To Know the World

To Know the World

A New Vision for Environmental Learning

By Mitchell Thomashow

Why environmental learning is crucial for understanding the connected challenges of climate justice, tribalism, inequity, democracy, and human flourishing.





Why environmental learning is crucial for understanding the connected challenges of climate justice, tribalism, inequity, democracy, and human flourishing.

How can we respond to the current planetary ecological emergency? In To Know the World, Mitchell Thomashow proposes that we revitalize, revisit, and reinvigorate how we think about our residency on Earth. First, we must understand that the major challenges of our time—migration, race, inequity, climate justice, and democracy—connect to the biosphere. Traditional environmental education has accomplished much, but it has not been able to stem the inexorable decline of global ecosystems. Thomashow, the former president of a college dedicated to sustainability, describes instead environmental learning, a term signifying that our relationship to the biosphere must be front and center in all aspects of our daily lives. In this illuminating book, he provides rationales, narratives, and approaches for doing just that.

Mixing memoir, theory, mindfulness, pedagogy, and compelling storytelling, Thomashow discusses how to navigate the Anthropocene's rapid pace of change without further separating psyche from biosphere; why we should understand migration both ecologically and culturally; how to achieve constructive connectivity in both social and ecological networks; and why we should take a cosmopolitan bioregionalism perspective that unites local and global. Throughout, Thomashow invites readers to participate as educational explorers, encouraging them to better understand how and why environmental learning is crucial to human flourishing.


$30.00 X ISBN: 9780262539821 288 pp. | 6 in x 9 in 9 b&w illus.


  • Mitch Thomashow is a preeminent environmental educator, and this book makes clear why: his range of curiosity, insight, and learning is remarkable, and remarkably useful to us all!

    Bill McKibben

    author of Falter: Has the Human Game Begun to Play Itself Out?

  • To Know the World provides a pathway of reconnecting and remembering, challenging us to embrace ecological learning and our connection to place so that we can co-create an equitable and just future in which we don't just survive but thrive.

    Amber Pairis

    Director, Climate Science Alliance, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California, San Diego; affiliate of the Southwest Climate Adaptation Science Center

  • Using a compass of rich metaphor, deft synthesis and a lifetime of personal experience, Thomashow envisions a hopeful path to the future of environmental learning, inviting and guiding us through thickets of social and environmental issues shaping our collective lives.

    Running Grass

    Executive Director, Three Circles Center for Multicultural Environmental Education; author of Principles of Multicultural Environmental Learning

  • Beautifully written and carefully crafted, Mitch Thomashow has created a remarkable synthesis of his lifetime of work in environmental learning. This book, so rich in insight and evocative in style, will become a classic as its message is so critical to our shared planetary future.

    Mary Evelyn Tucker

    Yale University; co-author, Journey of the Universe

  • We live in a world more linked and co-dependent than ever. We still have a largely selfish mindset as a species and must develop an entirely new teaching and learning culture to build a sustainable future. Mitch Thomashow's new book, To Know the World, gives us a map for changing how we learn across our entire culture. It is an essential map, an essential change in our thinking and Thomashow shows us where to find the trail head to get started. Essential reading.

    Michael M. Crow

    President, Arizona State University