David Orr

David Orr is the Paul Sears Distinguished Professor of Environmental Studies and Senior Adviser to the President of Oberlin College. His career as a scholar, teacher, writer, speaker, and entrepreneur spans fields as diverse as environment and politics, environmental education, campus greening, green building, ecological design, and climate change. He is the author of six books, including the widely praised Ecological Literacy (1992) and Earth in Mind (1994/2004); his most recent book is Down to the Wire: Confronting Climate Collapse.


The Pedagogy of Transition: Educating for the Future We Want

The question for those of us in the business of thinking, propagating ideas, and equipping youth for lives in a confusing and uncertain world is what do we do? Living in the shadows or the sunlight of our legacy, what would our great-great-grandchildren wish us to have done?

May 25, 2021

Democracy at Risk

In short, democracy is everywhere and always a wager that enough people would know enough and care enough and be wise enough to participate honorably and well in the conduct of the public business. The only sure foundation of democracy is a well-educated and well-informed citizenry that is tolerant of differences, good hearted, merciful, and farsighted.

November 24, 2017


Living and Breathing in a ‘Black Swan’ World

Resilience…is the capacity to make ongoing adjustments to changing political, economic, and ecological conditions.

October 23, 2014


Systems Thinking and the Future of Cities

The idea that nothing exists in isolation−but only as part of a system−has long been embedded in folklore, religious scriptures, and common sense.

May 30, 2014

Governance in the Long Emergency

It is time to talk about important things. Why have we come so close to the brink of extinction so carelessly and casually?

May 14, 2013


Can we avoid the perfect storm?

Evolution equipped us to deal with threats from dependably loathsome enemies and fearsome creatures, but not with the opaque and cumulative long-term consequences of our own technological and demographic success. As cartoonist Walt Kelly once put it, “We’ve met the enemy, and he is us.”

June 26, 2012

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