Donella Meadows (1941 to 2001) was an award-winning environmental scientist and writer. She is best known as lead author of the Limits to Growth, 1972, a study which predicted global collapse unless urgent action was taken to restrain growth. This work stimulated the formation of the Green Party (which was then called PEOPLE) in 1973.
Potted biographies of some key Green activists and thinkers who pre-date 1972
Peter Scott (1909-1989) was a sportsman, ornithologist, painter, TV presenter and conservationist. His greatest legacy is the Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust (WWT) which he founded in 1946.
Svante August Arrhenius (1859–1927) was a Swedish scientist who won the Nobel Prize for his work in physical chemistry. In 1896 he became the first person to show by calculation that burning fossil fuels would produce global warming.
Petra Kelley (1947-1992) was a lifelong campaigner of extraordinary energy and dedication. She was a cofounder of the German Green Party, then its chairman and then a German MP. She was murdered in 1992 in strange circumstances.
Chico Mendes (1944-1988) was a Brazilian rubber-tapper who became a campaigner for his people and for sustainable use of the rainforest. He built links between politics, trade unions and environmentalists and won international awards for his work. He was murdered by a local rancher who wanted to clear-cut an area of rainforest that was designated as a nature preserve.
Rachel Louise Carson (1907-1964) was a marine biologist and writer. She was most famous for her book Silent Spring which criticised excessive pesticide use and triggered advances in the environmental movement and in environmental regulation.
Ernst Friedrich "Fritz" Schumacher (1911–1977) was an influential economic thinker, statistician and economist. He was Chief Economic Advisor to the UK National Coal Board for two decades, wrote “Small is Beautiful!” and founded the development charity Practical Action.