leadership of your institution to help catalyze and promote sustainability initiatives, facilitate meetings, and connect your campus to his national networks. When you bring him to campus for a full day he will work with any groups that are suitably engaged: from the board of trustees to faculty and staff to student clubs.


Environmental Learning is at a crossroads. How do campuses and communities address the extraordinary environmental challenges of the next several decades? Mitch explains how six themes should be the primary focus: the urban planet, cosmopolitan culture, ecological equity, information networks, biodesign, and the digitalization of education. He also addresses the unique educational challenges demanded by a new era of conceptualization, including information design, big data, social media, and surplus information. 


Sustainability, Wellness, and Human Flourishing

A sustainability ethos prompts lively conversations about the meaning of fitness, the importance of wellness, and the various dimensions of human flourishing. Mitch describes what it means to have a healthy campus, the signs of community vitality, and how we might respond to some common sources of institutional stress. He suggests that sustainability initiatives can contribute to community vitality and that the resilience concept is a useful strategic approach for connecting personal and organizational wellness to broader ecosystem challenges. He explains why a place-based orientation grounds a campus in its local ecology and calls attention to the various ways a campus serves as home. A healthy campus can use the techniques of restorative environmental design to connect places, service, sustainability, and community health.

Learning to Perceive Global Environmental Change

Based on his book, Bringing the Biosphere Home, Mitch explains how intimate awareness of local natural history is the key to broadening our understanding of global environmental change. He explores the ecological and spiritual challenges provoked by a deeper understanding of our planetary predicament, but more importantly, he demonstrates how these challenges can become accessible by refocusing our daily habits and observations. 

The Environmental Humanities and Global Environmental Change

Learning how to perceive global environmental change is the crucial educational challenge of our time. It requires our most creative, innovative, and participatory approaches. This is a task for the environmental humanities, a blending of the arts and sciences to enhance the ecological imagination. The environmental humanities is a practice and profession that will convene community leaders, creative interpreters, institutional collaborators, curators, ecological retail designers, new media innovators, conversation consultants, curriculum designers, teachers and learners, writers and critics, poets, eco artists, street artists, photographers, sustainability advocates, action philosophers, and people from all walks of life.

Rachel Carson: Finding the Wisdom and Insight for Global Environmental Citizenship

Rachel Carson traveled a long and harrowing path from the publication of Under the Sea Wind (1941) to Silent Spring (1962). Her journey has been central to our awareness that the environment that sustains us is essential and fragile, characterized by mutual dependence.  Carson’s legacy is the perspective, wisdom, and insight that help us understand the challenges of global environmental citizenship. How can we balance creation and extinction, wonder and indifference, hope and foreboding? This question remains absolutely pertinent to scientists and citizens alike who are concerned about climate change, threats to biodiversity, and altered biogeochemical cycles.