July 27, 2017

Memories of Teddy

This page has been created to record personal memories of  Teddy (listed in order of surname).

To contribute, please contact the editors.

Further tributes and obituaries, taking the form of full length articles, can be found under obits (received) and tributes (received). For obituaries hosted on other websites see Obituaries for Edward Goldsmith.


“He was a true visionary whose stance on many issues is as valid today as ever it was, and more urgent now. In time, I am sure he will be proved right on most of what he said about global politics, commerce and ecology. The Green Movement, and anyone else who attempts to understand our true predicament and what we might do about it, owes him an immense debt. We have lost (to age) Leopold Kohr, Fritz Schumacher, and now Teddy Goldsmith. In the absence of an obvious successor to the genius of these men, we must read their books again: The Breakdown of Nations, Small is Beautiful, and The Way. ”

Tom Barker, Liverpool University.

I will miss Teddy – his spirit and infectious conversations. He was a fine man, a historic figure, and an important and original thinker.

Randy Hayes, founder of Rainforest Action Network US.

“With the sad death of Teddy Goldsmith, the Green Movement has lost one of its most influential thinkers and writers. On so many issues which are now mainstream – the threat posed by unfettered economic liberalisation, for example, or the dangers posed to our forests – Teddy was years, even decades, ahead of most people. Although at times his views diverged from those of the party he played such a key role in helping to found, he was a real pioneer of the Green movement and will be sorely missed.”

Caroline Lucas MEP, Leader of the Green Party of England and Wales.

“I rue his passing. His edited book Can Britain survive? published – yes incredibly in 1971 – had an enormous impact on me and in its Limits to Growth style analysis was truly prescient.

Mark Levene, coordinator. Crisis Forum.

My last and enduring memory of him was in 1995-6 when Edinburgh University announced, without giving any reason, that it was to close down our controversial Centre for Human Ecology which had been directed by Teddy’s good friend and my former boss, Ulrich Loening. When Teddy heard the news he jumped on a plane and appeared on the spot to see what might be done to salvage what was possible of our work work that a New Scientist editorial defended as being “a tradition of fearless enquiry”. It was tremendous moral support at a very difficult time for us. That generosity of spirit is how many of us in Scotland will remember Teddy Goldsmith, and thank you, George, for having commented with such acuity on the need for a more generous response from the green movement to the passing of this man who was flawed like we all are, but monumental as befits few.

Alastair McIntosh, writer and philosopher.

Teddy Goldsmith was one of the greatest ecologists of our time, and one who predicted correctly in the early 70’s that the limits to development would not be energy, but the ability of the atmosphere to absorb more CO2 without causing severe climate change. We will miss him.

Mike Roselle, co-founder of Earth First! US.

“It is an understatement to say that Teddy was influential. He was a force of nature and of vision. He will be remembered as the single most influential person in the evolution of ecological political thought. And if that wasn’t enough he was also great fun – always provocative but with a sense of mischief; and compassionate, witty, exuberant, humble and generous. When the roll of honour of those early Green pioneers is called out Teddy’s name will be amongst the most prominent. He was a truly inspirational figure and his thinking on eco-systems and sustainability underpins the rationale behind our politics. He will be missed.”

David Taylor, former Principal Speaker of the Green Party of England and Wales.

“Teddy had a key role in the Green movement in Britain and indeed worldwide. Were it not for Teddy it is impossible to imagine what the movement would even look like, but we can be sure that it would be very different and all the weaker, without his tenacity, moral courage and certainty, intellectual vigour and integrity, meticulous scholarship, utter commitment and the clarity of his ecologlical world view which remained remarkably consistent over many decades of writing and campaigning. Much of this remains with us, through Teddy’s books, articles, broadcasts, which we can still read and enjoy today. What all who knew Teddy will miss, which will leave a big gap in our lives, is his rich sense of humour, his capacity to entertain, his kindness which manifested itself to so many people in so many ways, his inclusive spirit, his utter lack of pretension, and his unforgettable personal warmth.”

Oliver Tickell, author, Kyoto2.

“I have had some big disagreements with Teddy – but he was a key thinker, did immense good, never sold out and never indulged in shallow thinking. I have written about his death, and we should be generous enough to mark his death. Blueprint for Survival, the Green Party, The Ecologist, Survival International were all unthinkable without him. He was also a very generous and good human being.”

Derek Wall – key figure in the Green Party of England and Wales.

In 1982 Teddy showed up in San Francisco to give a talk on the social and environmental destruction of big dams. We had just concluded an 8 year, grueling, and unsuccessful battle to try to stop the US Army Corps of Engineers build the New Melones Dam in the Sierra Nevada. His combative enthusiasm re-energized me. Later his encouragement and support helped us found the International Rivers Network which took up the dam fighting cause on which he had led the way.

Philip B. Williams, Ph.D., P.E., Eur. Ing., President, Philip Williams & Associates, Ltd., Environmental Hydrology, San Francisco.

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