Tom Wessels (born 1951) is a terrestrial ecologist and a professor at Antioch University New England in the Department of Environmental Studies, where he founded a master's program in conservation biology. He is the author of five books and is an active environmentalist.
Wessels earned a BS in wildlife biology from the University of New Hampshire and a MA in ecology at the University of Colorado. Wessels went directly into academia, beginning with a post at the now defunct Windham College, in Putney, Vermont. In 1978 he became an adjunct faculty member at Antioch University New England and was instrumental in developing numerous courses in the yet very young Environmental Studies Department. He became a core faculty member at Antioch in 2000.
In addition to teaching at Antioch, Wessels has traveled on expedition to Iceland with Haraldur Sigurdsson. He chaired the Science department for ten years at The Putney School, a boarding high school in Putney, Vermont. He served as the chair of the Robert and Patricia Switzer Foundation, a foundation that provides grants and fellowships to promote environmental leadership. Since 1995 he has served as an ecological consultant for the Rainforest Alliance SmartWood Program in the Northeastern United States.
In his 2006 book The Myth of Progress, Wessels asserts that the aspiration to sustain indefinite exponetial economic growth is an impossibility on the grounds that it violates three scientific principles: the limits to growth, the second law of thermodynamics and the law of self organization. An updated edition was published in 2013, with expanded discussion relating to the global financial crisis of 2008.
- Gardner, Blake and Tom Wessels. Untamed Vermont (Thistle Hill Publications, 2003). ISBN 0-9705511-2-6
- Wessels, Tom. The Granite Landscape: A Natural History of America's Mountain Domes, From Acadia to Yosemite (The Countryman Press, 2001). ISBN 0-88150-429-7
- Wessels, Tom. The Myth of Progress: Toward a Sustainable Future (University of Vermont Press, 2006). ISBN 1-58465-495-3
- Wessels, Tom. Reading the Forested Landscape: A Natural History of New England (The Countryman Press, 1997). ISBN 0-88150-378-9
- Wessels, Tom. "Forest Forensics: A Field Guide to Reading the Forested Landscape" (The Countryman Press, 2010). ISBN 0-88150-918-3
- Moose Dung Gazette: ESSP Attends Tom Wessels’ Talk
- Unity College Keynote Speaker
- University Press of New England site for The Myth of Progress
- Wessels' Antioch University New England website
- Wessels' Bio on Medomak Camp website