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Donella H. Meadows (1941–2001)

Autor(a) de Thinking in Systems: A Primer

14+ Works 2,990 Membros 44 Críticas 1 Favorited

About the Author

Trained as a biophysicist, American scientist Donella H. Meadows earned a Ph.D. from Harvard University. Early in her career, Meadows was a member of a joint Harvard-MIT research group that developed a computer simulation model clarifying relationships between growth and finite resources on the mostrar mais earth. Using this model, the Club of Rome sponsored extensive research that resulted in the best-selling book, "The Limits to Growth" (1972), co-authored by Meadows and others. Attention was focused on a doomsday prognosis if growth continued unchecked. Meadows and her associates, however, presented options for achieving a sustainable society if there were a movement away from dependence on growth, equity in wealth, and if technologies were used to enhance efficiency of natural-resource use. "Toward Global Equilibrium" (1973) and "Dynamics of Growth in a Finite World" (1974) are companion technical volumes to "The Limits to Growth." They present reports on the simulation models, examinations of economic, political, and ethical implications of the findings, and a detailed description of the computer model, World3. In addition to her research sponsored by the Club of Rome, Meadows, as one of the editors of "Groping in the Dark" (1982), fully articulates that basic human needs can be met in the future if social and political structures, as well as values, do not hinder efforts for sustainability and equity. Meadows states that equity, rather than individual and national-wealth aggrandizement, is increasingly recognized as a major factor in planetary survival. Twenty years after "The Limits to Growth," Meadows and others in "Beyond the Limits" (1992) find that some options for a sustainable future have narrowed. However, they claim that new technologies can, if employed wisely, contribute to sustainability. The book emphasizes social-policy options rather than models. After working for two years on the Club of Rome research project, Meadows became a member of the faculty at Dartmouth College where she was systems analyst and adjunct professor in the Environmental Studies Program. Meadows has a lifestyle that reflects her views about sustaining finite resources and valuing equity rather than personal economic gain. She has lived in a commune, studied Zen Buddhism, and believed that people today are ultimately responsible for a future that holds "unspeakable horrors or undreamed-of wonders." She died in 2001 from a bacterial infection. Her titles include Limits to Growth-The 30 year Update, The Electronic Oracle: Computer Models and Social Decisions and Thinking in Systems - A Primer. 30 mostrar menos
Disambiguation Notice:

(eng) Donella H. Meadows and Dennis L. Meadows are different people. Both were members of the MIT team that produced The Limits to Growth in 1972.

Image credit: fathom.com

Obras por Donella H. Meadows

Associated Works

Earth '88: Changing Geographic Perspectives (1988) — Contribuidor — 13 exemplares


Conhecimento Comum

Outros nomes
Meadows, Dana
Data de nascimento
Data de falecimento
Local de nascimento
Elgin, Illinois, USA
Local de falecimento
Hanover, New Hampshire, USA
Locais de residência
Elgin, Illinois, USA (birth)
Carleton College
Harvard University (PhD)
environmental scientist
Club of Rome
Prémios e menções honrosas
MacArthur Fellowship (1994)
Pew Marine Fellow (1991)

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From the Donella Meadows Institute website: Dr. Donella H. Meadows, a Pew Scholar in Conservation and Environment and a MacArthur Fellow, was one of the most influential environmental thinkers of the 20th century. After receiving a Ph.D in biophysics from Harvard, she joined a team at MIT applying the relatively new tools of system dynamics to global problems. She became principal author of The Limits to Growth (1972), which sold more than 9 million copies in 26 languages. She went on to author or co-author eight other books.

For 16 years, Donella wrote a weekly syndicated column called “The Global Citizen,” commenting on world events from a systems point of view. It appeared in more than 20 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.

In 1996, Donella founded the Sustainability Institute with the mission of fostering transitions to sustainable systems at all levels of society, from local to global. The Institute adopted the name of its founder in 2011 and renewed its commitment to the organization’s original mission and to making Donella’s work easily and broadly accessible.
Nota de desambiguação
Donella H. Meadows and Dennis L. Meadows are different people. Both were members of the MIT team that produced The Limits to Growth in 1972.



Systems thinking is en vogue these days as we increasingly realize how complex the world really is. Too many manage enterprises based on small rules and adages, but neglect to see how the bigger picture works. Then they are surprised when their interventions end up with a different effect. That’s because the rest of the world works systemically through feedback loops. The small game is not the only relevant factor.

Before she died, Dartmouth professor Donella Meadows compiled this manuscript to encapsulate this perspective. This book, compiled posthumously by Diana Wright, offers the best, most concise introduction to this field of systems thinking. It enlightens by giving readers access to an Ivy League course through its contents.

Any worker, knowledge worker or otherwise, can deeply benefit from seeing the life systems around themselves. Meadows focuses on examples in economic and environmental systems, but this philosophy can also apply to engineering and information systems. The world gives us plenty of feedback, and the challenge becomes identifying the correct measurables and values. Systems thinkers have emphasized the different way systems universally operate and how we can make use of them for individual and common good.

