Popular columnists Donella "Dana" Meadows died on February 20, 2001. The following is excerpted from a manuscript she wrote before her death about her book "The Limits to Growth," which sold more than 9 million copies. It is being released to coincide with Earth Day, during which memorial services will be held in cities across the nation to commemorate Dana.
The place to watch for global warming -- the sensitive point, the canary in the coal mine -- is the Arctic. When the planet as a whole warms by one degree, the poles will warm by about three degrees. Unfortunately, this is just what is happening.
The biotech biz can't make grass into wool and lambs either, though the sheep I used to have, which were not at all smart, used to do it with great reliability. Sometimes I wonder, with all our supposed progress, what we're rushing toward and what we're leaving behind.
What do you do when you want to move fast but the way ahead is dark, possibly dangerous and almost entirely unknown? Rational people would proceed cautiously. When it comes to the environment, the U.S. does not.
South Africa adopted the first ever global agreement banning persistent organic pollutants -- chemicals that are immediately toxic or cause cancer or reproductive difficulties or birth defects -- on December 10. If ratified, 12 POPs will be affected.
The world is fixated on building up money capital at the expense everywhere of social and natural capital. If you count money, the future of the world looks good. When you count nature and societal health the picture is different.
While the nation was absorbed in its election follies, environmentalists David Brower and Don Michael passed away. The two giants lived lives that sent powerful messages to the two dwarfs vying for control of the country.
Given the uncertainty surrounding the risks of water flouridation, isn't there a better way to protect children's teeth? Why fluoridate the whole water supply, the millions of gallons with which we flush toilets and take showers and water lawns, if our only target is children's teeth?
I wish everyone would stop calling them "debates." At best, they are carefully controlled soundbite gotcha matches. Like most everything in our campaign process, they insult voters and undermine democracy.
Inheritance taxes infuriate the rich who focus narrowly on one life, one set of children, and one ardent need to feel good about themselves. When the broader context is considered, sensible reasons for taxing estates emerge.
The growth imperative shepherding American farmers and fishers is leading them to the edge of a high cliff. As output exceeds capacity, the price of goods like corn, timber, and fish falter. Idled machines, laid-off workers, bankrupt families, and environmental decay soon follow.