The Inspire Speaker Series

The Green Schools Academy functions as a branch of our Waldorf School of Pittsburgh Expansion Team.  Each month, our “Green Team” joins eight other schools in attending workshops based on school sustainability.  We warmly invite our community to take part in this fantastic learning experience.  Please see below this month’s Inspire Speakers Series and consider attending.  Not only will you be inspired by David Orr, but also Phipps Winter Flower Show and Winter Light Garden!  As a partner-member, registration is just $25 per person.


“The plain fact is that the planet does not need more successful people. But it does desperately need more peacemakers, healers, restorers, storytellers, and lovers of every kind. It needs people who live well in their places. It needs people of moral courage willing to join the fight to make the world habitable and humane. And these qualities have little to do with success as we have defined it.”
David Orr

Join us for the third session of the INSPIRE Speakers Series with national expert David Orr, a scholar, teacher, writer, speaker, and entrepreneur who spans fields as diverse as environment and politics, environmental education, campus greening, green building, ecological design, and climate change!

GBA and Phipps Conservatory are excited to host David Orr to speak about the value of integrating sustainability across the curriculum and engaging students with their local communities. As David explains in his book Ecological Literacy, the words “environmental education” imply education about the environment, often in a separate course or two within formal school settings.  However, all education is environmental education due to the interconnectedness of all things, and thus of all academic disciplines. To be effective, education must reflect the ecological patterns that connect us all, and not be confined to separate subject areas or within the walls of our formal school settings.

In this inspirational talk, David will discuss the following concepts from his book, Ecological Literacy:

  • The value of engaging the wider society in education;
  • The roles of nongovernmental organizations, schools, colleges, universities as catalysts to a wider transformation of the culture and society;
  • The importance of the educational environment, campus, and curriculum as reflections of ecological values and realities; and
  •  The goal of ecological literacy as the active cultivation of ecological intelligence, imagination, and competence.

David will share stories from Oberlin College, where students have gained specific capacities, practical skills, analytic abilities, and a commitment to civic engagement due to participation in multi-disciplinary courses and hands-on community projects to address problems of sustainability.  The two most notable projects include:

  • The design, construction and operation of the Adam Joseph Lewis Center, a building described by the New York Times as “the most remarkable” of a new generation of college buildings and selected as one of 30 “milestone buildings” in the 20th century by the U.S. Department of Energy.
  •  The Oberlin Project, a joint effort of the City of Oberlin, Oberlin College, and private and institutional partners to improve the resilience, prosperity, and sustainability of the community, with a goal of carbon neutrality as part of the Clinton Foundation’s Climate Positive Development Project.

David W. Orr is the Paul Sears Distinguished Professor of Environmental Studies and Politics and Special Assistant to the President of Oberlin College. He is the recipient of six honorary degrees and other awards including The Millennium Leadership Award from Global Green, the Bioneers Award, the National Wildlife Federation Leadership Award, a Lyndhurst Prize acknowledging “persons of exceptional moral character, vision, and energy.”  He is the author of seven books and co-editor of three others. His first book, Ecological Literacy (SUNY, 1992), was described as a “true classic” by Garrett Hardin. A second book, Earth in Mind (1994/2004) is praised by people as diverse as biologist E. O. Wilson and writer, poet, and farmer, Wendell Berry. Both are widely read and used in hundreds of colleges and universities. The Essential David Orr (Island Press, 2010) is a collection of his writings from 1985 to 2010.  Read more about David’s background and experience.

For the December lecture only, guests of the Inspire Speakers Series will have a chance to explore Candlelight Evenings at Phipps! After you hear our amazing lecture from David Orr, stroll around the halls of Phipps and be enchanted by the Winter Flower Show & Winter Light Garden. You’ll be surrounded by live music, twinkling lights, and beautiful flowers! What better way to spend a cold winter evening? Phipps will remain open until 10 p.m. Don’t miss your opportunity to hear an amazing speaker and enjoy this special treat, all for one low price!

WHEN: Thursday, December 13th from 5:30 – 8:30 p.m.
Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens, One Schenley Park, Pittsburgh, PA 15213

The event will be held in the new Center for Sustainable Landscapes building (learn more about one of the greenest buildings in the world!)

Registration Information:
Partner Organization Member Fee: $25.00


 For group rates and scholarship information, please contact Jenna Cramer.

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