Stories by Donella H. Meadows

is an adjunct professor of environmental studies at Dartmouth College. subscribe to Donella H. Meadows's feed

Posted on: Jun 17, 2004, Source: AlterNet

In an updated version of an influential 1972 book on the dangers facing the planet, the authors confirm that the earth is taxed and overcommitted. But, as they say, knowing is half the battle.

Posted on: Apr 9, 2001, Source: AlterNet

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.

Posted on: Feb 5, 2001, Source: AlterNet

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.

Posted on: Jan 29, 2001, Source: AlterNet

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.

Posted on: Jan 22, 2001, Source: AlterNet

Energy markets nationwide are being deregulated. State lawmakers pledge they won't repeat California's mistakes. What will stop them?

Posted on: Jan 15, 2001, Source: AlterNet

I will never believe he won. I'll always think he got a minority of both the popular and the electoral vote. To me he'll always be President-Under-False-Pretense.

Posted on: Jan 1, 2001, Source: AlterNet

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.

Posted on: Dec 18, 2000, Source: AlterNet

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.

Posted on: Dec 11, 2000, Source: AlterNet

When historians of the future tell the story of the 2000 Presidential election, they will show both sides playing tricks to tilt the vote.

Posted on: Nov 26, 2000, Source: AlterNet

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.

Posted on: Nov 13, 2000, Source: AlterNet

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.

Posted on: Nov 5, 2000, Source: AlterNet

Farmers who increase the humus content of their soil may one day be able to charge us all for slowing global warming. Want to know how much greenhouse gas your organic garden absorbs?

Posted on: Oct 25, 2000, Source: AlterNet

Bush and Gore's fuzzy math has finally forced the press to cover some of the issues. But the substance-glass of Election 2000 is still only five percent full.

Posted on: Oct 23, 2000, Source: AlterNet

"The "debates" are over. But the candidates are still on the road, where they might be queried by an unscripted citizen. Here's what I keep hoping someone will ask."

Posted on: Oct 15, 2000, Source: AlterNet

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?

Posted on: Oct 5, 2000, Source: AlterNet

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.

Posted on: Oct 1, 2000, Source: AlterNet

"Consumers exerted amazing power over Nike, Starbucks, and Home Depot by refusing to buy things made in ways that violate our values. But we have a long way to go to reform factory farming."

Posted on: Sep 24, 2000, Source: AlterNet

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.

Posted on: Sep 13, 2000, Source: AlterNet

"Now that I've suffered under one firsthand, I can understand why people hate environmental laws. Something has gone wrong when the workings of a law start undermining its very purpose."

Posted on: Sep 10, 2000, Source: AlterNet

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.

Posted on: Sep 4, 2000, Source: AlterNet

Reality TV is a joke to Linda Harrar, an independent filmmaker who documents the plight of the poor in less developed countries. "On Indonesian islands near where 'Survivor' was filmed, people eat rats regularly -- because they have to," she said.

Posted on: Aug 20, 2000, Source: AlterNet

The results of the 1976 NIH experiment that gave the green light to gene-splicing were fudged. Next time you hear a scientist asserting that gene-splicing is safe, remind yourself that there is no scientific proof.

Posted on: Aug 7, 2000, Source: AlterNet

Under its large, steady trends, world agriculture is changing. Depending on what you look at, you can perceive pending good news or impending disaster.

Posted on: Jul 31, 2000, Source: AlterNet

The mad cow disease that is whipping the USDA into a sheep-slaughtering frenzy is poorly understood. Are sheep the scapegoat for politically connected cattle farmers who continue to feed their livestock dangerous animal products?

Posted on: Jul 24, 2000, Source: AlterNet

As of this week 52 anti-environmental riders, unrelated clauses added to funding bills to ease the clauses passage, are attached to various bills. Where is the media when you need them?

