Guide to the Papers of Donella H. Meadows, 1941 - 2007Manuscript MS-1152

Biography

Donella H. (Dana) Meadows was born on March 13, 1941 in Elgin, Illinois. She received a B. A. in chemistry from Carleton College in 1963 and a Ph.D. in biophysics from Harvard in 1968. From 1970-1972 she was a research assistant at the Center for Population Studies at Harvard University and in the Department of Nutrition at MIT. While at MIT she worked with an international team to produce a computer model for the "Club of Rome," which became the basis for the book "The Limits to Growth" for which she was the primary author. The book was a success and began a debate about the Earth's capacity to support human economic expansion with finite resources. From 1972 until 2001 she taught in the Environmental Studies program at Dartmouth College. In addition to her research and teaching, Meadows wrote a weekly column called "The Global Citizen," syndicated in a number of newspapers and a more personal newsletter entitled "Dear Folks" written from her farm in Plainfield, New Hampshire. In 1981 she and her husband Dennis founded the Balaton Group, formerly known as the International Network of Resource Information Center (INRIC). The group looked at the global process of information sharing and collaboration and included hundreds of leading academics, researchers and scientists. Meadows was also the founder of the Sustainability Institute which combined research on global systems with practical a demonstration of sustainable living including the development of cohousing community and organic farming. A prolific writer she published, traveled and lectured continuously on issues related to the environment. From 1988 to 1990 she worked with television producers at WGBH-TV in Boston to develop the ten-part PBS series "Race to Save the Planet," writing a college textbook titled "A Sustainable World: an Introduction to Environmental Systems," to accompany the programs as part of an Annenberg/CPB telecourse. In 1991 Meadows was honored as a Pew Scholar in Conservation and Environment and in 1994 she was awarded a MacArthur Fellowship. Donella Meadows died on February 20, 2001.

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