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Public Radio's Environmental News Magazine (follow us on Google News)

Meadows Obituary

Air Date: Week of

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CURWOOD: Dartmouth College professor Donella Meadows died of bacterial meningitis on February twentieth. She usually referred to herself as Dana Meadows, and you may have known her as a co-author of the bestseller Limits to Growth, published nearly 30 years ago. Writing with her former husband, Dennis Meadows, and Jorgen Rander, it synthesized computer data about the troubling trends of environmental change, population growth, and economics into an eloquent plea for sustainability. Her genius was based on her abilities to perceive systems, that you have to consider something in the context of the whole if you want to understand it. That included her own life. She chose to live simply on an organic farm for much of her years, handing back a tenured chair at Dartmouth in favor of a part-time position that would allow her to practice her teachings. And if you asked her what she did for a living, she was apt to say, simply, "a writer and a farmer." Beyond the classroom, you'd find her expounding her views in her newspaper column, "The Global Citizen." And she was a welcome guest here on Living on Earth. During our Earth Day special last year I asked her if technology or behavioral changes would best get us out of the crisis that links climate change and energy.

MEADOWS: I just bought a 70-mile-a-gallon car. That's a wonderful technology and it's just become available to me. But it's also important that I don't drive when I don't need to drive. That's the behavioral side. And the technology side allows me, when I do have to drive, to do it much more efficiently. I'm wildly in favor of both.

CURWOOD: Donella Meadows was 59. And the untimeliness of her death leaves one to wonder what other insights she might have had for us about the limits and promises of the human condition.

(Music up and under: Seamus Egan, "When Juniper Sleeps")

CURWOOD: Just ahead: You may think parakeets live wild just in the tropics. But then you may not have been to tropical southern Connecticut lately. Stay tuned to Living on Earth.

Now this animal update with Maggie Villiger.

(Music up and under)



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