Remembering Joan S. Davis


Dr. Joan S. Davis

17.2.1937 – 11.1.2016

Unexpectedly, and in the midst of her indefatigable work, Joan S. Davis left us. She dedicated her life to the pursuit of a more sustainable and mindful relationship with our planet. Her significant contributions to science, education and policy making inspired many people through her unique way of interconnecting subjects. Joan’s loving and vibrant nature made her many close and valued friends who already miss her dearly.

A memorial service will be held on Wednesday, February 17th, 2016 at 2:00 p.m. at the Wasserkirche in Zurich, Switzerland. After the service all are invited for an informal get-together in the nearby restaurant “Weisser Wind”.

Thoughts you want to share among friends of Joan Davis – please leave a comment below. This site is managed by a group of friends of Joan, you can contact them through

100 thoughts on “Remembering Joan S. Davis

  1. On this day, 22.8.2020 we dearly think of you, beloved Joan. Knowing that this date had a special meaning for you and was behold in your heart. This we learned, when we invited you once again to join us at our Fondation Lascaux event, by contributing your profound wisdom to the symposium ‘Timeless beauty in art and everyday life’. The fact that we planned this for the days of 22. and 23. August 2009 was one of the many wonders and synchronicities that guided our encounters and weaved the precious tapestry of our friendship.
    So today we behold the memory of that very special day – honouring you from the depth of our hearts.
    Barbara Diethelm and Werner Schmidt, Fondation Lascaux, Brüttisellen, Switzerland

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Jutta van Mal says:

    i got to know her and met her twice, during my research in sustainable medicine & roots of healthy conscious life. One was arranged by a Dear friend that I & her should meet in her spare time when he will catch her from an international flight at Zürich Airport. Together with Nura Loeks, Mother of Zach Loeks & Ibrahim Loeks( both also involved in rising consciousness or humanity & environment) I was pleased to meet her then for a long conversation at the Airport. And Nura Katheleen Loeks also founder of linking hands for humanity & global charity work The to ladies nearly a generation elder to me, found out that they had met in the early sixtieth alredy involved into future awareness movement into the then issues of the times in America. I was blessed and pleased to share my research in international welfare & global refined medicine of all our future to come. I had a second opportunity when I had a day visit appointment with European largest mother tincture Director Mr. Mathias Zülich of HERBA MED COMPANY, serving most of European Herbal Remedies companies as well as Homeopathic remedy companies with those preconscious world wide but espescially Swiss Alp Herbal resources, to bring tnder healing agent for humanity on the market. I also was pleased to meet his incredible architect who had designed & built wonderful Company building like a hotel of highest standard for the spirit of the planes there in Switzerland. And on that day just by chance on my way to meet this Herbal Druid, in the train fro Zürch I met a woman sitting next to me in the train with her Master student…. and while I was watching her in her feminine way in clear conversation I realized that it was Joan S. David. And we had a long talk on spiritual support for Tibetan refugees and health care and Maha Kriyayoga for refining and rising awareness world wide! This was about 2005/2006. I only came to know that her soul passed over now. My her seeds she planted into the heart & consciousness flourish and bring rich foundation humus ground for humanity in all our effort to rise & act in global and regional as well as personal C A R E in sustainability! Thank you Joan for being there!


  3. Katrina, I have known Joan since childhood. Her father, Art Spinanger , was a Chemical Engineer at P and G and my Dad, Timothy John Mulcahy, an Industrial Engineer , were best friends. They both shared the same wedding anniversary which was November 2, 1934 qnd their first child, a daughter , they named JOAN. i am a day older than Joan born February 16-Joan February 17 ,1937. We played together on the Staten Island beach and our mothers, Harriet and Pat had fierce competition going between the two of us. Then when my family moved back to Ohio where the head office for P and G is located , we continued our friendship-both of us were successful in our chosen fields .Joan had fallen in love with a Brain surgeon, who died before the wedding,. Then she married Mr .Davis related to the Kroger family and that marriage ended in divorce. When my precious father, who was to be CEO of P and G in Europe, was dying at age 41,it was Art, who flew inform Cincinnati to Sacramento, to be with mother and me. I shall always hold a special place in my heartfor the Spinangers. Is there anyway to communicate with her brother and sister?Mrs. Joan C. Mulcahy Thompson,MA


