Science in Society Archive

Edward Goldsmith Pioneer of the Green Movement Dies Aged 80

Edward Goldsmith, founder and editor of The Ecologist (since 1970), lead author of A Blueprint for Survival (1972), founder of the Green Party, died peacefully in his sleep on 21 August 2009 at age 80.

Teddy’s monumental life time achievements will need to be assessed by a dedicated biography. He was a prolific and influential writer as well as active campaigner. Among his numerous books and essays, the three-volume magnum opus, The Social and Environmental Effects of Large Dams, co-authored with Nick Hilyard and published between 1984 and 1992 was crucial in turning around the policy of the World Bank’s support for large dam projects. Throughout his life, Teddy campaigned tirelessly for the protection of indigenous peoples and traditional cultures.

Most of all, Teddy was kind and attentive to everyone to a fault, and always had time for people. He remained a sharp and independent thinker almost to the last. What he enjoyed most was a congenial argument on a finer intellectual point in philosophy, politics, anthropology, religion, art, or any other discipline you care or dare to engage, as Teddy had extraordinary breadth as well as depth in the knowledge he was passionate about.

I first metTeddy when he invited me to a conference he organised in Cornwall more than 20 years ago on evolution and the Gaia hypothesis. Needless to say, it changed my life forever. Since then, he has been a great friend and mentor. We love him dearly, all of us at ISIS, for his big heart and soul, for his fount of knowledge and consummate story-telling.We owe him a life-long debt for showing us The Way (his last major work first published in 1996), and because he had so unstintingly championed and supported us over the years.

Teddy leaves a huge legacy of love, of friends and followers who are committed to carry on the tasks he has set us.

To celebrate Teddy’s life, we republish one of his most important essays, Towards a Biospheric Ethic, which first appeared in SiS 18 in 2003. Here it is, slightly re-edited, as fresh and relevant today as it was then.

Article first published 31/08/09



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There are 2 comments on this article so far. Add your comment above.

joe cummins Comment left 1st September 2009 18:06:31
I wish to comment on the passing of Edward Goldsmith and his contribution in establishment of The Ecologist in 1970. I have loved that journal since its inception and found that it was phenomenal in presenting ideas that were many years ahead and later evolved into the dominant issues of our time. Any issue that dominates modern concern, from persistent organic pollutants to acid rain and global warming appear to have had their initial appearance in the Ecologist. Goldsmith served as godfather to the future. Even though the first issue of the Ecologist included an article by a giant of academic ecology ,E.P. Odum, Academic ecology preferred to remain aloof to the major global issues that are impinging on the biosphere. Academic ecology would have been healthier had it taken the Ecologist and Goldsmith to heart in a timely way.

protein powder Comment left 24th September 2009 11:11:55
Goldsmith served as godfather to the future. I have loved that journal since its inception and found that it was phenomenal in presenting ideas that were many years ahead and later evolved into the dominant issues of our time. Any issue that dominates modern concern, from persistent organic pollutants to acid rain and global warming appear to have had their initial appearance in the Ecologist.

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