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In Earth in Mind, noted environmental educator David W. Orr focuses not on problems in education, but on the problem of education. Much of what has gone wrong with the world, he argues, is the result of inadequate and misdirected education that: alienates us from life in the name of human domination; causes students to worry about how to make a living before they know who In Earth in Mind, noted environmental educator David W. Orr focuses not on problems in education, but on the problem of education. Much of what has gone wrong with the world, he argues, is the result of inadequate and misdirected education that: alienates us from life in the name of human domination; causes students to worry about how to make a living before they know who they are; overemphasizes success and careers; separates feeling from intellect and the practical from the theoretical; deadens the sense of wonder for the created world. is, first and foremost, an educational challenge. The author begins by establishing the grounds for a debate about education and knowledge. He describes the problems of education from an ecological perspective, and challenges the terrible simplifiers who wish to substitute numbers for values. He follows with a presentation of principles for re-creating education in the broadest way possible, discussing topics such as biophilia, the disciplinary structure of knowledge, the architecture of educational buildings, and the idea of ecological intelligence. Orr concludes by presenting concrete proposals for reorganizing the curriculum to draw out our affinity for life.


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In Earth in Mind, noted environmental educator David W. Orr focuses not on problems in education, but on the problem of education. Much of what has gone wrong with the world, he argues, is the result of inadequate and misdirected education that: alienates us from life in the name of human domination; causes students to worry about how to make a living before they know who In Earth in Mind, noted environmental educator David W. Orr focuses not on problems in education, but on the problem of education. Much of what has gone wrong with the world, he argues, is the result of inadequate and misdirected education that: alienates us from life in the name of human domination; causes students to worry about how to make a living before they know who they are; overemphasizes success and careers; separates feeling from intellect and the practical from the theoretical; deadens the sense of wonder for the created world. is, first and foremost, an educational challenge. The author begins by establishing the grounds for a debate about education and knowledge. He describes the problems of education from an ecological perspective, and challenges the terrible simplifiers who wish to substitute numbers for values. He follows with a presentation of principles for re-creating education in the broadest way possible, discussing topics such as biophilia, the disciplinary structure of knowledge, the architecture of educational buildings, and the idea of ecological intelligence. Orr concludes by presenting concrete proposals for reorganizing the curriculum to draw out our affinity for life.

30 review for Earth in Mind: On Education, Environment, and the Human Prospect

  1. 4 out of 5

    Bart Everson

    We read this book for our eighth annual Fall Faculty Book Club at Xavier University of Louisiana. At our final meeting, we asked our participating faculty to jot down some thoughts. Here is what they wrote. Though written 20 years ago, this is forcing me to think more critically of place, choices and practices, and the connection to other communities. Responsibility needed. Earth in Mind profiles the gradual annihilation of the planet caused by no-holds-barred economic progress, reliance on fossil We read this book for our eighth annual Fall Faculty Book Club at Xavier University of Louisiana. At our final meeting, we asked our participating faculty to jot down some thoughts. Here is what they wrote. Though written 20 years ago, this is forcing me to think more critically of place, choices and practices, and the connection to other communities. Responsibility needed. Earth in Mind profiles the gradual annihilation of the planet caused by no-holds-barred economic progress, reliance on fossil fuels, unrestrained technological advancements, and other harmful forces of modernization whose costs are rarely calculated. It should be required reading for everyone, but especially the power brokers of our global society such as politicians, CEOs, financial analysts, education administrators, and scientific researchers. Earth in Mind is an appropriate name for this collection of essays on the Earth and education. I'm lucky to have received the kind of ecological citizenship training touted by Orr from my family. I believe that it's not too late to make a united, systematic and sustained effort to educate our children to be biophiles and not biophobes so that they will become advocates for our planet and its inhabitants and pass on the love to future generations. Excellent book! A must-read about the relationship between economy and ecology! Holistic, wholesome, a reminder of our own connection to Nature! This book provoked me, worried me and confused me at times. It reinforced ideas but it also required me to rethink my ideals and approach to life. For me, this book was both a practical and promising guide to how I will live and love in this — the sunset of my life. I loved this book. As a teacher, it will be on my great books list! Earth in Mind is a great book for inspiring an intentional, genuine focus on environmental issues in higher education. I intended to encourage deeper consideration of the long-term consequences of our lifestyle among my students. Earth in Mind evokes a feel of urgency to spring to action and take care of Mother Earth. The author builds the case for incorporating the environment to all disciplines. I think this is a good book for all educators. This book was a great reminder of our responsibility as higher ed faculty to introduce students to the idea of sustainability. If we don't get students to critically think about these issues then who will? Many thanks to Dr. John P. Clark for recommending this book.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Ganesh

