Wes Jackson is a geneticist. He thinks in terms of generations. His work to restore the prairies, devastated by the effect of tractors turning over the sod to plant corn and soybeans, began in 1976 with the founding of The Land Institute. It has taken forty-four years to breed and test a perennial grain sufficiently rich in protein to serve as a food source replacement for the annually planted crops. That work and Wes Jackson’s dogged vision through the years has taught us all the necessity to think long term when designing the social, economic, and environmental systems that are restorative in nature.
David Orr knows that long term change does not come without community engagement. His activism started with one green, award-winning building at Oberlin College, and then the whole campus, and then the city itself.
The Oberlin Project is a joint effort of the City of Oberlin, Oberlin College, and private and institutional partners to improve the resilience, prosperity, and sustainability of our community. The Oberlin Project’s aim is to revitalize the local economy, eliminate carbon emissions, restore local agriculture, food supply and forestry, and create a new, sustainable base for economic and community development.
Wes Jackson and David Orr are recognized giants in their fields. On Thursday, August 13th at 2pm Eastern, Jackson and Orr will engage in a live, virtual conversation on Zoom moderated by David Bollier. They will reflect on their past work in light of current political, economic, and social realities and share their hopes for the future. Registration is free. A question and answer period will follow initial presentations. If you are unable to attend, a recording of the event will be available.
About our speakers:
Wes Jackson is one of the foremost figures in the international sustainable agriculture movement. In addition to being a world-renowned plant geneticist, he is a farmer, author, and professor emeritus of biology.
He was a professor of biology at Kansas Wesleyan University, and a tenured full professor at California State University, Sacramento. There he established and chaired one of the first Environmental Studies programs in the United States. In 1976 he left academia to co-found The Land Institute, a nonprofit educational organization in Salina, Kansas. There he conceptualized Natural Systems Agriculture—including perennial grains, perennial polycultures, and intercropping, all based on the model of the prairie.
He is a Pew Conservation Scholar, a MacArthur Fellow, and a Right Livelihood Laureate (also known as the Alternative Nobel Prize). Smithsonian Magazine has said that Jackson’s mission is “the overthrow of agriculture as we know it,” and included him in its “35 Who Made a Difference” list in 2005. Life Magazine named him among the 100 “most important Americans of the 20th century.” He is a member of The World Future Council and the Green Lands, Blue Waters Steering Committee.
David W. Orr is the Paul Sears Distinguished Professor of Environmental Studies and Politics as well as Special Assistant to the President of Oberlin College and executive director of the Oberlin Project. He is perhaps best known for his pioneering work on environmental literacy in higher education and his leading role in the promising new field of ecological design.
Throughout his career he has served as a board member of or advisor to eight foundations and on the boards of many organizations, including the Rocky Mountain Institute and the Aldo Leopold Foundation. He is a trustee of Bioneers, the Alliance for Sustainable Colorado, and the Worldwatch Institute.
At Oberlin he spearheaded the effort to design, fund, and build the Adam Joseph Lewis Center, which was named by an AIA panel in 2010 as “the most important green building of the past 30 years” and as “one of 30 milestone buildings of the twentieth century” by the U.S. Department of Energy. The story of that building is told in two of his books, The Nature of Design (2002), which Fritjof Capra called “brilliant,” and Design on the Edge (2006), which architect Sim van der Ryn describes as “powerful and inspiring.”
Previous Schumacher lectures and speaker biographies can be found here:
Please join us Thursdays at 2PM Eastern through October for the Schumacher Conversations.
Wishing all good health,
Staff of the Schumacher Center for a New Economics