5. Dana Meadows

direct mini-link to this page >> http://bit.ly/DanaMeadowsEn


Full recording available to

students of the Academy

Why Dana Meadows as the mother of Integral Permaculture?

Dana Meadows was a pioneering environmental scientist, a great system thinker & educator, a leading voice in the environmental movement.  She is best known for being the lead author of Limits to Growth, a milestone which alerted the world to the unsustainable course the western model of development was taking, back 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 & inspired the birth of permaculture, amongst its many of other important influences.   A long-time organic farmer, professor & journalist, Meadows had a unique insight, passion & ability for translating the complexities of systems dynamics into practical action-points, some of this we will explore during this class.

We met Dana previously & briefly in Module 1, under Pioneers & Thinkers

The Mother of Integral Permaculture

Donella H. "Dana" Meadows (March 13, 1941 Elgin, Illinois, USA - February 20, 2001, Hanover, New Hampshire) was a pioneering American environmental scientist, teacher and writer. 

She is best known as lead author of the influential book The Limits to Growth, which made headlines around the world.

System Analyst

Systems Analyst, Journalist, Writer, Teacher, Farmer

Leading voice in the sustainability movement, Mac Arthur Fellow, Pew Scholar, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Honoree


Professor & Farmer

Dr. Donella H. Meadows (Ph.D. in biophysics, Harvard University), the founder of the Sustainability Institute, was a professor at Dartmouth College, a long-time organic farmer, a journalist, and a systems analyst. She was honored both as a Pew Scholar in Conservation and Environment and as a Mac Arthur Fellow.



For 16 years Donella wrote a weekly column called "The Global Citizen," commenting on world events from a systems point of view. It appeared in more than twenty newspapers, won second place in the 1985 Champion-Tuck national competition for outstanding journalism in the fields of business and economics, received the Walter C. Paine Science Education Award in 1990, and was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize in 1991.


Donella was the author or co-author of nine books, including:


The Limits to Growth (1972)

The Electronic Oracle: Computer Models and Social Decisions (1983)

The Global Citizen (1991)

Beyond the Limits (1992)

The Limits to Growth - the 30 Year Update (2004)


Limits to Growth

Donella Meadows is co-author of Limits to Growth, with Dennis Meadow (her husband), amongst others.
This is a clip from the documentary "Earth Days (2009)" in which Dennis Meadows explains exponential growth, overshoot and collapse of society- from the 1972 study/book "The Limits to Growth"

Vídeo de YouTube

Visioning Lecture

A classic video.. the only one in youTube of Dana Meadows (so far..) 

See the Visioning page for why this is so important in designing anything effectively,
and the Collective Visions page for the challenges ahead of us in terms of making truly permacultural mass-visioning even possible...

Recorded by Peter Gressinger in October of 1994 
at the International Society of Ecological Economics Conference in Costa Rica. 
~ Courtesy of Griesinger Films

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

From the Squidoo page

Scientist, Global Citizen and Earth Missionary

Welcome to my page honoring Donella "Dana" Meadows, founder of the Sustainability Institute(now the Donella Meadows Institute) and lead author of the books, 'Limits to Growth' and 'Beyond the Limits'.

With a passion for the earth and an amazing intellect, she was a pioneer in applying systems thinking to critical issues such as poverty, population growth and consumption, and ecological degradation.

Meadows also helped author the State of the Village Report, also called The Miniature Earth Project, where the world was pictured as a village of 1,000 people. See the video below.

Besides being a brilliant scientist, she was also a poetic writer. Read on to learn more about this amazing woman, whose life was cut short by cancer.

What is sustainability?

It is like a three-legged stool.
Environment, economy, and society
all need to be in balance.

The Miniature Earth Project

inspired by Donella Meadows

Donella Meadows was the original author of "The State of the Village Report", where the world was pictured as a village of 1,000 people. The following video by the Miniature Earth Project" was inspired by this report.
powered by Youtube

“opinionated columnist, 

perpetual fund-raiser, 

fanatic gardener, 


baker, farmer, 


A Beautiful, Poetic Writer

One of Meadows' articles is my favorite of all time. It begins ...