Posted on: Jul 17, 2000, Source: AlterNet

When French farmer Jose Bove tore down a MacDonalds, he was protesting more than a chain restaurant in his backyard. He was protesting the whole idea that has come to be called globalization.

Posted on: Jul 5, 2000, Source: AlterNet

Outburts of unbelievable vitriol have been flaming the airwaves and pages of media outlets in Vermont, where same-sex civil unions have been legal for a week now. How might the thinking person respond to such uncivil behavior?

Posted on: Jul 2, 2000, Source: AlterNet

We humans have more than doubled our numbers since 1950, but most industrialized nations have stopped growing or are slowly shrinking. Donella Meadows reports slight to moderate slowdown in population growth, fossil fuel consumption, water use, fertlizer application and nuclear waste buildup.

Posted on: Jun 26, 2000, Source: AlterNet

Why do environmental groups send out mass mailings for the preservation of forests -- mailings printed on postconsumer recycled paper, which is, nevertheless, made from ground-up trees, cut from a forest?

Posted on: Jun 19, 2000, Source: AlterNet

"Wow! Did I ever infuriate my liberal friends when I said I would vote for Ralph Nader!"

Posted on: Jun 12, 2000, Source: AlterNet

Three stories have hit the news concerning three corporations that have done -- or may have done -- serious environmental harm.

Posted on: May 31, 2000, Source: AlterNet

"Am I the only one who's both amused at and a little scared by the endless succession of 'how-to' books for executives? I mean, these people run organizations that are bigger and richer than most governments. Heck, they own, directly or indirectly, most governments."

Posted on: May 29, 2000, Source: AlterNet

Is a vote for Ralph Nader really a vote for George Bush? Maybe not, if people voted for what they want, instead of what they think can win.

Posted on: May 22, 2000, Source: AlterNet

I've had a Honda gas-electric hybrid car for less than a month, and it has taught me a whole new way of driving.

Posted on: May 14, 2000, Source: AlterNet

Adbusters founder Kalle Lasn discovered it doesn't take much artful ridicule to undo billions of dollars worth of careful product positioning. Which, of course, is exactly his intent.

Posted on: Apr 26, 2000, Source: AlterNet

In the midst of confusing rhetoric about unfair taxes, flat taxes, tax surpluses, tax cuts, I turn to CTJ for tax facts.

Posted on: Apr 25, 2000, Source: AlterNet

"What do the Internet, Alcoholics Anonymous and VISA International, the organization that brings us the VISA card, all have in common? They are all "chaordic" organizations -- self-organizing and self-governing, with no glittering center of power, no central headquarters and no one owns any of them."

Posted on: Apr 25, 2000, Source: AlterNet

Surprised citizens are flooding Congress with calls asking how this Kosovo mess came about and why we're involved in it. I feel a surge of annoyance at the American people for paying so little attention to the world, followed by a surge of annoyance at the American media for informing us so well about trivial things and so poorly about crucial things. Then comes a wave of understanding toward my fellow citizens. If I hadn't spent much of my foolish youth in Yugoslavia, I wouldn't know its history either. I wouldn't be overwhelmed with grief as such a beautiful place descends into barbarism.

Posted on: Apr 25, 2000, Source: AlterNet

Meadows writes: "Resilience is the ability of a system to absorb blows, repair itself, weather hard times, adapt, adjust, evolve.... Resilience has its costs, which sane people are willing to pay, because doing so is a matter of survival."

Posted on: Apr 25, 2000, Source: deleted

Meadows writes, "There were plenty of bad reasons why Congress turned down President Clinton's 'fast track' trade bill ... But there were good reasons, too, strengthened by the fact that NAFTA, the free trade agreement with Mexico, has failed to fulfill the grandiose promises made for it on either side of the border. Since NAFTA Americans are beginning to hear the pro-trade drumbeat -- globalization is inevitable, we'll be left in the competitive dust, trade grows the economy, trade creates jobs -- as so much bunkum."