David Orr

Education, Ecological Literacy and Awareness of our Natural Systems

Who is Dr. David Orr? Dr. David Orr is Professor Emeritus of Environmental Studies and Politics at Oberlin College in Ohio, USA. He is a founding editor of The Solutions Journal and founder of The Oberlin Project, an all-encompassing joint venture by the town and college to create a thriving, sustainable, and environmentally friendly community in Oberlin. Orr is author of eight books, including Ecological Literacy, Earth in Mind, and Down to the Wire: Confronting Climate Collapse, as well as co-editor of five others. He has a PhD. in International Relations from the University of Pennsylvania and has authored more than 200 articles, reviews, book chapters, and professional publications.

Quick Overview

David Orr holds that the challenge for all educators is to bring young people to become aware of and appreciate the natural world so that they can align their lives with how the world works as a natural system. He says, we need to see ourselves as having a dual citizenship (citizens of the country where we were born and of the planet). Dr. Orr urges educators to adapt all curricula to sustainability. He stressed that sustainability is not just to be seen as an abstraction, but needs to be built into the place in which students learn about sustainability. In this interview, Dr. Orr reflects on the books he has written and edited; and speaks about the Earth Charter, which he considers to be “the seminal document of our times”.

Questions Addressed in this Episode

  1. What is your take on education for a more sustainable world, what are the challenges, opportunities, and approaches to consider?
  2. How do you envision the futures of education? What will be the inevitable major changes in education practice, such as in the dynamics of a classroom in the next 10 to 20 years?
  3. What is your most important advice for anyone who is willing to make teaching and learning for sustainability happen in higher education?
  4. A brief reflection and overview of the books written and edited. Ecological Literacy: Educating Our Children for a Sustainable World (2005) and Ecological Literacy: Education and the Transition to a Postmodern World (1992).
  5. What is ecological literacy?
  6. Regarding Earth in Mind: On Education, Environment, and the Human Prospect (2004), what is education for?
  7. What is the relevance of the Earth Charter to the current times and education?

Listen to this episode:

Duration 57:39