Thomas Princen

University of Michigan
Associate Professor

Thomas Princen explores issues of social and ecological sustainability at the School of Natural Resources and Environment at the University of Michigan. He works on principles for sustainability, overconsumption, the language and ethics of resource use, and the transition out of fossil fuels. Princen is the author of Treading Softly: Paths to Ecological Order (2010), author of The Logic of Sufficiency (2005), and lead editor of Confronting Consumption (2002), all three published by MIT Press. The last two were awarded the International Studies Association's Harold and Margaret Sprout Award for the best book in the study of international environmental problems. He is co-editor of The Localization Reader: Adapting to the Coming Downshift (MIT Press, 2012), co-author of Environmental NGOs in World Politics: Linking the Local and the Global (Routledge, 1994) and author of Intermediaries in International Conflict (Princeton University Press, 1992/1995). Princen is currently working on two book-length projects: Distant Horizons: An Ethic of the Long Term, Leave It in the Ground: The Politics of Accelerating the End of the Fossil Fuel Era. Princen was named an Aldo Leopold Leadership Fellow, sponsored by the Packard Foundation, and before that was a Pew Faculty Fellow for International Affairs. Princen received his Ph.D. in Political Economy and Government from Harvard University in 1988 and a Bachelor of Arts in biology from Pomona College in 1975. He was a MacArthur Foundation Post-Doctoral Visiting Research Fellow in International Peace & Security at Princeton University from 1988 to 1989. He now serves as an Associate Professor of Natural Resources and Environmental Policy at the University of Michigan.