Singled out as "one of the country's leading environmental thinkers" by Bill McKibben in the New York Review of Books, David W. Orr offers an exacting analysis of where we are in terms of climate change, how we got here, and what we must now do. Orr shows how political negligence, an economy based on the insatiable consumption of trivial goods, and a disdain for the well-being of future generations have brought us to the tipping point. We now face a long emergency of rising temperatures, rising sea-levels, and a host of other related problems that will increasingly undermine human civilization. Down to the Wire is a major wake-up call. But this is not a doomsday book. Orr offers a wide range of pragmatic, far-reaching proposals – some of which have already been adopted by the Obama administration – for how we might reconnect public policy with rigorous science, bring our economy into alignment with ecological realities, and begin to regard ourselves as planetary trustees for future generations.
Preface to the Paperback Edition
Part One: Politics and Governance
2. Late-Night Thoughts about Democracy in the Long Emergency
3. Leadership in the Long Emergency
Part Two: Connections
4. The Carbon Connection
5. The Spirit of Connection
Part Three: Farther Horizons
6. Millenial Hope
7. Hope at the End of Our Tether
9. The Upshot: What Is to Be Done?
Postscript: A Disclosure
"Orr acknowledges [the] dire circumstances, but does not wallow in despair or defeatism. His book is a clear-sighted view of what we need to change now [...] Orr's book will do much to help achieve the required cultural transformation, hopefully just in time."
"If you want to read the latest, and one of the most streamlined yet comprehensive accounts of our predicament, I'd recommend Down to the Wire by David Orr, an Oberlin College professor who has long been one of the country's leading environmental thinkers. He lays out the dangers, and he lays out the plans that would be needed to counteract those dangers; it's all there in simple and unavoidable prose."
- Bill McKibben, New York Review of Books
"If climate change were not an issue, what you would have to say would be undiminished in its urgency [...] I thank you for not giving up, for staking out the ground of 'authentic hope, ' and for reinvigorating that indispensable term, 'maybe.'"
- Wendell Berry, from a letter