This book takes an academic, even philosophical, approach to this topic. It does not deal with many industry specifics. That perspective may turn some folks off, but it teaches us how to think about the systemic structures around us. Meadows identifies abstract principles like feedback loops that normally return to baseline or approach a goal. She helps us care for everything that goes on around us, whether in the business, personal, or personal domains.
… (mais)
scottjpearson | 24 outras críticas | Apr 27, 2024 |
A compelling account with strong supporting evidence and excellent graphics.
sfj2 | 9 outras críticas | Mar 29, 2024 |
This is the most important book that I have ever read, but 30 years too late! They established in 1972 that we were heading to exceeding our planets capacity to meet our needs. In 2020 they redid their numbers and established that we had now exceeded that point. We are taking far more and dumping too much beyond what our planet can sustain without catastrophic collapses.
To take two simple but self-evident pointers.World population grows exponentially, each new generation is an increase on the previous and then that increase is further increased by the next generation. Our economic regulating system depends on increased consumerism, if we stop buying we are in recession, if the fail to buy more than last time, we are in recession. Add that to the increasing population, that has to be fed, more mouths to feed, more food to be produced and they need to buy to survive, so more goods needed to made and the outcome is simple. Seen from space our planet is very finite. We take, extract, from our planet to make stuff and we dump back on/in our planet all the waste stuff that is not needed or not wanted or when it is no longer useful.
This book explores all the myriad reasoning's that resources are being depleted, or increasing means to extend them, delays to record or implement recovery, feedback loops and accumulating evidence that our broadly stable and favourable environment is tipping into a chaotic system which is unlikely to be favourable to humans. Balanced by sketching out mechanisms and our skill sets we could use to defer, or slow this progress towards that tipping point.
If you do nothing else, make sure you do read Chapters 7 and 8
… (mais)
tonysomerset | 9 outras críticas | Mar 6, 2024 |
Indeholder "Dedication", "Authors' Preface", " Background", " 1972: The Limits to Growth", " The End of Growth", " 1992: Beyond the Limits", " 1970 - 2000: Growth in the Human Footprint", " What Will Happen?", " Was Limits to Growth Correct?", " Why Another Book?", " Scenarios and Forecasting", " Overshoot and Collapse in Practice", " Plans for the Future", "1. Overshoot", "2. The Driving Force: Exponential Growth", " The Mathematics of Exponential Growth", " Things That Grow Exponentially", " World Population Growth", " World Industrial Growth", " More People, More Poverty, More People", "3. The Limits: Sources and Sinks", " Renewable Sources", " Food, Land, Soil", " Water", " Forests", " Species and Ecosystem Services", " Nonrenewable Sources", " Fossil Fuels", " Sinks for Pollution and Waste", " Beyond the Limits", " Living on Capital, Not Income", "4. World3: The Dynamics of Growth in a Finite World", " The Purpose and Structure of World3", " The Purpose of World3", " The Structure of World3", " Limits and No Limits", " How to Read World3 Scenarios", " Limits and Delays", " Overshoot and Oscillation", " Overshoot and Collapse", " World3: Two Possible Scenarios", " Why Overshoot and Collapse?", "5. Back from Beyond the Limits: The Ozone Story", " The Growth", " The Limit", " The First Signals", " The Delays", " Overshoot: The Ozone Hole", " The Next Response: Delays in Practice", " Getting Along without CFCs", " The Moral of the Story", "6. Technology, Markets, and Overshoot", " Technology and Markets in the 'Real World'", " Stretching the Limits with Technology in World3", " Some Disclaimers", " Why Technology and Markets Alone Can't Avoid Overshoot", " An Example of Market Imperfection: Swings in the Oil Market", " Technology, Markets, and the Destruction of Fisheries", " A Summary", "7. Transitions to a Sustainable System", " Deliberate Constraints on Growth", " Constraints on Growth Plus Improved Technologies", " The Difference 20 Years Can Make", " How High Is Too High?", " The Sustainable Society", "8. Tools for the Transition to Sustainability", " The First Two Revolutions: Agriculture and Industry", " The Next Revolution: Sustainability", " Visioning", " Networking", " Truth-Telling", " Learning", " Loving", "Appendices", " 1. Changes from World3 to World3-03", "2. Indicators of Human Welfare and Ecological Footprint", " Background", " The Human Development Index of UNDP", " The Human Welfare Index in World3", " The Ecological Footprint of Mathis Wackernagel", " The Human Ecological Footprint in World3", "Endnotes", "List of Tables and Figures with Sources", "Index".

En meget sober opdatering til "Grænser for vækst". Konturerne af problemet står meget klarere og diverse mirakel-løsninger er ikke vejen frem. Hvor er ålene og insekterne blevet af?
… (mais)
bnielsen | 6 outras críticas | Dec 28, 2023 |



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