Black Swans, and How to Tame Them
Environmental scholar David Orr spends two busy days on and around campus
March 29, 2013
David Orr (left) and his wife, Elaine, went on a tour of the Dickinson College Farm, led by Matt Steiman, assistant director of the farm. (Photo by Tony Moore)
dossier full of black swans and environmental insights, David Orr, Paul
Sears Distinguished Professor of Environmental Studies and Politics at Oberlin
College, came to campus recently for two days of conversations, classroom
visits, tours and lectures as part of the series Living
in a World of Limits, which is cosponsored by the Clarke Forum and the
Center for Sustainability Education.
Orr's first stop was the Dickinson
College Farm, where he and his wife, Elaine, toured the grounds and facilities.
He then toured campus and met with the Clarke Forum Faculty Study Group and the
A key item on Orr's agenda was the Oberlin
Project, a sustainable-development partnership among the town of Oberlin
(Ohio), Oberlin College and other parties. Orr discussed its applicability to
Dickinson and Carlisle with founders of the Greater
Carlisle Project, which is based on the Oberlin Project's core goals:
- Become climate
- Create new
and support existing sustainable business ventures
- Conserve green space and
develop a robust local-foods economy
sustainability into education at all levels via educational
as a model that can be replicated in other communities
Orr's visit to Carlisle also
included a meeting with members of the Idea Fund, a classroom visit and his
public lecture in the Anita Tuvin Schlecter Auditorium.
lecture, Orr framed the dangers of climate change in terms of black-swan
events—large-scale disasters that no one sees coming, are devastating and, in
retrospect, should have been obvious all along. Orr spoke for an hour and a
half, detailing the dangers, the consequences and the dire need for action in
combating what he sees as the greatest threat to both humankind and the
Living in a World of Limits, a sustainability series featuring
renowned environmental experts, advocates and thought-leaders, will continue
with a visit from Bill McKibben. McKibben, whom Time magazine has
called "the planet's best green journalist," will be on campus April 10-11.
See what the Baird
candidates are saying about David Orr's visit.
Watch a video of Orr's lecture.