    I cannot think of a book that has had a more profound influence on how I live and how I see the world. I came across Earth in Mind seven years ago, when I was doing a great deal of soul searching, trying to figure out what kind of life I wanted to lead, trying to understand our ecological crisis, and struggling to understand why we were doing such great harm to ourselves. David Orr convinced me that an important part of being an environmentalist is loving and taking pleasure in the natural world, I cannot think of a book that has had a more profound influence on how I live and how I see the world. I came across Earth in Mind seven years ago, when I was doing a great deal of soul searching, trying to figure out what kind of life I wanted to lead, trying to understand our ecological crisis, and struggling to understand why we were doing such great harm to ourselves. David Orr convinced me that an important part of being an environmentalist is loving and taking pleasure in the natural world, this world that I want to save for myself, my family, my friends, and future generations. As Orr points out, in order to fight for something, you must first love it. And one cannot love that which one doesn't know. So, even thought I had always been an indoor person, this book inspired me to set aside my books, and go for a walk or a hike. I also began to pause before I made decisions to consider what the environmental impact would be. David Orr argues that the answer to our social and environmental problems isn't simply ensuring that everyone gets a college education. We don't just need more education. We're currently learning the wrong things in school. We need to be passing on values and knowledge that will create a sustainable world. I, for one, graduated from college without the fainest clue how to live sustainably. By spending nearly the entire school day indoors, educators are sending students the message that time in nature, experiencing it and studying it, is not important. It is vital that our educational system reflect values that will create a more sustainable society. It's essential that we study ecology and agriculture, know where our food comes from and know how to grow it sustainably. Here is my favorite part of Earth in Mind: "Were we to confront our creaturehood squarely, how would we propose to educate? The answer, I think is implied in the root of the word education, educe, which means 'to draw out.' What needs to be drawn out is our affinity for life. That affinity needs opportunities to grow and flourish, it needs to be validated, it needs to be instructed and disciplined, and it needs to be harnessed to the goal of building humane and sustainable societies. Education that builds on our affinity for life would lead to a kind of awakening of possibilities and potentials that lie dormant and unused in the industrial-utilitarian mind. Therefore the task of education, as Dave Forman stated, is to help us 'open our souls to love this glorious, luxuriant, animated, planet.' The good news is that our own nature will help us in the process if we let it."

  3. 4 out of 5

    Jessenoah

    A must read for teachers and humans of all sorts, but especially teachers and anyone who wonders why they feel like a displaced person, despite a pleasant home and comfortable life. This one is a good kick in the ass. The book takes a critical look at the many myths of education, examines the values we're (not)taught in school, and how that plays out in grow up world. lots of thoughts on placelessness, the perversions that are science, rational thought, and modern existence, and more! I read thi A must read for teachers and humans of all sorts, but especially teachers and anyone who wonders why they feel like a displaced person, despite a pleasant home and comfortable life. This one is a good kick in the ass. The book takes a critical look at the many myths of education, examines the values we're (not)taught in school, and how that plays out in grow up world. lots of thoughts on placelessness, the perversions that are science, rational thought, and modern existence, and more! I read this in a hammock under a palapa on the beach in southern mexico while waiting for tides to shift. My favorite quote in the book is from an alcoholic dead beat dad turned trappist monk, namely Thomas Merton, to the effect of "Be anything you like, be madmen, drunks, and bastards of every shape and form, but at all costs avoid one thing: success" (11). Then the author goes on to talk about how the world has plenty of "successful" people, and what it needs now are peacemakers, healers, restorers, storytellers and lovers of every kind. plus people who live well in their place. i love that one. Thomas Merton also describes the education system as the "mass production of people literally unfit for anything except to take part in an elaborate and completely artificial charade." good one THomas! (He was later electrocuted in a bathtub while engaging in spiritual tourism in India.) Yes I am a cynical bastard. But I do like to think Thomas would approve of my knack for successlessness. Another good quote is from gary snyder, who describes the true ecological criminals, who "make unimaginably large sums of money, people impeccably groomed, excellently educated at the best universities-male and female alike-eating fine foods and reading classy literature, while orchestrating the investment and legislation that ruin the world"(17). Ouch! Harsh words, but right on. Gary is my Hero. The main thing I didn't like in this book was how David Orr goes off on Woody Allen for being a biophobe. i didn't find this line of thought to be very productive. plus i really like woody allen movies. especially annie hall. another downside is that the book is a collection of essays which tend to be repetitive. the first four will do you well. if anyone wants to read this you can borrow it but be forewarned I do draw stars lines and arrows in the margins.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Ryan

