Donella Meadows Archives

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A Synopsis: Limits to Growth: The 30-Year Update

Cover image By Donella Meadows, Jorgen Randers, and Dennis Meadows The following piece is a short synopsis of Limits to Growth: The 30-Year Update. The full length book is available at Chelsea Green’s website.     A Synopsis: Limits to Growth: The 30-Year Update The signs are everywhere around us: Sea level has risen 10–20 cm since 1900. Most non-polar glaciers are retreating, and the extent and thickness [...]

Dancing With Systems

By Donella Meadows The Dance 1. Get the beat. 2. Listen to the wisdom of the system. 3. Expose your mental models to the open air. 4. Stay humble. Stay a learner. 5. Honor and protect information. 6. Locate responsibility in the system. 7. Make feedback policies for feedback systems. 8. Pay attention to what is important, not just what is quantifiable. 9. Go for the good of the whole. 10. [...]

Is the Future Our Choice or Our Fate?

By Donella Meadows –April 19, 2001– “COMPUTER PREDICTS WORLD COLLAPSE” I was one of the team of people at MIT who wrote a book that created a worldwide burst of media foreboding. It began as a small report to the Club of Rome. Within a few months we were reading headlines like those above with complete astonishment. We didn’t think we had written a [...]

Le Monde n’est pas une Marchandise. Moi Non Plus. (The World is not For Sale. Me Neither.)

By Hal Hamilton and Donella Meadows –July 13, 2000– Jose Bove milks 250 sheep in the Larzac region of France, a rocky, windswept place where you would think no farmer could produce anything. But Bove turns sheep milk into one of the gastronomical treasures of the world, Roquefort cheese. Bove is a leader of the local Roquefort producers association and of the [...]

Leverage Points: Places to Intervene in a System

By Donella Meadows~ Folks who do systems analysis have a great belief in “leverage points.” These are places within a complex system (a corporation, an economy, a living body, a city, an ecosystem) where a small shift in one thing can produce big changes in everything. This idea is not unique to systems analysis — it’s embedded in legend. The silver bullet, [...]

About DMI

Since its founding in 1996 by environmental leader Donella Meadows, our Institute has been at the forefront of sustainability thinking and training. Our initiatives have addressed economic, environmental, and social challenges from a range of angles and at many levels. In everything we do, the disciplines of systems thinking and organizational learning inform and shape our work. It is this focus on whole-system analysis, combined with careful listening, truth telling, and visioning, that make the Donella Meadows Institute unique among sustainability organizations.  Read More

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