  4. First off I want to say awesome blog! I had a quick question that
    I’d like to ask if you don’t mind. I was curious to know how you center yourself and clear your head prior to writing.
    I have had difficulty clearing my thoughts in getting my ideas out.
    I do enjoy writing however it just seems like the first 10 to
    15 minutes are usually wasted just trying to figure out how to begin. Any ideas
    or hints? Cheers!


  5. Our fathers were best friends at P and G and met at the Staten Island plant. Art Spinanger was the Chemical Engineer and Dad, Industrial Engineer. Both men married their wives, Harriet and Pat on November 2, 1934 and their first children they named Joan. I am one day older than Joan, whom I played with on the beach on Staten Island, where our mothers would put us in competition of one another. Joan was always ahead of me, but I finally caught up-our mothers in other words were a hoot. Then our dads were transferred to the main P and G plant in Cincinnati and our friendship was renewed. When my Dad, who was to be CEO of P and G in Europe was dying in Sacramento, Art came to be with my mother and the family. He was so kind and helpful; as this tragic time. Dad was only 41. Joan ,I shall always remember her Norwegian beauty and sharp mind ,like her Dad’s. Please give my thoughts to her brother and sister.


  6. Frank Eyhorn says:

    Today it’s 2 years since Joan left us – physically, but she is still very present in many ways, for many of us. I still have one of the candles she had gifted me, and I light it in her memory.


  7. Samir de Chadarevian says:

    Difficult to find the words for how much Joan and our conversations meant and still mean to me.

    We met in Zurich a few years ago through a common friend, Belinda, and since then met quite often. Unfortunately I left Zurich about a two years ago.

    It is a great pleasure to read and share with all here friends.

    Thank you.


  8. Joan and I are the same age, but I am one day older My birthday is February 16,1937 and hers was the next day. Our mother’s used to see which daughter could do something better than the other one as we al played on the Staten Island beach. Her Dad ,Art Spinanger, was a brilliant chemist at Procter and Gamble When we all moved to Ohio, there were many family gatherings (Harriet made the best Swedish meatballs} again. Art would sit at the table and in between meals would be very quiet as he was thinking. This, as a child, fascinated me. He and my Dad, a brilliant Industrial Engineer, at P and G ,were best friends. When they went to meetings, the crowd would head for the bar while Art and Dad went for chocolate sodas at the soda fountain. Joan was a very reserved as a child while I was the chatterbox-probably why I went into speech pathology and the theatre. Joan and her family were always special to us. Dad was to be CEO of P AND G IN Europe when ,he became very ill. Art flew out to California to help us. I remember crossing the street on the way to Mercy Hospital with mother and Art,, he turned to me and said your Dad doesn’t look the way you used to remember him .Dad was a well-known athlete and he had lost so much weight. I missed Joan when she went to work Switzerland as we had started school together and our friendship went way back. I always knew she was one of my smartest friends. I worked for the service and one of my assignments was with the Army at Nuremberg. Our schedules never jived. I hope she did not suffer. Was it a heart attack? Her mother, Harriet ,the golfer,, died from Cancer and Art died after her. Are her brother and sister still alive? You mentioned a husband. She was first engaged to a brain surgeon and he died on their wedding day. Later she married a KROGER heir ,but they divorced .Joan certainly made wonderful and certainly interesting contributions to the world of science, but to me she will always be my smart childhood friend with beautiful golden hair.