    Books that tell of the sins of mankind against nature are dime a dozen these days, but this book, first published 20 years ago was ahead of most in calling to attention not just the big issues of global warming and resource depletion, but digging deeper to expose the problems inherent in the value system of modern industrial societies. Ostensibly about how we should rethink education from 'K to PhD' due to it's failure to inculcate a sense of responsibility towards nature, the author goes on to Books that tell of the sins of mankind against nature are dime a dozen these days, but this book, first published 20 years ago was ahead of most in calling to attention not just the big issues of global warming and resource depletion, but digging deeper to expose the problems inherent in the value system of modern industrial societies. Ostensibly about how we should rethink education from 'K to PhD' due to it's failure to inculcate a sense of responsibility towards nature, the author goes on to explore the root causes of our increasing alienation from the nature that humankind came from and continues to rely on for long term survival. Indeed it almost seems that everything we have been doing since industrialization have been wrong, pushing us ever further from the land that supports us, into cities and virtual environments, taking away place specific local knowledge of ecology and replacing it with ever more layers of specialized, abstract theoretical knowledge. Our very notions and measurement of progress, like economic growth, specialization, efficiency, productivity etc are all called into question as they have come at a heavy environmental and social cost not adequately accounted for in our market based societies that champion short term growth and discount the future. Nothing short of a reversal of past trends is needed, from restructuring education to re-ruralization or back to the land movement so as to reacquaint ourselves with life support systems and a more sustainable way and scale of living. Sadly it is all too apparent that nothing close to these steps have been taken since, and I suppose nothing short of calamity or catastrophe would push the majority to even consider what the author so stridently advocates. The last chapter, added ten years post publication, attests to this. The 21st century saw an even more rapid pace of business as usual going in the very direction the author tried to warn against. He does not lament at this, only talking in a philosophical manner about what attitude we should adopt in the face of such disheartening realities.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Emily

    This book is decades old but still rings true. Like most books of its ilk, it espouses a few things: - Respect the earth, life on it, and its inherit limits - The Economy should not be the only or the primary way we value things - Gotta love life to protect it (c/o Stephen J. Gould) - Let's teach kids less how to be productive in the economy and more how to live sustainably on the earth - That means teaching them - or at the very least exposing them - to the local ecology The repetition of some of the This book is decades old but still rings true. Like most books of its ilk, it espouses a few things: - Respect the earth, life on it, and its inherit limits - The Economy should not be the only or the primary way we value things - Gotta love life to protect it (c/o Stephen J. Gould) - Let's teach kids less how to be productive in the economy and more how to live sustainably on the earth - That means teaching them - or at the very least exposing them - to the local ecology The repetition of some of these themes throughout these essays wasn't a problem for me. Instead, it reinforced some of the arguments. When read out of context, some of what Orr says could be considered controversial, but overall I think this is a solid book and one with which I agree. Why do I continue to read books I agree with? In part because I enjoy reading the doom and gloom. I'm not proud of that but I have to admit it. But also in part because the more I read the more I get excited to make change in my life. I still live really well, but I have chosen to forego (at least for now) a dwelling of my own and cohabitate with a small community. /endtangent. Another reason I like books like these is because I learn a few new facts and I make new connections in my brain. And that's beautiful.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Clara Fang

    David Orr's Earth in Mind is a series of essays about the human relationship with the natural world. It concerns education because education is where we learn how to relate to the universe. For, he says, "The kind of education we need begins wit the recognition that the crisis of global ecology is first and foremost a crisis of values, ideas, perspecives, and knowledge, which makes it a crisis of education, not one in education." David Orr gives a resounding critique of the institutions that in David Orr's Earth in Mind is a series of essays about the human relationship with the natural world. It concerns education because education is where we learn how to relate to the universe. For, he says, "The kind of education we need begins wit the recognition that the crisis of global ecology is first and foremost a crisis of values, ideas, perspecives, and knowledge, which makes it a crisis of education, not one in education." David Orr gives a resounding critique of the institutions that in large measure have caused the global ecological crisis: Economics. "Economics from its early beginnings was stamped with the industrial mindset and with those assumptions convenient to industrialization." Today's governments have taken on entirely an agenda set by economics, that of endless progress, consumption, and economic growth. We equate progress with economic growth, but fail to consider the constraints of such an agenda or its costs. We assign prices to materials, labor, and goods, but we do not assign prices to clean water, clean air, forests, animals, and nature. As a result we have destroyed the essential things in order to create goods. Because we failed to train our policy makers and business people in ecology, we have built an economic system that is unbalanced and unsustainable. Professionalism. Our education is defined by the pursuit of narrow disciplines, which have caused what is whole to be fragmented. Professors seeking tenure seek increasing expertise in specializations and do research that have little benefit to the world. Academics for the most part are engaged in a dialogue of their own. They are adverse to take on tackling problems in the real world except as research. They are professionals encouraged to maintain the status quo. Abstraction of education. Education today is mainly a passive activity. Students learn theories, formulas, facts, abstract knowledge not grounded in the context of actual experience. Orr suggests that students should be taught first through their senses, so that they can have an appreciation of their subject matter and come to understand the world in a multidimensional, experiential way. This way they will care about the world before they are taught how to use it and subdue it. Globalization. Orr advocates for a commitment to place. Instead of knowing about the world in an abstract way, we should learn about it by fully inhabitating the places we live. We should learn about a place, love it, care for it, and be engaged in it. Instead of being fixated to the television or internet, we should engage with real places and real people. By learning to value places, we will not only protect the enviroment but also lead richer lives. Ultimately Orr's message is one about love. He quotes "we cannot save what we do not love." And education should teach us how to love this world as well as how to manipulate it. Rather than using education as a means of upward mobility, we should think about what we want as a society. "People need, among other things, healthy food, shelter, clothing, good work to do, friends, music, poetry, god books, a vital civic culture, animals, and wildness. Bu we are increasingly offered fantasy for reality, junk for quality, convenience for self-reliance, consumption for community, and stuff rather than spirit." Orr argues that our ecological crisis is not one that can be solved by technology, but by a change in our values. An entirely different orientation to education is needed to impart values and the knowledge needed to create the good society, one that values balance, fairness, and ecological diversity. My only criticism of this book is its emphasis on agriculture and regionalism. While having sustainable agriculture would be a huge step towards ecological sustainability, we can't all return to rural living. Orr doesn't acknowledge that cities are some of the most energy efficient places and that cities contain cultural diversity in ways that are not possible in rural society. The demographic trend of the world is towards the formation of large cities, and we might think about how to handle this transition rather than resist it. The lengthy chapters on agriculture in the second half of the book is less relevant for people who are seeking to learn about educational reform. Overall, an eloquent and important rethinking of our priorities as a society.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Drew

