On March 13, 1941, American biophysicist and environmentalist Donella (Dana) Meadows was born. She was a professor of environmental studies at Dartmouth College, New Hampshire. Meadows regarded sustainability as something experienced through living it, an ability she saw in humankind to meet the needs of the present without compromising that ability in future generations to meet their needs. Hence a meeting of needs that preserves the resources from which we meet our needs, keeping both human welfare and our physical environment in focus, together.
Meadows firmly believed that when we use natural resources faster than they can regenerate, then we cannot sustain ourselves. Similarly, when we release our wastes and pollution into our environments faster than those environments can recycle them or render them harmless, then we damage both our environments and ourselves.
She suggested that substitutes for renewable resources be developed and used instead of, and to a much greater extent than, natural resources. Meadows advocated a complete re-vision, a larger vision, a globally responsible way of living within our environment that neither harms nor depletes its biodiversity but rather helps us live within the planet’s bio capacity.
As an environmental scientist, she applied her belief in the Sciences and their rigour. Meadows used her skills as an educator and communicator to write or co-write nine books. Some of these include The Limits to Growth and its sequel, Beyond the Limits, and The Global Citizen.
For almost 20 years, Meadows facilitated global information sharing about projects, research, and scientific interactions focused on best practices to help the planet’s governments and citizens walk a sustainable path. She founded the Sustainability Institute now called the Academy for Systems Change to help institutions and organizations seek change to avoid the collapse of our ecosystems.
B Bondar / Real World Content Advantage