Donella Meadows Quotes


 
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Best 45 Quotes by Donella Meadows – Page 1 of 2

“A grand jury hears only one side – that of the prosecutor.”

“A system is an interconnected set of elements that is coherently organized in a way that achieves something.”

“a system must consist of three kinds of things: elements, interconnections, and a function or purpose.”

“A vision should be judged by the clarity of its values, not the clarity of its implementation path.”

“Addiction is finding a quick and dirty solution to the symptom of the problem, which prevents or distracts one from the harder and longer-term task of solving the real problem.”

“An important function of almost every system is to ensure its own perpetuation.”

“At town meetings, you can see the shy folks, the ones who have trouble sounding off in public, leaning against the back wall or bending over their knitting. On talk radio, those people are invisible, but they're there. It's a mistake to think that the blowhards who call in speak for the nation.”

“Biodiversity can't be maintained by protecting a few species in a zoo, or by preserving greenbelts or national parks. To function properly, nature needs more room than that. It can maintain itself, however, without human expense, without zookeepers, park rangers, foresters or gene banks. All it needs is to be left alone.”

“Both the United States and the world economy have already reached – and surpassed – their sustainable physical limits. Ground water is being drawn down, soils eroded, forests cut faster than they grow, fish caught faster than they reproduce, non-renewable fossil fuels burnt without developing substitutes.”

“Calculating how much carbon is absorbed by which forests and farms is a tricky task, especially when politicians do it.”

“Every policy is shaped by two forces: background analysis and foreground politics. The political forces are loud, self-serving and, in the case of energy policy, well known.”

“Everything we think we know about the world is a model. Our models do have a strong congruence with the world. Our models fall far short of representing the real world fully.”

“George W. cares as much about climate change as you would expect from a Texas oilman.”

“Glaciers are almost gone from Glacier National Park.”

“Growth is a stupid goal. So, by the way, is no-growth.”

“I'm a talk-show junkie. I'd rather listen to real folks stumbling to express their own thoughts than to polished puppets reading what others have written.”

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“Let's face it, the universe is messy. It is nonlinear, turbulent, and chaotic. It is dynamic. It spends its time in transient behavior on its way to somewhere else, not in mathematically neat equilibria. It self-organizes and evolves. It creates diversity, not uniformity. That's what makes the world interesting, that's what makes it beautiful, and that's what makes it work.”

“No one can define or measure justice, democracy, security, freedom, truth, or love. No one can define or measure any value. But if no one speaks up for them, if systems aren’t designed to produce them, if we don’t speak about them and point toward their presence or absence, they will cease to exist.”

“No one wants growth, constant expansion, physical swelling. Growth is not a human value; it's a means to the ends of sufficiency and security. Once we have enough, no one wants more, unless it is sold to us as a cheap substitute for something else, something non-material.”

“People don't need enormous cars; they need admiration and respect. They don't need a constant stream of new clothes; they need to feel that others consider them to be attractive, and they need excitement and variety and beauty. People don't need electronic entertainment; they need something interesting to occupy their minds and emotions. And so forth.

Trying to fill real but nonmaterial needs-for identity, community, self-esteem, challenge, love, joy-with material things is to set up an unquenchable appetite for false solutions to never-satisfied longings. A society that allows itself to admit and articulate its nonmaterial human needs, and to find nonmaterial ways to satisfy them, world require much lower material and energy throughputs and would provide much higher levels of human fulfillment.”

“Purposes are deduced from behavior, not from rhetoric or stated goals.”

“Recession-resistant development produces things people need. Unsustainable growth churns out tinsel products that consumers have to be seduced into buying – until times get tough, when they quickly give them up.”

“Remember, always, that everything you know, and everything everyone knows, is only a model. Get your model out there where it can be viewed. Invite others to challenge your assumptions and add their own.”

“Smart development builds on a region's own skills, resources and local businesses. Dumb growth invites a big corporation in, surrenders control and profits to a distant headquarters, undercuts local manufacturers, and risks layoffs without warning.”

“Smart development invests in insulation, efficient cars, and ever-renewed sources of energy. Dumb growth crashes around looking for more oil.”

“So, what is a system? A system is a set of things — people, cells, molecules, or whatever — interconnected in such a way that they produce their own pattern of behavior over time.”

“The difference between a sustainable society and a present-day economic recession is like the difference between stopping and automobile purposefully with the brakes versus stopping it by crashing into a brick wall. When the present economy overshoots, it turns around too quickly and unexpectedly for people and enterprises to retrain, relocate, and readjust. A deliberate transition to sustainability would take place slowly enough, and with enough forewarning, to that people and businesses could find their places in the new economy.”

“The grand jury's job is not to weigh the evidence from both sides; it is only to decide whether there is enough evidence on one side to bring a person to trial.”

“The kind of support the down-and-out need is the kind we have always refused them, the kind that would mean engaging with them not as objects of contempt, but as fellow human beings.”

“There are no separate systems. The world is a continuum. Where to draw a boundary around a system depends on the purpose of the discussion.”

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