  9. Ein weiterer grosser Mensch ist dieses Jahr in eine neue Dimension übergetreten. Zweimal war ich mit Joan an der Jahrestagung der Implosion e.V. Beide Male nutzten wir die lange Fahrt hin und zurück für einen tiefen Austausch rund um unsere Themen Natur, Wald und Wasser. Der Austausch mit Ihr als Wissenschaftlerin und Mensch war eine grosse Bereicherung für mich. Ihre Vorträge, auch auf unserer Spring Produktvorstellung in Schloss Greifensee 2011, bleiben mir als ein Mix aus wissenschaftlichen Fakten, philosophischen Gedanken, vorgetragen mit viel Empathie, in Erinnerung – R.I.P. liebe Joan, Du warst und bleibst eine grosse Inspiration für mich.



    I need to inform Joan’s and my other childhood friend ,Barbara  Conway Bailey ,whose  father was head of the New York Port Authority and lived down the street from us on STATEN iSLAND. Barbara was born February 16,1937 which is my birthday, too, and Joan’S WAS THE 17th At age three we all played in a rhythm band. Joan Spinanger is Norwegian as there were many Scandanavian families on the island during the 30’s and 40’s How can the obituary be communicated to Mrs. Barbara Conway Bailey of Houston, Texas?Thank you. Mrs. Joan C Mulcahy Thompson.Ma


  11. Mrs Joan C. Mulcahy Thompson says:

    Our parents married the same month and year November 2 1937 and named their first child Joan Joan Spinanger was born one day after me Febuary 17,1937 Our DADS were best friends at P and G Art was a brilliant chemical engineer and mine a smart Industrial Engineer Joans mother ,Harriet, and mine used to put us kids in competition with one another as we played on the beach on Staten Island and later Ohio Art came to California to cinsole us as Dad was dying Joan was brilliant and beautiful


  12. Vom Wasserforschungspionier Viktor Schauberger ist ein Motto geprägt worden, das so genannte “k.u.k.-Prinzip”: Man müsse die Natur verstehen lernen (kapieren) und dann ihre Methoden entsprechend umzusetzen versuchen (kopieren).
    Joan, die bei uns in Bad Ischl als mehrmalige Vortragende bei PKS-Seminaren wertvolle, einfühlsam-einprägende Ein-Sichten in die faszinierende Welt des Wasser vermittelt hat, ergänzte den Leitsatz meines Großvaters um ein weiteres “k”: neben dem Kapieren und dem Kopieren wäre mindestens genau so wichtig das Kooperieren.

    Das charakterisiert das Wesen und die Einstellung von Joan in hervorragender Weise. Nicht nur mit der Natur, und hier speziell mit dem Wasser, müssen wir eine Kooperation eingehen. Vielmehr sollte dieses Motiv auch den Umgang von uns Menschen unter- und miteinander bestimmen.

    In diesem Sinne bin ich Dir, Joan, gemeinsam mit meiner Familie und den Freunden der “Schaubergerei”, unendlich dankbar für gedankliche Anstöße und Dein praktisches Handeln, die uns beein-flusst haben und auch weiterhin leiten werden.
    Besonders das dritte “k” werden wir Deiner eingedenk immer hochzuhalten versuchen!


  13. Juerg Zobrist says:

    The message that you have passed away shocked me; we spoken together two days before.
    At Eawag, we share more than forty years of collaboration in river monitoring and discussions of its data evaluation. I will miss your critical comments combined with humour and a smile.
    Also, I have been fascinated by your ideas and engagement for organic farming before this topic emerged widely.


  14. Janet Hering says:

    I first met Joan when I was a postdoc at Eawag (1988-1991). When I returned to Eawag in 2007, I was delighted to meet Joan again at some events to which retired staff were invited. I was inspired by Joan’s continuing enthusiasm for her scientific work and by her conviction that the implementation of scientific research could benefit both people and the environment. I was particularly impressed by Joan’s work on the water retention capacity of soils cultivated using organic agricultural methods.

