The Oberlin Project: Visions of a Sustainable Future
Starting with the small town of Oberlin, Ohio, David Orr hopes to spark a wider movement that harnesses America's ingenuity and enterprise to rebuild an entire country from the grass roots up.
David Orr in a facility designed to sustainably treat waste water using natural processes.
The basic aspects of the Oberlin Project.
David Orr stands in a solar powered parking garage in Oberlin, Ohio.
It was a new experience to hear the words "Tea Party" and "environmental" mentioned in the same sentence. The speaker was David Orr, talking passionately about the Oberlin Project, his vision for a sustainable future. In a nutshell, the project aims to develop a full model of sustainable development while drastically reducing the carbon footprint of an entire town, namely Oberlin, Ohio. David is Special Assistant to the President in Sustainability & Environmental Affairs and Paul Sears Distinguished Professor of Environmental Studies & Politics at Oberlin College.
He is asking if it's possible to create an ecological version of the Tea Party movement, harnessing and transforming the angst in communities all over the country to help solve large problems such as education, economic renewal, and climate change.
"We have five goals in the Oberlin Project" says David. "One is to rebuild an economy here that is sustainable. We’re a small city in the Rust Belt with a poverty level of about 25 percent. The second goal is to get to carbon neutrality - get past fossil fuel use and power the community by efficiency and solar power and renewable energy, broadly. Third goal is to rebuild the local food system in order to supply up to 70 percent of our food. The fourth goal is to do all this as an educational venture. This isn’t top-down, directed by me or anybody else. This is a College and community enterprise."