Cultural Studies of Science Education

, Volume 6, Issue 1, pp 193–221 | Cite as

A philosophical analysis of David Orr’s theory of ecological literacy: biophilia, ecojustice and moral education in school learning communities

  • Debra B. Mitchell
  • Michael P. MuellerEmail author


In his writings, David Orr claims that the US is in an “ecological crisis” and that this stems from a crisis of education. He outlines a theory of ecological literacy, a mode by which we better learn the ecology of the Earth and live in a sustainable manner. While emphasizing a shock doctrine, the diagnosis of “crisis” may be correct, but it is short-lived for children and adults of the world. In this philosophical analysis of Orr’s theory, it is argued that we move beyond the perspective of crisis. By extending Orr’s ecological literacy with biophilia and ecojustice and by recognizing the importance of experience-in-learning, science education is envisioned to incorporate values and morals within a longer term ideology of educational reform.


Biophilia Ecojustice Outdoor experiences Moral education Pragmatism 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Mathematics and Science EducationUniversity of GeorgiaAthensUSA

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