The New Alchemy Institute was born during the 1969-70 academic year. It organized partially in a series of evening seminars held by John Todd and Bill McLarney for their biology students at San Diego State College. Because the seminars were concerned with environmental deterioration and damage to biological systems, they were well attended by students, staff and often other interested people...A question that arose repeatedly in those late hours, before people drifted off, was: Could anything be done?
I spent four years in total at the New Alchemy Institute. From 1980-1983 as the institute's education director and as its executive director in 1989-1990. It provided me with a new ways of addressing a huge question I was wrestling with: namely, is it possible to work simultaneously to achieve both economic equality and environmental quality?
I also wanted to find out if Nature's design strategy could be applied to help address the challenges confronting urban environments.