75-year-old David Orr was born in 1944 in Des Moines, Iowa, United States. He is a Special Professor of Environmental and Political Sciences at Oberlin University and Professor at the University of Vermont. He is also a well-known and active environmental expert in many fields of environmental studies, including environmental education and environmental design. He also served as a trustee for several organizations including the Rocky Mountain Institute and the Aldo Leopold Foundation.


In 1996, he organized the construction of one of the most environmentally friendly buildings in North America, the Adam Joseph Lewis Center for Environmental Studies at Oberlin College. The Adam Joseph Lewis Environmental Studies Center, located on the campus of Oberlin College, is one of the most advanced examples of environmentally friendly buildings in the United States.


The construction crew completed work on the building in January 2000. The next semester, conservation biology, environment and community classes, sustainable agriculture, ecological design, environmental education, physical geology, and solar energy were held in this place. The main architect of the project is William McDonough and Partners, an architectural firm in Charlottesville, Virginia.

The story of the building is written in two books, The Nature of Design and the second book Design of the Edge, which was described by architect Sim Van der Ryn as a powerful and very inspiring book.


Orr received many awards, one of that he was awarded the Bioneers Award in 2002. This award was created by filmmaker, writer, and environmental activist Kenny Ausubel. Another award was in the Achievement of National Conservation by the National Wildlife Federation in 1993. In 1992 he was awarded the Lyndhurst Prize by the Lyndhurst Foundation and the Benton Box Award from Clemson University for his work in Environmental Education.


David Orr as a Book Writer

Orr has a love for books and has written several books. He is the author of seven books and the other three co-editors. His first book, Ecological Literacy, was described as “true classic” by Garrett Hardin. His second book, Earth in Mind, is praised by people like biologist E. O. Wilson and writer, poet, and farmer, Wendell Berry. Both books are widely read and used in hundreds of colleges and universities. The Essential David Orr next book is a collection of writings from 1985 to 2010.


In 1987 he organized studies of energy, water, and materials used on several college campuses that helped launch the green campus movement. In 1989 Orr held the first conference on the impact of climate change that would occur in the banking industry. Sponsored by Governor Bill Clinton at the time, this conference presented prominent bankers throughout the South and leading climate scientists including Stephen Schneider and George Woodwell.


David Orr and His Vision for the Future of the Earth

Orr also gave lectures throughout the country that promoted practical and tangible solutions to the country’s climate crisis. Orr’s vision for a sustainable future has come true at Oberlin Project and it has expanded beyond the Oberlin campus. The Oberlin project aims to transform universities and cities into sustainable and environmentally friendly communities. In addition, David Orr aspires to achieve carbon neutrality for the greater Oberlin and has recruited hundreds of other colleges and universities to adopt similar plans.


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