    By far the best book I've read this year. Having grown up "a country bumpkin loser" in rural America and now a citified "smart person", I can hear Orr's call loud and clear. It's a call for humans to return to their roots--in nature. Our problems won't be solved by more research, more technology, "clever" ideas, and bigger cities. Our culture is not the pinnacle of human achievement. Our country is not the "greatest country in the world" (there is no such thing). "Americans have been on a binge f By far the best book I've read this year. Having grown up "a country bumpkin loser" in rural America and now a citified "smart person", I can hear Orr's call loud and clear. It's a call for humans to return to their roots--in nature. Our problems won't be solved by more research, more technology, "clever" ideas, and bigger cities. Our culture is not the pinnacle of human achievement. Our country is not the "greatest country in the world" (there is no such thing). "Americans have been on a binge fueled by fantasies of power, wealth, and mobility. For us, coming home means restoring ecological and human scale to a civilization that has lost its sense of proportion and purpose. It means regenerating roots in particular places and traditions. But if we do not build a worthy home, what are we building? And if we do not prepare our young people to come home, for what destination and for what destiny do we consign them." Unlike the silly Lee Greenwood proud to be a blah blah blah bullshit, "Real patriotism requires that we weave the competent, patient, and disciplined love of our land into our political life and our political institutions. The laws of ecology and those of thermodynamics, which mostly have to do with limits, must become the foundation for a new politics." As the political writer Vaclav Havel wrote, "Genuine politics…is simply a matter of serving those around us: serving the community, and serving those who will come after us. Its deepest roots are moral because it is a responsibility, expressed through action, to and for the whole, a responsibility…only because it has a metaphysical grounding: that is, it grows out of conscious or subconscious certainty that our death ends nothing, because everything is forever being recorded and evaluated somewhere else, somewhere ‘above us’, in what I have called the ‘the memory of being’…" A more specific description of Earth in Mind envisioned, Orr says, "A sane civilization that loved more fully and intelligently would have more parks and fewer shopping malls; more small farms and fewer agribusinesses; more prosperous small towns and smaller cities; more solar collectors and fewer strip mines; more bicycle trails and fewer freeways; more trains and fewer cars; more celebration and less hurry; more property owners and fewer millionaires and billionaires; more readers and fewer television watchers; more shopkeepers and fewer multinational corporations; more teachers and fewer lawyers; more wilderness and fewer landfills; more wild animals and fewer pets. Utopia? No! In our present circumstances this is the only realistic course imaginable. We have tried utopia and can longer afford it."

  8. 5 out of 5

    Victor Alvarez

    "The crisis we face is first and foremost one of mind, perception and values." Written in 1994, Orr's vision will hardly be novel or surprising for new readers, however it is contemporary and valid. Industrialisation and industrial education have challenged our prosperity as well as that of millions of species and Earth itself. Repair more than two hundred years of forest and soil destruction, water and air pollution and biological and climate desestabilisation will require a profound cultural cha "The crisis we face is first and foremost one of mind, perception and values." Written in 1994, Orr's vision will hardly be novel or surprising for new readers, however it is contemporary and valid. Industrialisation and industrial education have challenged our prosperity as well as that of millions of species and Earth itself. Repair more than two hundred years of forest and soil destruction, water and air pollution and biological and climate desestabilisation will require a profound cultural change. The author analyses this perspective from a social, educational, economic and ecological view. This collection of essays seems to play an antagonistic role in trying to inspire hope for a better future while feeding the reader with despair for the involution of American education over the years. In that sense, the author's vision risks resulting in a cynical examination, rhetoric discourse and idealistic resolution. As counterexamples, Prof. Harari's Sapiens does a more grounded and serious analysis of the human condition and Mary Reynolds' Garden Awakening speaks of a revolution in our relationship with the natural environment from the heart and without falling in Orr's impractical intellectual self-complacency-. Using an elaborated academic style, the author wastes a good amount of energy -and readers' time- charging against capitalistic windmills, attempting to solve a problem within the context and mindset which caused it in the first place, and only shortly suggesting directions without fully backing up, developing or putting them into practice. As the author implies, conservation biologists generally call out intention without ever "rolling up their sleeves". Despite the too obvious limitations, the book is ecologically sound, with its best sections revolving around ideas borrowed from colleagues and well-referenced works.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Walt

