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Articles by 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.

All Articles

  • 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 store, and no neighbors have the right pair of outgrown sneakers to offer this season. There is no avoiding it. One morning, as early as I can manage, I load […]

  • 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 minute. I think I know what this is about. Up the hill on Tom and Lorie’s porch there are candles burning on tables covered with the scattered remains of dinner. […]

  • 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 Phil, a bottle of milk in his arms, my daughter on my back, I’m thinking how warm the spring day feels when he stops suddenly and speaks. Maple leaf sag. […]

  • 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, found a pencil and paper, and composed a letter. Now she distributes copies to friends and strangers alike. The letter begins:   From Jenna to the world:Please stop making all […]