Donella "Dana" Meadows

Donella Meadows
Donella Meadows

Notable Facts

Author of "Limits to Growth" and co-author of "Beyond the Limit". Professor of environmental systems at Dartmouth College, Hanover, NH. Co-founder of The Balaton Group, a non profit dedicated to developing scientific exchanges on both sides of the Iron Curtain. 1991 Pew Scholar. 1994 MacArthur Fellow. Founder of the Sustainability Institute and Cobb Hill, a sustainable community in Hartland, VT.

Personal Information

Date of Birth


Date of Death


Primary Residence


Historical Significance

In 1972 Donella Meadows was on a Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) team that produced the global computer model "World 3" which provided the basis for the book she co-authored, "Limits to Growth". She co-authored "Beyond the Limit: Confronting Global Collapse, Envisioning a Sustainable Future" with Dennis Meadows and Jorgen Randers a 20 year follow up study to "Limits to Growth". She was a protege of Jay Forrester, inventor of systems dynamics and the principle of magnetic data storage for computers. Donella Meadows was a professor at Dartmouth College in environmental systems, ethics, and journalism for 29 years. She wrote a weekly newspaper column called "The Global Citizen", which was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize in 1991. In 1985, she was awarded second place in the Champion-Tuck National competition for outstanding journalism in the field of Business and Economics. In 1981, she founded, with her former husband, Dennis Meadows, the INRIC also known as the Balaton Group. The Balaton Group created and developed avenues of exchange between scientists on both sides of the Iron Curtain at the height of the Cold War. Donella Meadows served as its coordinator for 18 Years. She served on many national and international boards and scientific committees and was recognized for her work by being appointed as a 1991 Pew Scholar, in 1994 as a MacArthur Fellow, and in 1992 received an Honorary Doctorate from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology. In 1997, she founded the Sustainability Institute and the cohousing community, Cobb Hill, located in Hartland, VT, which combines research in global systems with practical methods of sustainable living.

-Amory Lovins eulogy for Donella Meadows,in 2001, included this quote-

"When asked if we had enough time to prevent catastrophe, she always said that we have exactly enough time - starting now."

Organizations or Movements

  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • International Network of Resource Informational Control (INRIC)aka The Balaton Group
  • Sustainability Institute
  • Cobb Hill Intentional Community.


  • Scientist
  • Environmental systems analyst
  • Teacher
  • Writer
  • Environmental activist
  • Farmer
  • Coordinator of non-profit, The Balaton Group.


  • PhD in Biophysics from Harvard University, 1968
  • Honorary Doctorate, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, 1992.