    This collection of essays clearly and rationally explains the problems with current models of education, politics, and economics and the worldviews that govern them as they apply to human existence in the more-than-human world. Unfortunately I'm not sure that the way it is written can persuade those already in the grip of biophobia of the value of life in the world, and as such it mostly confirms what we who agree with its message are already afraid of. The most practical message of this book is This collection of essays clearly and rationally explains the problems with current models of education, politics, and economics and the worldviews that govern them as they apply to human existence in the more-than-human world. Unfortunately I'm not sure that the way it is written can persuade those already in the grip of biophobia of the value of life in the world, and as such it mostly confirms what we who agree with its message are already afraid of. The most practical message of this book is to foster biophilia in the young people we know, and hope that the experience of the wild will mold our society into one that can survive in and together with, the greater world community.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Migdalia

    Exactly what education needs, but it's not without flaws I loved this book! It talks about the problems with education and provides actual solutions for these problems. Of course, that would mean a total shift of the traditional model of education, but there are some educational models that are on the right path. One of those is called Wildschooling, but it has one flaw. It doesn't fully tackle the ecological aspect of learning through nature like David Orr suggests. It's more of an outdoor schoo Exactly what education needs, but it's not without flaws I loved this book! It talks about the problems with education and provides actual solutions for these problems. Of course, that would mean a total shift of the traditional model of education, but there are some educational models that are on the right path. One of those is called Wildschooling, but it has one flaw. It doesn't fully tackle the ecological aspect of learning through nature like David Orr suggests. It's more of an outdoor schooling system. This book was definitely what I was looking for in my search for an educational model for my child. Now, to the not-so-great stuff. First (and the one that pains me the most), what was the point in mentioning that breastmilk has more toxins than is permitted in baby formula? Where can I read the study that came to that conclusion, and how was it performed? For a book that is so well-documented in some areas, it fails to cite where he got that information. Second, there were numerous instances where two words were merged, with no spaces between them. That was a real distraction for me. However, there were no spelling errors per se. Although some were merged, they were spelled correctly and I could understand what was being said. Finally, the book is definitely not optimized for e-readers. The font is terrible and you can't change it. Sometimes, it even gets smaller right in the middle of a word! So, while I enjoyed this book so much that it has defined the way I want to homeschool my child, there is still a lot of room for improvement.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Douglas

    This is a book of essays by the author about the Earth and how we should or could live with nature and stop trying to conquer her. In my view, Climate change is the most important question of future generations. With the changes we have made to the earth and our insatiable need to use up natural resources at the fastest rate possible to feed our greed, we have squandered our children's future. Read This Book. Open your eyes to rising temperatures, loss of habitat for animals and plants that we nee This is a book of essays by the author about the Earth and how we should or could live with nature and stop trying to conquer her. In my view, Climate change is the most important question of future generations. With the changes we have made to the earth and our insatiable need to use up natural resources at the fastest rate possible to feed our greed, we have squandered our children's future. Read This Book. Open your eyes to rising temperatures, loss of habitat for animals and plants that we need for a thriving ecosystem. Rising Oceans that will flood our coastal towns and cities. I could go on but there are shelves of books on environment that tell the story better than I can. This is one of those books. One interesting thing about 'Earth in Mind' is that it was published on the nineties and has a list of sources from the 60s and before. Many voices have been trying to warn us for centuries but we would not listen. To busy working our jobs to raise our families and thinking that Somebody out there knew what was going on and was watching out for us and the planet. Meanwhile the rich were raping the planet and stealing money from our pockets so they could make more money with no thought of the future. As if wealth was the goal of existence. We need to take care of the Earth and take care of each other if we are to survive as a Species.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Alex Shur

    I don't know what to say except that the world needs to read this; and the tragedy of the world is that most people do not care to. We should do our best at spreading the message though.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Liz

    Helps to set the stage for the concept of education of a different kind and outlines various competencies and potential changes to the current education system.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Joachim

    By FAR the most important, influential and significant environmental book I've ever read. I have to admit I did get bored from some rambling from time to time, but it is definitely worth reading if you care about the planet, future, environment, or want to have great explanations of problems and many things that have gone wrong in our world and why, and a very comprehensive breakdown of what we need to change in the world and attempt to do right before it's too late. Orr explains in great depth By FAR the most important, influential and significant environmental book I've ever read. I have to admit I did get bored from some rambling from time to time, but it is definitely worth reading if you care about the planet, future, environment, or want to have great explanations of problems and many things that have gone wrong in our world and why, and a very comprehensive breakdown of what we need to change in the world and attempt to do right before it's too late. Orr explains in great depth about how the economy, how education is taught, and other factors have a major impact on the natural world and how we need to change the culture of modern society to avoid more environmental damage and destruction. Politicians, leaders and highly influential people need to see this!!!