    I saw Joan very shortly before her death at a memorial service for Annette Johnson, who was also a long-time Eawag researcher. Joan and Annette had been very close and I think that Joan was very much affected by the loss of Annette. There were many present and former Eawag staff at Annette’s memorial and I am glad that many of us had a chance to talk with Joan then.


  15. Liz Sutter says:

    Joan sagte, wenn man Pulswärmer anzieht, kann man die Raumtemperatur um 1 bis 2 ° senken. Seither trage ich im Winterhalbjahr Pulswärmer. Immer wenn ich sie anziehe, denke ich an Joan. Und im Sommerhalbjahr? Dann werde ich an sie denken, wenn ich in den See eintauche.


  16. Sandra Ines Valentini says:

    Für Joan:
    Sternhimmel steigen auf
    weit ist der Flug
    der unendlichen Seelen
    Sehnsucht kommt
    ruft und klingt
    die Seele
    freudig singt
    und sich
    in die Lüfte schwingt.
    Sandra Ines Valentini, Winterthur


  17. Gudrun Dalla Via says:

    Dear Friends of Joan Davis, I was deeply moved by the loving words so many of you had for our dear Joan. I feel certain that Joan would be/is pleased with my sharing with you a project we had been working on together, in these past months, regarding a topic which is very dear to us, and to you too, I am sure:
    ORGANIC AGRICULTURE AND ITS IMPORTANCE FOR THE ENVIRONMENT. in this case a Platform on a website – I will just enclose a few lines to explain:

    “A.S.A. Associazione Stampa Agroalimentare Italiana was founded over twenty years ago and counts as members over 200 journalists and communicators in the agriculture and food field. Its website (click or is visited by many media, agriculture and food experts and by the general public and has a very high rating, comparable to that of the Italian Ministry of Agriculture. The A.S.A. Directory and members hope to call the growing attention of the general public towards a topic which is so wide and important; we hope we can call on the help of everyone who is willing to contribute with research, documents, comments, pictures and the like.”

    Why am I telling you? Because Joan Davis would have been the main speaker/lecturer.
    Gudrun Dalla Via


  18. Stern Elisabeth says:

    Dearest Joan, I imagine you up on a cloud laughing gently at some moments in your life, like our “Wiiberrat” decades ago. We were all engaged in many causes, unverbesserliche Weltverbessererinnen, providing each other emotional support in our everyday challenges as professional women, mothers, wives, lovers. Du hattest da schon diese weise, abgeklärte Ausstrahlung, warst eine wunderschöne Frau, die uns ghörig in den Bann zog. No exxageration! Du warst so convincing, dass wir uns sehr schnell deinem Englisch-Deutsch-Schweizerdeutsch-Mix anpassten. What a creative, powerful and committed woman we have lost!


  19. Dearest Joan,

    I will certainly miss you and our talks about the chances for a future and beyond, but first, I want to thank you for being an inspiring and motivating part of my life.

    In December 2005 I came to a meeting with you to the Kloten Airport, we never met before, you gave me your hand and we talked about Water Structure Research in the GDR and the world around us stood still.

    After a long time we realized, that we had continued to hold hands the whole time.

    You will always hold my hand in my memory.

    You always used to ask me during our discussion, if I am smiling at you or laughing at you (anlacheln oder auslachen).

    I loved our „exchanges“ about the interfaces of life, your sense for the essentials of Terra preta, artifical photosynthesis, cell regeneration, earthquake forecasting, the 4th state of water, empowerment of the youth, mythology of Water, aura mystic experiences, endosymbiosis and the meaning of life.

