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Ecological Literacy: Education and the Transition to a Postmodern World (Suny Series, Constructive Postmodern Thought) Paperback

ISBN-13: 978-0791408742 ISBN-10: 0791408744 Edition: First Edition

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Product Details

  • Series: Suny Series, Constructive Postmodern Thought
  • Paperback: 232 pages
  • Publisher: State University of New York Press; First Edition edition (November 8, 1991)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0791408744
  • ISBN-13: 978-0791408742
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.2 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #927,442 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

36 of 38 people found the following review helpful By David Liscio on March 30, 1999
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Orr has plenty to say about how the educational system can play a key role in ensuring that future generations better understand how to live in harmony with the earth. For example, on pp. 85-86, he writes, "The failure to develop ecological literacy is a sin of omission and of commission. Not only are we failing to teach the basics about the earth and how it works, but we are in fact teaching a large amount of stuff that is simply wrong. By failing to include ecological perspectives in any number of subjects, students are taught that ecology is unimportant for history, politics, economics, society and so forth. And through television, they learn that the earth is theirs for the taking. The result is a generation of ecological yahoos without a clue why the color of the water in their rivers is related to their food supply, or why storms are becoming more severe as the planet warms. The same persons as adults will create businesses, vote, have families, and above all, consume. Orr's book is a wake-up call to educators worldwide. It is a lesson on the value of integrative teaching strategies. His underlying message: Don't be an ecological yahoo.
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25 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Elliott C. Maynard on March 7, 2004
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
David Orr has approached the subject of "Environmental Literacy" from a series of diverse perspectives. As a Professor of Environmental Studies at Oberlin College, and founder of the Non-Profit Meadowcreek Peoject, he has made a significant and thought-provoking contribution to the field of Contemporary Ecological LIterature. Orr sees "Sustainability," as being "about the terms and conditions of human survival," and that "this crisis can not be solved by the same kind of education that helped to create the problems."
The Author feels that the contemporary social problem of Alienation from the Natural world has reached a level which is unprecidented in Human History, and that our success in healing this "division" will be the difference between extinction or survival of the Human Race.
This book represents a an in-depth contribution to the growing field of Neo-Ecological Literature. Althought it is wtitten in an academic format, the concepts are clearly defincd, and written in an interesting readable style. This is a basic "Must Read" for anyone seriously interested in becoming "Ecologically Literate."
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Gerard Reed on March 11, 2009
Format: Paperback
Ecological Literacy: Education and the Transition to a Postmodern World (Albany: State University of New York Press, c. 1992), by David W. Orr, challenges us to re-think and re-orient our educational endeavors with a singular focus: to save the earth. The volume is one in the "SUNY Series in Constructive Postmodern Thought," which explores the possibility, in the words of its editor, David Ray Griffin, that modernity is an "aberration," that "the continuation of modernity threa¬tens the very survival of life on our planet" (p. vi).
Given modernity's misguidance, we need to find wiser guides than those which have structured to¬day's technological society. Unlike the "deconstructive postmodernists" who've attracted considerable media attention, however, "constructive postmodernism" seeks to "salvage a positive meaning not only for the notions of the human self, his¬torical meaning, and truth as correspondence, which were central to modernity, but also for premodern notions of a divine reality, cosmic meaning, and an enchanted nature" (p. v).
Orr, director of the environmental studies program at Oberlin College, first deals with "the issue of sustainability," arguing we live on a finite planet which needs careful husbandry. Data detailing environmental degradation should chill us: daily we spew aloft 15,000,000 tons of carbon, wipe out 115 square miles of tropi¬cal rain¬forest, desertify 72 square miles of land, drive to extinc¬tion 40-100 species, erode 71,000,000 tons of top¬soil, shoot 2700 tons of CFCs into the stratosphere, and add another 263,000 persons to the world's population. The earth simply can't long endure modernity's technologi¬cal society.
Yet the critical nature of the environmental crisis isn't really technical.
Read more ›
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Marie Manuelito on April 11, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Let me state up front that this book presents some good ideas. But Orr doesn't have a good grasp on the reality of our social/political dynamics. Orr envisions a top-down reform process wherein colleges will supply students the necessary education to spark reform. Learning about sustainability in college is better than not learning it at all, but the college model has been tried for a few generations now with minimal effectiveness.

Also, Orr argues for "an uncompromising commitment to life and its preservation," but he doesn't clearly explain what that means. He also suggests integrating environmental education into a diverse number of courses. While he doesn't suggest mandating environmental courses, I suspect that this would be the end result, since students must still fulfill the requirements of their major. The end result would probably look like the consequences of mandating women's' studies classes that some colleges tried back in the 80's. In other words, you'd get a strong backlash. Also, Orr never addresses the fact that people who live "close to the soil" tend to vote against environmental causes. There's a lot of reason why that is, but for a book that advocates living "close to the soil," it's a huge omission.
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