  15. 5 out of 5

    Kelly

    This book should be required reading for every person living on this planet

  16. 4 out of 5

    Abby

    This came out exactly twenty years ago, and I like the way it is both dated and prophetic. In my experience, higher education (in all its bungling glory) has actually responded to many of these criticisms--the need for more interdisciplinary work, the need for applied sciences, and the call for learning institutions to be models of sustainability. A surprising amount of progress has been made, even as some of the disasters Orr predicted have come to pass (EBOLA). In general this guy is extremely This came out exactly twenty years ago, and I like the way it is both dated and prophetic. In my experience, higher education (in all its bungling glory) has actually responded to many of these criticisms--the need for more interdisciplinary work, the need for applied sciences, and the call for learning institutions to be models of sustainability. A surprising amount of progress has been made, even as some of the disasters Orr predicted have come to pass (EBOLA). In general this guy is extremely fair and intelligent, if repetitive, in assessing the situation and coming up with numbered, bullet point responses. Yes, the number thing drove me crazy. Notes to self, things to come back to: the chapter on love in science, his recommendations for rural development (much disagreement), the idea of biophilia, observations on sense of place, and at the end, the intriguing but undeveloped idea of tragedy and comedy as two strategies for survival. This is yet another example in my growing list of evidence that we haven't decided what education is for in this country. Is it for socialization of children? Is it to create a workforce? Is it to create upward mobility ($$$) for your kids? Is it to spur their creativity and inspire critical thinking? Is it to provide them with basic life skills and knowledge (sex ed, driver's ed)? Obviously parents want all of the above for their children, and the question is how much of it should be provided at school as opposed to elsewhere. Orr has some very specific ideas about the agenda schools ought to have, especially for young adults. Honestly, most of his ideas are good.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Kurt

    Earth in Mind consists of several essays all with the themes of taking care of our environment and the role formal education can and should take in improving the future of humankind. Three or four of the essays were exceptional. Most of the rest were a little long-winded and overly ambitious or optimistic. There is just no way any but the most simple of the author's recommendations will ever be implemented. I would whole-heartedly support most of his proposals, but it just ain't gonna happen. Hun Earth in Mind consists of several essays all with the themes of taking care of our environment and the role formal education can and should take in improving the future of humankind. Three or four of the essays were exceptional. Most of the rest were a little long-winded and overly ambitious or optimistic. There is just no way any but the most simple of the author's recommendations will ever be implemented. I would whole-heartedly support most of his proposals, but it just ain't gonna happen. Hundreds of years of capitalism, "free markets", corporatism, greed as a virtue, and "money or nothing" attitudes have become far too embedded and ingrained into our society to be simply whisked away just for the benefit of our planet's and our posterity's future well being. Every idea and proposal in this book was well-written and well-thought out. But after seeing how impossible it is to make any kind of significant change (think health care reform, metric system, coin dollars, etc.) I found most of the proposals to be just impossibly ambitious.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Erik Akre

    When read with a brave and pure heart this book will be found to be beautiful, if for no other reason than it tells the truth--no pulled punches--about the human situation on Earth, and what needs to be done about it. This is some serious wisdom. Time with David W. Orr is time well spent. Let's roll up our sleeves; there's work to be done! My own inspiration included: I must stay abreast of environmental issues. I must use my time wisely. I must teach love for the Earth, at home and at my job as a When read with a brave and pure heart this book will be found to be beautiful, if for no other reason than it tells the truth--no pulled punches--about the human situation on Earth, and what needs to be done about it. This is some serious wisdom. Time with David W. Orr is time well spent. Let's roll up our sleeves; there's work to be done! My own inspiration included: I must stay abreast of environmental issues. I must use my time wisely. I must teach love for the Earth, at home and at my job as a teacher. I must mingle ecology and education, thought and practice. I must keep my mind alive, for the good of my own being and for the good of the planet. Orr's wisdom has stayed with me, although the fire has cooled. Years later, I was able to approach the idea of eco-education with a heart that Orr lent me in this book a number of years before. Orr is incredibly challenging; he calls for nothing less than an entire overhaul of the human experience and practice in the world. Read him, as I said, with a brave and pure heart.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Maria Aprile

