Friday, December 11, 2009

Last regularly scheduled contribution from David Orr in Conservation Biology

David W. Orr, Paul Sears Professor of Environmental Studies and Politics, has published his last column for Conservation Biology. His essay in the December issue (published online November 24, 2009), Retrospect and Prospect: the Unbearable Lightness of Conservation, is an insightful review and nudge - or shove - onward. Read it. Then get cracking on what needs to be done.

The editors thanked Professor Orr with these words:
After some 20 years of providing columns for Conservation Biology, this is the last regularly scheduled contribution from David Orr, who has asked to retire from this position to devote time to other pursuits. The Board of Governors and Executive Committee of SCB wish to express their profound thanks and gratitude to Professor Orr for his extraordinary and unparalleled service for nearly the entire life of this journal to date. His columns were consistently stimulating, often edgy, and his many insights and observations always challenging to our readers. His writings have been unique in bringing science, politics, economics, and social and ethical issues under a robust and uncompromising vision of what it means to do conservation in our time. His understanding of conservation and devotion to this journal are without equal. The Society recognizes and thanks him for his numerous and diverse contributions; his presence is irreplaceable, and he will be sorely missed in these pages.
Luigi Boitani
SCB President, on behalf of the Board of Governors and Executive Committee

This final essay is important reading, chronicling breathtaking transitions and stupefyingly stuck legislators and policy makers. His contributions (63 columns since 1988) have marked many missed opportunities to slow the train of environmental disaster before we reach the last switch. It is enough to make you weep in frustration, or lie down in despair, but only in preparation for the next round.

The December issue of Conservation Biology will be archived at the OhioLINK Electronic Journal Center, where you can quickly search for all of David Orr's writings within that title since 1992. Older volumes are archived at JSTOR. A 1995 column caught my eye: None so blind, the problem of ecological denial. The column could have been written today, describing climate change deniers. Orr says "denial is manifest in ridicule and ad hominem attacks." That was certainly obvious at Lord Christopher Monckton's speech in Copenhagen on Dec. 9, when Lord Monckton referred to protesters as "Hitler Youth" and "nazis." [Story from It's Getting Hot in Here].

Thank you, Professor Orr, for your writing and advocacy.

1 comment:

Folke said...
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