Sunday, October 30, 2011

Insights from David Orr

I had the pleasure of spending some time with Oberlin Professor and Environmental leader David Orr last night.  He's a personal hero, a master of great prose, and always fun to hang with.  Coupla words that will be immediately incorporated into my vocabulary.

Promiscuous chemistry:  We were talking about the problems from what really only can be called a chemical revolution over the past 50 or so years.  Trouble is that this revolution is probably going to kill us.  We have no idea how many of these petro-chemical derived chemicals function alone or together.  We do know that since the rise of plastics and other industrial and consumer chemicals, male sperm counts have declined throughout the 'developed' world combined with a concomitant drop in testes size.  And, there have been major reductions in the age of puberty for girls, and reproductive cancers are more common.

Hope is a verb, with its sleeves rolled up:  David was talking about the ways one can address the current major threats to our environment and civilization.  He said one be optimistic and can ignore the truth and think that others will work it out (which won't happen), or once can be pessimistic which he views as morally repugnant because it involves no personal action.  Rather, he says we all have to work hard and have hope.

Some thoughts for tonight's dinner?

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