    Peace be upon you, my mentor and soulmate
    Thorsten Perl (Wübber)


  20. Sämi Mauch says:

    Dear Joaney, the message that you did leave us so unexpectedly and quietly was hard to take, in the middle timeless time. It stirred up a great number of remembrances of over more than 40 years during, which we regularly had contacts, professionally in and around our first common interdisciplinary research project NAWU, and privately in altering groups of friends and family members. What a lucky coincidence it was that we first met around 1972, after my return from MIT and the acquaintance there with the Limits-to-Growth group of Donella and Dennis Meadows. We started our joint work in the framework of the NAWU (new Analyses of Growth and Environment)- project , together with a highly motivated interdisciplinary and interuniversity group. Already in that group, you always contributed in your extraordinary, gentle and comprehensive way to the work of the group, be it in intensive two day retreats somewhere in the Alps, or in small group discussions in University seminar rooms. I then had the privilege in 1975 to coauthor with you a scientific NAWU- paper “The Basis for a blueprint for progress in Switzerland” for the international Michtell price competition. To our surprise we won the third price. That was a common NAWU-highlight for both of us.

    During the last five years we both enjoyed our custom of regular coffee-dates in various places in Zürich, where we continued discussions about many of the topics and problems we both were engaged in over many decades. Political problems at local, national – and global scale, environmental and resource issues, economics. I was privileged to hear you talk about your many exciting activities in the Balaton Group, about your work at EAWAG, your unique ability to perceive and understand “water”- problems in a holistic way, related to issues of health and nutrition. At times this left many of your professional colleagues behind in lack of understanding and despair. Your intensive engagement during the last years in organic farming was of the same quality of farsightedness.
    I will keep your dear remembrance, Joaney in a way in which we used to sign our mails over the many years “With TCL”.


  21. Joan, a very special woman, from the very beginning on. I was fortunate to meet Joan Davis in the 1970s when she was working together with my father on the interdisciplinary research project New Analyses on Growth and Environment – Strategies Against Unemployment and Environmental Crisis (Neue Analysen für Wachstum und Umwelt – Strategien gegen Arbeitslosigkeit und Umweltkrise). The results were published as The NAWU report: Pathways out of the Affluent Society Trap (Der NAWU-Report: Wege aus der Wohlstandsfalle). How very topical the issue still is today! I had the opportunity to get into closer contact with Joan at the agricultural farm Schloss Teufen where she lived at that time. Little did I know that this would result in career and life guiding moments for me. There, I learned about a course of study on agriculture at the ETH Zurich that would later become my degree program, an interdisciplinary program.
    Ever since I had known Joan, she was a point of reference to me. We have met time and time again, on scientific events, private occasions and social events. Her charming language mix between German and English was very unique. I was captivated by her independent, critical and at the same time loving access to the world, her striking and unmasking analyses of the functioning of our society and the economy and her farsighted scientific and profound approach to the water-issue. I was fascinated by all these aspects of her personality and her professional convictions. Once, while I was working with the Human Ecology Group at ETH, I met Joan for dinner and asked her: «You and other critical spirits of your generation are responsible for groundbreaking insights such as the limits to growth, the limits of resources and of the absorbing capacity of our planet. What is there left to contribute for my generation?» She paused for a short moment and then with an almost mischievous smile replied: «Implement it». I was struck for I knew she was so very right. We are failing in implementing our insights. Having had the opportunity to meet Joan, to get familiar with her wise and inspiring thoughts will accompany me and leave its mark throughout all my life. She remains an example and I am very grateful to have had the chance to know her.
    Corine Mauch, Zürich


  22. Thomas Vellacott says:

    Joan Davis trat am 15. Dezember 1986 dem Stiftungsrat des WWF Schweiz bei und setzte sich über Jahre in diesem Amt kompetent und engagiert für den Umweltschutz ein. Innerhalb des Stiftungsrates sass Joan als Mitglied in der Kommission Umwelterziehung, welche sie zeitweise präsidierte und so die Umweltbildungsarbeit des WWF entscheidend mitprägte. Joan hatte sich Sorgen um das Leben auf dem Planeten gemacht, als das Thema Umwelt für die meisten noch ein Fremdwort war. Ihre Herzanliegen galten den bis heute sehr wichtigen Themen Wasser, Boden, Landwirtschaft und Ernährung. Mit Joan ist eine Pionierin und wichtige Stimme für die Umwelt von uns gegangen. Der WWF Schweiz ist Joan für ihr unermüdliches und grosses Engagement zu tiefem Dank verpflichtet und wird sie dafür im Gedächtnis behalten.

