Jennifer WheelerAs the weather turns warmer and so many things come to life in the warm spring air, I can’t help but think about how all of the systems within our environment sustain themselves. At Leadership Seacoast’s Environment Day, Dr. Tom Kelly, Chief Sustainability Officer at UNH, provided a fascinating overview of sustainability today – and his perspective of what the future may hold for it. He discussed importance of a shift from a “sustainability” mindset to a better overall understanding of what we need to flourish as communities. He explained that sustainability is much greater than just the environment – and that there are many systems that work together to sustain us.

“Unprecedented transformation requires an equally unprecedented response,” said Kelly in his presentation to the class. “It’s a complex tapestry of initiatives, woven together.”

Kelly and his staff at the Sustainability Institute believe that sustainability goes far beyond “being green” and extends across and beyond disciplines that include everything from the food we eat to the culture in which we live. By integrating this holistic view of sustainability into the heart of the UNH curriculum, operations, research and engagement, they encourage personal, local and national examples of genuine leadership in the field of sustainability.

Did you know that the UNH Sustainability Institute is recognized nationally as a leading authority on sustainability within higher education? Led by Kelly, one of the country’s most respected leaders in the field of sustainability, they work closely with educators, students, policymakers and researchers in our own community and beyond to bring learning in sustainability to life.

UNH research in sustainability is broad and far-reaching. A leader in areas such as climate change, organic agriculture, marine and freshwater sciences, natural resources, “green” economics and policies, healthcare, and more, UNH research is at the forefront of the efforts to define new personal, local, community, governmental and global activities and policies for protecting and sustaining the Earth and its inhabitants.

What sustains you?

To learn about the important work going on at the Sustainability Institute visit

Jennifer Wheeler
Executive Director, Leadership Seacoast