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A Good That TranscendsHow US Culture Undermines Environmental Reform$
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Eric T. Freyfogle

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780226326085

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: September 2017

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226326252.001.0001

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Impressionism and David Orr

Impressionism and David Orr

(p.61) Three Impressionism and David Orr
A Good That Transcends

Eric T. Freyfogle

University of Chicago Press

David Orr stands as perhaps the preeminent American conservation voice linking the possibilities for progress through environmental engineering and cradle-to-cradle technology with the essential need for basic cultural and institutional change. This chapter brings together Orr’s views on nature and culture and his varied commentaries on the flaws in modern culture and in current economic and political arrangements. It argues that Orr’s wide-ranging, boldly colored, passionate essays work well to inspire audiences prone to agree with him. Yet his eclectic criticism fails to cohere into a clear reform message and is less valuable as a result. Even as he works at the local level on land-planning efforts, Orr puts little stress on needs for collective action at higher levels, either to promote the cultural messages he deems important or to instigate institutional reform. Orr’s impressionist, provocative presentations become more useful when distilled, pruned, and combined with the wisdom of others into a more coherent plan for social change.

Keywords:   collective action, conservation, cradle-to-cradle, David Orr, environmental engineering, land planning

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