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Designing Resilience in a Black Swan World: A Lecture by David W. Orr

Tuesday, October 18, 2011
06:00 PM - 07:30 PM

The Jerry H. Labowitz Theatre for the Performing Arts, 1 Washington Place

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Regina Drew

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Black Swan events are those with low or unknown probability, but high and long-lived and often global impacts. They affect financial markets, climate, public safety, and human health and more. The talk is about how we begin to design communities, regions, and nations to improve resilience and prosperity.. We will examine one case study, the Oberlin Project, and the National Sustainable Communities Coalition.

David W. Orr is the Paul Sears Distinguished Professor of Environmental Studies and Politics and Special Assistant to the President of Oberlin College and a James Marsh Professor at the University of Vermont.

His career as a scholar, teacher, writer, speaker, and entrepreneur spans fields as diverse as environment and politics, environmental education, campus greening, green building, ecological design, and climate change. He is the author of six books and co-editor of three others. Ecological Literacy (SUNY, 1992), described as a “true classic” by Garrett Hardin, is widely read and used in hundreds of colleges and universities. A second book, Earth in Mind (1994/2004) is praised by people as diverse as biologist E. O. Wilson and writer, poet, and farmer, Wendell Berry.

In 1987 he organized studies of energy, water, and materials use on several college campuses that helped to launch the green campus movement. In 1996 he organized the effort to design the first substantially green building on a U.S. college campus. In an influential article in the Chronicle of Higher Education 2000 Orr proposed the goal of carbon neutrality for colleges and universities and subsequently organized and funded an effort to define a carbon neutral plan for his own campus at Oberlin. Seven years later hundreds of colleges and universities, including Oberlin, have made that pledge.

Presented by the NYU Environmental Studies Program, the NYU Sustainability Task Force, and the NYU Gallatin School of Individual Study.