The Nature of Design
In this book by Orr, he explores the ideas that prevent ecological design, while broadening the concept. By outlining the educational implications of ecological design he attempts to promote the design of a culture that protects its children.
Most of the ecological problems he explains are unintended. Moreover they are often times side effects of actions that we intend to be beneficial. Consequently the problems cannot simply be solved with the application of reason and technology because more often than not those are the very reason why the problem arose in the first place. Therefore ecological design needs to be an ideology built into the structure of daily life. We often limit our ability to discover better alternatives to the capacity of our minds; and since our minds have been diminished by the design of systems that provide us with food and materials without any though to the environment, it is no wonder that we would perpetuate those same ideals. Ecological design allows us to expand our awareness and competence in nature.
Orr follows his explanation of ecological design with the introduction of slow knowledge. To him slow knowledge isn’t slow at all rather it is shift from knowledge to wisdom. He believes that knowledge can be acquired as rapidly as humans can comprehend it, but it also should be put consistently to good use. Moreover if there is too much focus on the acquisition of knowledge rather than the application the human mind looses its ability to manage and create. He then adds to this notion that our society must learn to take time. Speed does not equate efficiency; therefore it is not enough to just recycle, we must also take the time to make things durable, repairable, useful, and beautiful.
The most important aspect of Orr’s argument in this book is that he highlights aspects critical to a sustaining culture that lie outside the boundaries of conventional educational thought, which extends beyond the...