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Department of Communications/
News Bureau
22 Davis Hall, 10 Lippitt Road, Kingston, RI 0288
Phone: 401-874-2116 Fax: 401-874-7872

Media Contact: Todd McLeish 874-7892

"Reconsidering Economics, Politics,
and the Future of the Planet"

Leading environmental educator lectures at URI Feb. 13

KINGSTON, R.I. -- February 7, 2003 -- Nationally recognized environmental educator David Orr, chairman of the environmental studies department at Oberlin College, will visit the University of Rhode Island on February 13 to give a lecture questioning what educators and others are doing about the important issues of our time.

The lecture will be at 7:30 p.m. in the Weaver Auditorium of the Coastal Institute on the Kingston Campus. It is free and open to the public.

Described as "one of those who will shape our lives" by the Cleveland Plain Dealer, Orr is best known for his pioneering work on environmental literacy in higher education and his recent work in ecological design. A popular speaker and writer, Orr inspires and provokes his students and others by declaring that "our times call us to a level we haven’t reached."

In his newest book, The Nature of Design: Ecology, Culture, and Human Intention, he writes, "We cannot make democracy work unless we can make it work with, not against, the ecology of the particular places in which we live." He points out that it is impossible for today’s citizens to hold a global economy accountable and suggests reflection on the ideals of America’s founders -- Jefferson, Hamilton, and Paine -- and react against today’s "source of unaccountable power, corporate, governmental, or societal." His challenge: "What are we doing relevant to the big issues of our time? What are we sustaining? And why ? And how? What are we aiming to become as we grow as a species?"

David Orr spearheaded the effort to design and build an environmental studies center at Oberlin, a building described by the New York Times as "the most remarkable of a new generation of college buildings."

Orr was awarded a National Conservation Achievement Award by the National Wildlife Federation in 1993 and the Benton Box Award from Clemson University for his work in environmental education. He is the author of two other books, Earth in Mind, and Ecological Literacy.

Orr’s URI lecture and additional meetings with students, faculty, staff and administration will guide faculty in the development of a new minor in sustainability, and lend support to ongoing sustainability initiatives on campus.

For more information about the lecture or the URI sustainability initiatives, call Lorraine Keeney at 874-4947 or email

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