Biography

David W. Orr is the Paul Sears Distinguished Professor of Environmental Studies and Politics, Oberlin College, and the Executive Director of the Oberlin Project. He is the author of seven books including Down to the Wire: Confronting Climate Collapse (2009) and Hope is an Imperative (2010).

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A Marine Corps friend of mine defines resilience as the ability to take a gut punch and come back swinging. More formally, it is said to be the capacity to maintain core functions and values in the face of outside disturbance. Either way, the concept is elusive, a matter of more or less, not either/or. […]

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Oberlin, Ohio─a city of approximately 10,000─is located fourteen miles from Lake Erie, thirty-five miles from Cleveland, and─ as a a sober crow would fly it─84 eighty-four miles from Detroit. Situated on the till left when the last glaciers retreated 12,000 years ago, Oberlin is in the geographic center of the rusty industrial heart of …

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A system is an interconnected set of elements that is coherently organized in a way that achieves something . . . . [it] must consist of three kinds of things: elements, interconnections, and a function or purpose. —Donella Meadows, Thinking in Systems1 A system [is] (a) a set of units or elements interconnected so that […]

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Where there is no vision, the people perish. —Proverbs 29:18 Soon after I moved to Oberlin in 1990, a battle-scarred veteran of local politics told me “son, you gotta understand one thing about this town . . . If you put all Oberlinians in a burning building, they could not agree on how to get […]

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Humans are a miraculous example of evolutionary success. Our ability to engage in rational thought, to form cooperative groups, to share information through complex symbols, to make and use sophisticated tools: all of these things have enabled us to spread and flourish. However, at the dawn of the 21st century the features and manifestations …

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