Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Donella Meadows

Four men and a woman posing for a photograph.In 1968 a global think tank was founded in Rome, Italy, concerned with humanity's lack of "forward looking analysis" in regard to its effect on the ecology of the planet. One of the early contributors to the program of the "Club of Rome" was Donella H. Meadows, a young environmental activist and teacher who worked with her husband, Dennis Meadows, and others at MIT to develop and interpret a computer model to calculate human economic expansion and its relationship to the ecosystem of the earth. The result was the controversial book The Limits to Growth, co-authored by Meadows. Always outspoken in her criticism of humanity's failures to recognize the damage it was causing to the earth’s environments, Meadows was appalled at the choice Family Circle magazine made in choosing a woman with four children as its "Homemaker of the Year." In a 1970 letter addressed to the magazine she writes:

If your homemaker of the year feels any responsibility to the human society of the future, she would not have more than two children. If she loves children and wants more than two, she can fill a great social need by adopting them. If she is a real citizen of this country and this world, she will have consumption habits which are very distinct from those of most Americans and those usually pictured in your magazine.

Donella and her husband Dennis practiced what they preached, living with friends on an organic farm in rural New Hampshire, while advocating, through their writings and teaching, for a sustainable world. In 1996 Meadows founded the Sustainability Institute whose headquarters are part of the Cobb Hill Cohousing community.

If you would like to find out more about this dedicated environmentalist and author ask for MS-1152, The Papers of Donella H. Meadows.

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