Edie Farwell

Edie Farwell is the Program Director of the Donella Meadows Leadership Fellows Program of the Sustainability Institute.

The Donella Meadows Leadership Fellows Program was launched in 2002 to honor and build on the life example of Dr. Donella Meadows. Donella’s life and work expressed a dedication to scientific rigor, a deeply grounded optimism, and the ability to communicate clearly and compassionately. Her systems approach enabled her to see the root causes of seemingly intractable problems - poverty, war, environmental degradation - and her deep affection for people and the Earth gave her a unique power to reach others. Our communities, our state, our country and our world need more people with this combination of skills. Supporting such people and enhancing their effectiveness, reach, and mutual connectivity is the mission of the Fellows Program.

The Fellowship aims to accelerate the shift to global sustainability by increasing the impact of well-positioned sustainability leaders. Fellows learn to address social, economic and environmental issues at their root causes while benefiting from a national and international network of sustainability champions from business, government, non-governmental organizations, tribes, military and philanthropy. Fellows are selected for their ability to grapple effectively with multi-stakeholders and diverse issues, and for an approach to sustainability that displays analytic clarity, systemic change and attention to spirit, values, and meaning. Systems thinking, reflective conversation and the discipline of vision are the suite of tools Edie and her team use to leverage Fellows’ individual and collective ability to design and implement the systems needed to bring forth a life-sustaining society.

As the number of alumni of the Fellows Program grow, Edie is launching a social networking project to significantly increase the impact the Fellows make to global sustainability by joint projects across sectors, their expanded interactions with each other, each other’s networks and with Sustainability Institute partners, colleagues and networks.

The Sustainability Institute (SI), founded in 1996 by the late Donella (Dana) Meadows, is committed to helping society move toward sustainability through its systems analysis, multi-stakeholder convenings, writing, teaching and mentoring. Applying the principles of organizational learning and system dynamics, SI works with individuals as well as public and private entities to identify key leverage points, shift mindsets, restructure systems, and help build the capacity necessary to manage, learn from, and adapt to complex environmental, social, and economic systems. Addressing climate change from a systems perspective to shift the climate conversation in the US, and internationally, from “wait-and-see” to “why we must act now to have an impact in the future,” is a central part of all of SI’s work.

Edie has a M.A. in Cultural and Social Anthropology from the California Institute of Integral Studies; and a B.A. in anthropology and environmental studies from Dartmouth College. She lives with her two sons and husband at Cobb Hill Cohousing - an ecovillage that is an experiment in sustainable living - in Hartland, Vermont.

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