    I love Orr's scope of sustainability topics. I read Shiva's "Earth Democracy” in turn with Orr's book for a course in Teaching Sustainability in Education. The books seem to compliment each other. We switched from Orr to Shiva, each week. They pair nicely because as florid as Shiva is in her writing, Orr is total verbatim. I would have fell asleep I think if I tried to read Orr in one sitting. He quiet literally lists his arguments, “Firstly, secondly... seventhly,” etc. On the other hand it mak I love Orr's scope of sustainability topics. I read Shiva's "Earth Democracy” in turn with Orr's book for a course in Teaching Sustainability in Education. The books seem to compliment each other. We switched from Orr to Shiva, each week. They pair nicely because as florid as Shiva is in her writing, Orr is total verbatim. I would have fell asleep I think if I tried to read Orr in one sitting. He quiet literally lists his arguments, “Firstly, secondly... seventhly,” etc. On the other hand it makes his points very clear. I thought his last section was my favourite. The concept of biophila and biophobia are worth a look at. It really opens up the reality of the damage we've done to the planet and ourselves. Again, like Shiva, great starting point of immersion into sustainability topics and definitely worth the read.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Tamra

    This is an intelligent read, though too thought-provoking for non-ecologists or those aligned with conservative politics. Phrases from book: "The goal of education is not mastery of subject matter but mastery of one's person...knowledge carries with it the responsibility to see that it is used in the world." ".....the Exxon Valdez oil spill and dozens of other large oil spills like it are not accidents but the logical result of a system that operates on a scale that can only produce catastrophe This is an intelligent read, though too thought-provoking for non-ecologists or those aligned with conservative politics. Phrases from book: "The goal of education is not mastery of subject matter but mastery of one's person...knowledge carries with it the responsibility to see that it is used in the world." ".....the Exxon Valdez oil spill and dozens of other large oil spills like it are not accidents but the logical result of a system that operates on a scale that can only produce catastrophes." Properly speaking, there is no ecological crisis. But there is a large and growing political crisis that has ecological and other consequences."

  21. 4 out of 5

    Stephen

    I'm a liberal environmental studies liberal arts major. But Orr is ridiculous. He makes assumptions and grand generalizations that make it impossible to take him seriously. He comes across as little more than an angry environmentalist who's pissed because people want to be engineers rather than artists. He writes off technology like its the plague along with anything else that's not Aldo Leopold porn. Yes, it would be great if everyone in the world could build a fire and was environmentally resp I'm a liberal environmental studies liberal arts major. But Orr is ridiculous. He makes assumptions and grand generalizations that make it impossible to take him seriously. He comes across as little more than an angry environmentalist who's pissed because people want to be engineers rather than artists. He writes off technology like its the plague along with anything else that's not Aldo Leopold porn. Yes, it would be great if everyone in the world could build a fire and was environmentally responsible but that's not the world we live in and just because that's the case Orr is furious. Great read if you're angry at the world for not hugging trees. Otherwise skip it.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Judy

    When I read praises of a book on the back cover by Wendell Berry and E.O. Wilson, then read it I must. This is a profound statement on the state of our country. Quote: "The plain fact is that the planet does not need more successful people. But it does desperately need more peacemakers, healers, restorers, storytellers, and lovers of every kind. It needs people who live well in their places. It needs people of moral courage willing to join the fight to make the world habitable and humane. And th When I read praises of a book on the back cover by Wendell Berry and E.O. Wilson, then read it I must. This is a profound statement on the state of our country. Quote: "The plain fact is that the planet does not need more successful people. But it does desperately need more peacemakers, healers, restorers, storytellers, and lovers of every kind. It needs people who live well in their places. It needs people of moral courage willing to join the fight to make the world habitable and humane. And these qualities have little to do with success as our culture has defined it." Not an easy read, but it certainly kept my attention.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Jen

    I have had this book for a couple of years, and started reading it when I got it, but couldn't focus or stick with it at first. This time I was determined to finish, and while some of the essays are a bit thick with overly philosophical language, overall they are important, and down to earth, and really everyone should read them. Particularly with the current economic crisis. We are asking all the wrong questions and setting all the wrong expectations. David Orr is one of the great environmental I have had this book for a couple of years, and started reading it when I got it, but couldn't focus or stick with it at first. This time I was determined to finish, and while some of the essays are a bit thick with overly philosophical language, overall they are important, and down to earth, and really everyone should read them. Particularly with the current economic crisis. We are asking all the wrong questions and setting all the wrong expectations. David Orr is one of the great environmental thinkers and writers of our time.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Christina

    Often dry in parts, but everyone should read this book; especially those with kids heading to college; especially those who wonder why the U.S. ranks so far below other industrialized nations in terms of math scores, sciences scores, reading scores, writing scores. Presents an argument of how college curricula + academia needs (and some are) to shift from post-Industrial Revolution Era production-consumerism to a new renewable resource industries and/or adapt them to existing frameworks if our e Often dry in parts, but everyone should read this book; especially those with kids heading to college; especially those who wonder why the U.S. ranks so far below other industrialized nations in terms of math scores, sciences scores, reading scores, writing scores. Presents an argument of how college curricula + academia needs (and some are) to shift from post-Industrial Revolution Era production-consumerism to a new renewable resource industries and/or adapt them to existing frameworks if our economy, our children and their job prospects, and our earth will flourish into the future.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Troy

