Coordinator, Ecology and Environmental Science
Senior Instructor, School of Economics
University of Maine
What problem/s are you working to solve?
My research focuses on understanding how underlying values affect individual and group responses to sustainability, and how environmental education affects those underlying values. I’m also working on moving sustainability as a concept beyond the vague Brundtland definition of “development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs,” to a more practical and meaningful definition. In other words, “an operational definition of sustainability.”
How could your findings contribute to a more sustainable future in Maine and beyond?
By understanding the role of values in our behaviors, we can help the current generation of humanity think about how those people who follow in future generations will view us. This should help us make decisions today that can be understood to be “sustainable.” We may be able to move confidently from platitudes to positive change.
Why did you decide to join SSI?
It is addressing the most important issue facing humanity at the beginning of the 21st Century. As I have said to David Hart, “I have spent my whole career getting ready for SSI.”
What’s the best part about collaborating on SSI research projects?
The opportunity to work with talented and committed people across Maine.
Where’s your favorite place in Maine?
The Western shore of Penobscot Bay, the top of Sargent Mountain, the middle of Baxter, potato blossom time in Aroostook, the hill beyond my backyard in winter.... How can one have a favorite in Maine?
What’s your ultimate Maine experience?
Mud season survival strategy?
Embrace the seasons.
What sustains you?
The desire to have those who come after us be grateful for the decisions we make about humanity’s use and preservation of the natural world.
Additional information about Mark and his team