Human Ecology

, Volume 39, Issue 4, pp 551–553 | Cite as

David W. Orr: Down to the Wire. Confronting Climate Collapse

Oxford, New York: Oxford University Press 2009. ISBN 978-0-19-539353-8, Price $19.95 (hardback). xvii +261 pages, index
  • Jeremy Spoon

In the passionate and accessible Down to the Wire: Confronting Climate Collapse David Orr alerts us that we have entered what Harvard Biologist Edward O. Wilson calls “the bottleneck” (Wilson 2002). Homo sapienshave failed to recognize their biogeochemical impact on Earth cycles and are therefore trapped by their own actions. Cautiously, Orr hopes for a “tempering process” that will shed light on “our illusions of being separate from nature and our pretense that we can master nature or each other through violence” (x). He introduces the reader to the “long emergency” ahead, which includes climate destabilization, the end of the era of cheap oil, ecological degradation, and other related problems. It is clear that technological innovation alone will not fix these interconnected problems and that informed leadership, balanced media, and human gratitude and creativity may help alleviate the damage. His faith is that “people want to be told the truth and that with intrepid and competent...


  1. Spoon, J. (2010). Tourism meets the sacred: Khumbu Sherpa place-based spiritual values in Sagarmatha (Mount Everest) National Park and Buffer Zone, Nepal. In Verschuuren, B., Wild, R., McNeely, J. A., and Oviedo, G. (eds.), Sacred natural sites: Preserving nature and culture. Earthscan, London, pp. 87–97.Google Scholar
  2. Wilson, E. O. (2002). The future of life. Knopf, New York.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of AnthropologyPortland State UniversityPortlandUSA

Personalised recommendations