Episode for October 17, 2023
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The first major book to deal with the dual crises of democracy and climate change as one interrelated threat to the human future and to identify a path forward.
Democracy in a Hotter Time calls for reforming democratic institutions as a prerequisite for avoiding climate chaos and adapting governance to how Earth works as a physical system. To survive in the “long emergency” ahead, we must reform and strengthen democratic institutions, making them assets rather than liabilities. Edited by David W. Orr, this vital collection of essays proposes a new political order that will not only help humanity survive but also enable us to thrive in the transition to a post–fossil fuel world.
Orr gathers leading scholars, public intellectuals, and political leaders to address the many problems confronting our current political systems. Few other books have taken a systems view of the effects of a rapidly destabilizing climate on our laws and governance or offered such a diversity of solutions. These thoughtful and incisive essays cover subjects from Constitutional reform to participatory urban design to education; together, they aim to invigorate the conversation about the human future in practical ways that will improve the effectiveness of democratic institutions and lay the foundation for a more durable and just democracy.
William J. Barber III, JD, William S. Becker, Holly Jean Buck, Stan Cox, Michael M. Crow, William B. Dabars, Ann Florini, David H. Guston, Katrina Kuh, Gordon LaForge, Hélène Landemore, Frances Moore Lappé, Daniel Lindvall, Richard Louv, James R. May, Frederick W. Mayer, Bill McKibben, Michael Oppenheimer, David W. Orr, Wellington Reiter, Kim Stanley Robinson, Anne-Marie Slaughter
Paul Sears Distinguished Professor of Environmental Studies and Politics emeritus (1990-2017), Counselor to the President, Oberlin College 2007-2017, and presently a Professor of Practice at Arizona State University. He is the author of eight books, including Dangerous Years: Climate Change, the Long Emergency, and the Way Forward (Yale University Press, 2017), Down to the Wire: Confronting Climate Collapse (Oxford, 2009), Design with Nature (Oxford, 2002), Earth in Mind (Island, 2004) and co-editor of four others including Democracy Unchained (The New Press, 2020). He was a regular columnist for Conservation biology for twenty years.
He has also written over 250 articles, reviews, book chapters, and professional publications. He has served as a board member or adviser to eight foundations and on the Boards of many organizations including the Rocky Mountain Institute, the Aldo Leopold Foundation, and the Bioneers. Currently, he is a Trustee of the Alliance for Sustainable Colorado and Children and Nature Network. He has been awarded nine honorary degrees and a dozen other awards including a Lyndhurst Prize, a National Achievement Award from the National Wildlife Federation, a “Visionary Leadership Award” from Second Nature, a National Leadership award from the U.S. Green Building Council, a Lifetime Achievement Award from the North American Association for Environmental Education, the 2018 Leadership Award from the American Renewable Energy Institute, and a Lifetime Achievement Award from Green Energy Ohio.
He has lectured at hundreds of colleges and universities throughout the U.S., Europe, and Asia. He is a founder of: the Atlanta Environmental Symposium (1972-1974), the Meadowcreek Project (1979-1990), the Oberlin Project (2007-2017), the journal Solutions, and of the State of American Democracy Project 2017-present). He headed the effort to design, fund, and build the Adam Joseph Lewis Center, which was named by an AIA panel in 2010 as “the most important green building of the past thirty years;” . . . “one of thirty milestone buildings of the twentieth century” by the U.S. Department of Energy, and selected as one of “52 game changing buildings of the past 170 years” by the editors of Building Design + Construction Magazine (2016). He was instrumental in the design and funding for the Platinum-rated Peter B. Lewis Gateway Center (hotel + conference center). His current work at Arizona State University is on the repair and strengthening American democracy