"The earth was formed whole and continuous, without lines." And ends with ...

"Even between you and me, even there, the lines are of our own making."

Download the entire article here.

"Your paradigm is so intrinsic
to your mental process that you
are hardly aware of its existence,
until you try to communicate with
someone with a different paradigm."
~ Donella Meadows

The Donella Meadows Institute

The The Donella Meadows Institute was founded in 1996 to apply systems thinking and organizational learning to economic, environmental and social challenges.

Their mission is to help shift mindsets and restructure systems that are out of step with the realities facing a limited planet. Services include workshops and courses, consulting, and Dana Meadows Fellows. Resources include the complete Donella Meadows archive, papers, columns, games, and models.

Beyond the Limits

Recommended Book by Donella Meadows

Beyond the Limits: Confronting Global Collapse, Envisioning a Sustainable Future

Beyond the Limits: Confronting Global Collapse, Envisioning a Sustainable Future

by: Donella H. Meadows, Jorgen Randers, Dennis L. Meadows

Amazon Price: $39.96 (as of 03/02/2012)Buy Now
List Price: $16.95

More Books

by or about Donella Meadows

Limits to Growth: The 30-Year Update

Limits to Growth: The 30-Year Update

by: Donella H. Meadows, Jorgen Randers, Dennis L. Meadows

Amazon Price: $14.21 (as of 03/02/2012) Buy Now
List Price: $22.50

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Thinking in Systems: A Primer

Thinking in Systems: A Primer

by: Donella H. Meadows

Amazon Price: $11.74 (as of 03/02/2012) Buy Now
List Price: $19.95

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Toward Global Equilibrium: Collected Papers

Toward Global Equilibrium: Collected Papers

by: Donella M. Meadows

Amazon Price: $48.84 (as of 03/02/2012) Buy Now
List Price: $45.00

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Global Citizen

Global Citizen

by: Donella Meadows, Donella H. Meadows

Amazon Price: $43.97 (as of 03/02/2012) Buy Now
List Price: $25.00

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Videos Inspired by Donella Meadows

How Much Food Can I Grow Around My House?
by peakmoment | video info

642 ratings | 171,715 views
  • Peak Moment 87: In summer 2006 Judy Alexander embarked on an experiment to see how much food she cou
  • At RMI's RMI25 Gala, three-time Pulitzer Prize winner Thomas Friedman gave a speech titled "The Gree
  • Climate of Hope: this is my Creative Expression at the 4th workshop of the Donella Meadows Leadershi
curated content from YouTube

The Earth Says:

Rejoice! You have been born into a world of self-maintaining abundance and incredible beauty.
Feel it, taste it, be amazed by it.

Who's Blogging?

... about Donella Meadows

Donella Meadows; Blogs, Pictures, and more on WordPress

A List of Blogs on Wordpress about Donella Meadows

Donella Meadows’ Leverage Points :: Dan Lockton

How do people use products, systems and environments? How can designers influence interaction? How can we design for sustainable behaviour?

Dennis Meadows & Updates to "Limits to Growth"

Economics & Limits to Growth (video title in YouTube): Dennis Meadows was Dana's husband & co-author of Limits to Growth, here he talks about the 30year-update,  

Part 2

Part 3

Learning to Live within Limits

Japan Prize2009 Commemorative Lecture by Dr. Dennis L. Meadows

Important Articles by Donella Meadows

This is a public collection of the work of Donella (Dana) Meadows. Through her writing and speaking, Dana helped people understand global systems with long delays and complex feedbacks, while also inspiring many to think about individual choices in daily living.


Here you will find 15 years worth of essays published as the award winning weekly Global Citizen column.

Check out all of her articles here.
Reclaiming the Commons
Summer 2001, YES Magazine
Dancing With Systems
Meadows applies what she has learned about systems to the human spirit.
Quotations by Donella Meadows
20 quotes from Donella Meadows
Just So Much and No More - Economics vs. the Earth
Just So Much and No More, by Donella Meadows. We don't get to choose which laws, those of the economy or those of the Earth, will ultimately prevail.

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