"Dangerous Years" by David W. Orr

Dangerous Years Climate Change, the Long Emergency, and the Way Forward David W. Orr

Publication date:
29 May 2018
Yale University Press
320 pages: 210 x 140mm
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A leading environmental thinker takes a hard look at the obstacles and possibilities on the long road to sustainability  

This gripping, deeply thoughtful book considers future of civilization in the light of what we know about climate change and related threats. David Orr, an award-winning, internationally recognized leader in the field of sustainability and environmental education, pulls no punches: even with the Paris Agreement of 2015, Earth systems will not reach a new equilibrium for centuries. Earth is becoming a different planet—more threadbare and less biologically diverse, with more acidic oceans and a hotter, more capricious climate. Furthermore, technology will not solve complex problems of sustainability.
Yet we are not fated to destroy the Earth, Orr insists. He imagines sustainability as a quest and a transition built upon robust and durable democratic and economic institutions, as well as changes in heart and mindset. The transition, he writes, is beginning from the bottom up in communities and neighborhoods. He lays out specific principles and priorities to guide us toward enduring harmony between human and natural systems.

David W. Orr is Counselor to the President and Paul Sears Distinguished Professor Emeritus, Oberlin College. Prominent in the creation of the Green Campus movement, he cofounded the Meadowcreek Project, the Oberlin Project, and the journal Solutions.

". . . sets out a way to reform society from bottom up by radically changing our economics, our education system—even our evolutionary traits."—Louise Gray, BBC Wildlife

"The seminal work on the threats of climate change to the planet and society. . . . Orr’s book is full of philosophical wisdom, founded on environmental evidence, which will help us to generate a more sustainable planet."—Jim Lynch, Biologist

Winner of the Green Prize, given to authors, illustrators, and publishers who produce quality books for adults and young people that make significant contributions to, support the ideas of, and broaden public awareness of sustainability.

“A valuable addition to environmental and philosophical wisdom.”—Edward O. Wilson, Harvard University

"No one knows more about the hole we're in, and no one has worked any harder to get us out of it—David Orr is a necessary guide to the great climate crisis we find ourselves in, and this is a vital book."—Bill McKibben, author Eaarth: Making a Life on a Tough New Planet

"David Orr has written a perfectly marvelous book, a deep and wide-ranging reflection on the human condition. It's a winner, and a rare one at that."—James Gustave Speth, author of Red Sky at Morning, The Bridge at the End of the World, and America the Possible

"David Orr has for many years provided a broad view of our ecological challenges. Now he provides a long view, sounding the alarm about the future we are heedlessly creating today. Like the Sorcerer’s Apprentice, we have put in motion a process of fossil-fueled growth that has gone out of control. In the absence of a wizard to right the situation magically, Orr calls for human intervention before it is too late—not just in our power plants and motor vehicles, but in the way we live our lives and organize society. To do so, he once wrote, 'hope is an imperative.'"—Timothy E. Wirth, former U.S. Senator (Colorado) and President Emeritus, The United Nations Foundation

"An extremely valuable look at humanity's horizon, the challenging millennium ahead and how we might—indeed must—transition to sustainability. The distillation of a lifetime of constructive consideration of the environmental challenges we have brought upon ourselves, Dangerous Years will help us chart the way through the inchoate wilderness of our own making. Destined to become one of the great environmental classics."—Thomas E. Lovejoy, George Washington University