Elizabeth Sawin

Elizabeth Sawin is a mother, biologist, and systems analyst. A member of Cobb Hill Cohousing, she lives on an organic farm in Hartland, Vt. She works at the Sustainability Institute, a think-do tank founded by Donella Meadows.

Community and sustainability go hand in hand

Some years ago, I was part of a group that set out to create a community where we could work toward living with less impact …

What we don’t know about the toxic chemicals in our bodies

Scientists call the accumulation of chemical contaminants (such as PCBs, mercury, and pesticides) within a person’s body the “body burden.” Body burden is just a …

On staying sane in a mad world

A Czech friend of mine sent me an email during the recent NATO summit in Prague as American fighter jets stood by and riot police …

It’s time to end the race to the bottom

Here’s a simple game that makes a not-so-simple point. Stand in a line, with several friends. Each of you hold your right index finger out …

Altering the market to promote sustainable farming

The Aug. 16 issue of Science magazine features an ominous headline: “Dead Zone Grows.” To the right of the headline is a map of the …

A back-to-school lesson in consumption

Kindergarten is starting next week, and the worn-out old sneakers from last spring are pinching my daughter’s toes. No shoes fit at our favorite used-clothing …

Building a green community in the Green Mountain State

At 9:30 at night the phone rings. It is my neighbor Lorie, who asks me if I’d mind stepping out onto my porch for a …

A primer to help fight despair

Just now despair lives close to the surface in many people I know, and leaks out at surprising times. Taking a walk with my neighbor …

Thinking beyond the bottom link

My four-year-old daughter spent the afternoon at a local science museum the other day, exploring an exhibit on biodiversity. She returned home full of determination, …