    Orr has some interesting thoughts on American educational institutions, and I have to say that many of his points make a lot of sense. Having just completed my undergrad, many of Orr's complaints about higher education are spot on. Focusing too narrowly on a single subject leads to unbalanced individuals who are good for little more than a very specific task. Students are not being provided with well-rounded educations in most cases, a fact that certainly needs to change if we hope to have a pos Orr has some interesting thoughts on American educational institutions, and I have to say that many of his points make a lot of sense. Having just completed my undergrad, many of Orr's complaints about higher education are spot on. Focusing too narrowly on a single subject leads to unbalanced individuals who are good for little more than a very specific task. Students are not being provided with well-rounded educations in most cases, a fact that certainly needs to change if we hope to have a positive future in America.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Sam

    Best, most enlightening book that I have read in a long, long time. Actually looking forward to writing a 12 page paper on it. Just started this book and I'm already hooked& horrified. I can tell this will be a life-changing book: "The conventional wisdom holds that all education is good, and the more of it one has, the better. If one listens carefully, it may even be possible to hear the Creation groan every year in late May when another batch of smart, degree-holding, but ecologically illiterate Best, most enlightening book that I have read in a long, long time. Actually looking forward to writing a 12 page paper on it. Just started this book and I'm already hooked& horrified. I can tell this will be a life-changing book: "The conventional wisdom holds that all education is good, and the more of it one has, the better. If one listens carefully, it may even be possible to hear the Creation groan every year in late May when another batch of smart, degree-holding, but ecologically illiterate, Homo sapiens who are eager to succeed are launched into the biosphere."

  27. 4 out of 5

    Lucy

    This book is a number of short thought pieces which argue that our current system of education is incompatible with ecological sustainability. Arguing for biophilia ( the art of loving nature) the importance of a sense of place and a return to intelligence (wholeness and long range) rather than cleverness (short range and specialised) David Orr makes a romantic but compelling argument for the reconsideration of what we consider a good education. It was a delight to read but provided many a ponde This book is a number of short thought pieces which argue that our current system of education is incompatible with ecological sustainability. Arguing for biophilia ( the art of loving nature) the importance of a sense of place and a return to intelligence (wholeness and long range) rather than cleverness (short range and specialised) David Orr makes a romantic but compelling argument for the reconsideration of what we consider a good education. It was a delight to read but provided many a pondersom proposition. U

  28. 5 out of 5

    Ahmed Chicktay

    The author reminds us that we are part of a large living organism, and our actions are suicidal with respect to the earth. We are trading short term gains for long term environmental disaster. Our actions are blamed on our educational system and the author offers ways to change our course. Very thought provoking and distressing......I agree with author that the educational system is the major reason for the ecological, economical and societal challenges we face today and we need a major paradigm The author reminds us that we are part of a large living organism, and our actions are suicidal with respect to the earth. We are trading short term gains for long term environmental disaster. Our actions are blamed on our educational system and the author offers ways to change our course. Very thought provoking and distressing......I agree with author that the educational system is the major reason for the ecological, economical and societal challenges we face today and we need a major paradigm shift to change course.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Shaun

    I always enjoy reading David Orr's work. He manages to be both radical and practical in his arguments for rethinking education, how we build cities and rural places, the way we conceive our role as humans within the biosphere. If you've read some of his other work, none of this will seem especially new; however, it's still a pleasure to read, even if to recharge your sense of purpose in these times of ecological crisis. And given that Orr's arguments are just as pertinent in 2016 as they were in I always enjoy reading David Orr's work. He manages to be both radical and practical in his arguments for rethinking education, how we build cities and rural places, the way we conceive our role as humans within the biosphere. If you've read some of his other work, none of this will seem especially new; however, it's still a pleasure to read, even if to recharge your sense of purpose in these times of ecological crisis. And given that Orr's arguments are just as pertinent in 2016 as they were in 1994, it speaks all the more to the urgency of this project.

  30. 5 out of 5

    erica

    1st essay is my favourite good food for thought good critical thinking on education con: if reading through as a book, essay styles/layout come off as somewhat repetitive * upon re-reading some of orr's work I note that it doesn't acknowledge whose land upon which we are developing these earth-based relationships with. i.e. that north america is founded upon unhealthy & violent relations towards the earth and its people. 1st essay is my favourite good food for thought good critical thinking on education con: if reading through as a book, essay styles/layout come off as somewhat repetitive * upon re-reading some of orr's work I note that it doesn't acknowledge whose land upon which we are developing these earth-based relationships with. i.e. that north america is founded upon unhealthy & violent relations towards the earth and its people.

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