Donella Meadows LO26236

From: Richard Karash (
Date: 02/27/01

Replying to LO26184 --

[Host's Note: Last week, I distributed a short obituary notice on Donella
Meadows' which was prepared by her office at Dartmouth. Since then, I have
received this different obituary prepared by her colleagues in the Balaton
Group which tells more about her activities and influence. I invite any of
you to reply to this message with remembrances of Dana and her work.

Donella H. Meadows, 59, a pioneering environmental scientist and writer,
died Tuesday in New Hampshire after a brief illness. She was best known
to the world as the lead author of the international bestselling book The
Limits to Growth, published in 1972. The book, which reported on a study
of long-term global trends in population, economics, and the environment,
sold millions of copies and was translated into 28 languages. She was
also the lead author of the twenty-year follow-up study, Beyond the Limits
(1992), with original co-authors Dennis Meadows and Jxrgen Randers.

Professor Meadows, known as "Dana" to friends and colleagues, was a
leading voice in what has become known as the "sustainability movement,"
an international effort to reverse damaging trends in the environment,
economy, and social systems. Her work is widely recognized as a formative
influence on hundreds of other academic studies, government policy
initiatives, and international agreements.

Dana Meadows was also a devoted teacher of environmental systems, ethics,
and journalism to her students at Dartmouth College in Hanover, New
Hampshire, where she taught for 29 years. In addition to her many
original contributions to systems theory and global trend analysis, she
managed a small farm and was a vibrant member of her local community.
Genuinely unconcerned with her international fame, she often referred to
herself simply as "a farmer and a writer."

Donella Meadows was born March 13, 1941 in Elgin, Illinois, and educated
in science, earning a B.A. in chemistry from Carleton College in 1963 and
a Ph.D. in biophysics from Harvard University in 1968. As a research
fellow at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, she was a protege of Jay
Forrester, the inventor of system dynamics as well as the principle of
magnetic data storage for computers.

In 1972 she was on the MIT team that produced the global computer model
"World3" for the Club of Rome and provided the basis for The Limits to
Growth. The book made headlines around the world, and began a debate
about the limits of the Earth's capacity to support human economic
expansion, a debate that continues to this day. Her writing - appearing
most often in the form of a weekly column called "The Global Citizen,"
nominated for the Pulitzer Prize in 1991 -- has been published regularly
in the international press since that time.

In 1981, together with her former husband Dennis Meadows, Donella Meadows
founded the International Network of Resource Information Centers (INRIC),
also called the Balaton Group (after the lake in Hungary where the group
meets annually). The group built early and critical avenues of exchange
between scientists on both sides of the Iron Curtain at the height of the
Cold War.

As the Balaton Group's coordinator for eighteen years, she facilitated
what grew to become an unusually effective global process of information
sharing and collaboration among hundreds of leading academics,
researchers, and activists in the broader sustainability movement.
Professor Meadows also served on many national and international boards
and scientific committees, and taught and lectured all over the world.
She was recognized as a 1991 Pew Scholar and as a 1994 MacArthur Fellow
for her work. In 1992 the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH)
presented her with an honorary doctorate.

In 1997, Professor Meadows founded the Sustainability Institute, which she
described as a "think-do-tank." The Institute combines cutting edge
research in global systems with practical demonstrations of sustainable
living, including the development of an ecological village and organic
farm in Hartland Four Corners, Vermont.

Donella Meadows is survived by her mother, Phoebe Quist of Tahlequah
Oklahoma; her father, Don Hager of the Chicago area; a brother, Jason
Hager, of Wisconsin; cousins and nephews; and a large community of
colleagues and friends, both international and local, in the organizations
that she founded and assisted.
Obituary prepared by members of the Balaton Group (INRIC)

For further information contact:
(In New England:
In Europe:


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