Dr. Rebecca J. Romsdahl’s Mindful Wandering: Nature and Global Travel through the Eyes of a Farmgirl Scientist takes the reader from a Minnesota farm to England, Morocco, Peru and beyond. Part travelogue, part book of essays, and part scientific manifesto, Romsdahl blends her experiences growing up on a Minnesota farm, studying and teaching environmental policy, and traveling extensively as both a professional and a tourist. The resulting book is a guide to the environmental challenges we face as a global community and a provocation to do better.
Romsdahl said, when asked about her motivation to write a book like this: “Traveling to new places has opened my mind to see environmental problems and solution ideas, like sustainability and resilience, from different perspectives. I want to share those and inspire people to explore our beautiful planet more thoughtfully.”
Mindful Wandering masterfully combines Romsdahl’s encounters not only with creatures and landscapes, but as importantly with people. These encounters prompted her to not only ask new questions, but also seek new answers.
She relates “I am constantly wrestling with the psychology concept ‘cognitive dissonance,’ or as I adapt it ‘environmental guilt.’. How can I get past feeling like I am just part of the problem so instead I can contribute to being part of solutions? I’m also constantly thinking about how different cultures value the natural environment. What environmental problems are people in different places facing and what can we learn (or share) about how they are trying to solve them?”
The beauty of glaciers in Alaska, the quirky splendor of the denizens of the Galapagos island, the radiant landscapes of the Moroccan desert, and the cozy fellowship of an English pub provide just a few of the backdrops that frame her reflections and entice the reader to think differently.
Her goal is to inspire: “boundless curiosity, a sense of wonder about the natural world, and a mindfulness to pay attention to what we can learn from the people and the changing world around us.”
Rebecca J. Romsdahl, PhD, is a translational ecologist, educator, writer, and professor in the Department of Earth System Science & Policy at the University of North Dakota. Her research and teaching examine links between social, ecological, and policy factors when scientists, stakeholders, and decision makers work together to solve environmental problems.
Mindful Wandering is published by The Digital Press at the University of North Dakota and available as a free download from https://thedigitalpress.org/Mindful/ or as a low-cost paperback from Amazon.com.
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Romsdahl Photo: Photo courtesy of Mick Beltz.
BackCoverPhoto: Photo courtesy of Mick Beltz.