    Für den WWF Schweiz
    Thomas Vellacott, CEO


  23. On some Aeolian island Joan was stopped by one who asked: “Are you Athena?” Shaping the world around us with our thoughts, she was recognised by a stranger as the Greek goddess of the wise owl. When she explained the mysteries of live water crystals, the reading of auras and the kindling of healing power, the speaker became identical with that of which she spoke. A mutual friend, wanting to discuss ideas that truly mattered, would not give a dinner party without inviting her to set the tone. Joan’s high perceptiveness attracted events at which others might marvel but she took in her stride. And, speaking of strides, her soul began to travel far faster than her legs could take her. When we last met we shared an hour of music. I hear her soft but decisive voice as I write these words.


  24. Hannes Rindlisbacher says:

    I just got the unbelievable message. I miss you on many levels now. Thank you for all the wonderful time we shared together.
    Your friend and gardener


  25. Peter Bisang says:

    Liebe Joan
    Schon vor 15 Jahren, als wir uns anlässlich der Beerdigungsfeier von Heinz Schürch von der GFBG schicksalshaft begegneten, faszinierte mich Deine liebenswerte und intelligente Persönlichkeit. Wir hatten seitdem viele interessante Gespräche und ich merkte, dass auch Du diese Kontakte sehr schätztest. Oft haben wir uns telefonisch ausgetauscht, wenn ich von Dir Rat brauchte bei mir neuen und unerklärlichen Phänomenen. Eigentlich ging unser Einvernehmen weit über die rein sachliche Sphäre hinaus – und es war mehr als eine platonische Liebe – es war eine Liebe zu einem wunderbaren Menschen.
    Ich vermisse Dich sehr.
    Peter Bisang

    Liked by 1 person

  26. Niels I Meyer says:

    Joan Davis was indeed a long time Balaton Group Member. Already in July 1973 she participated in a “forerunner group” organized by Dennis and me at a conference seminar at the Kollekolle Center in Denmark. The title of the seminar was “Limits to Growth”. It was probably the first time that a young lady by the name Joan Davis was exposed to System Dynamics plus scientific games illustrating the “World Problematic”. At least, it was the first time for me.

    From the beginning of the real BG, Joan hosted the Steering Group meetings in her home in Zürich. The SG members were sitting around her dining table discussing and taking serious decisions while Joan was spending most of her time in the nearby kitchen with an open door so that she could rush into the dining room and correct the SG when they were on a wrong track. She was a wonderful and solicitous host.

    For many years Joan was a very active participant in our yearly meetings at lake Balaton. We were all carefully listening when Joan brought up her suggestions and questions. She had her own theories about health and heathy living. Unfortunately, these theories did not always agree with the physical installations at the chosen hotel for the yearly meeting. So, in the end she decided that she could not participate live at the meetings. I think all of us found that this was a serious loss for our meetings.
    This is just some quick thoughts that came to my mind after reading the sad news from Gillian. I excuse if some of my points are not completely historical correct but my memory is not especially good any more. I am sure that many other members of the BG have other stories and memoirs to tell from their friendship with Joan.


  27. Sophia Holleman says:

    On Sun, Jan 17, 2016 at 4:09 PM, Sophia Holleman wrote:

    It must have been in the nineties that Joan, being somewhere in London crossing a street, was encountered by a woman who pressed her a paper in the hand saying: this will interest you! It was a paper about Kervran dealing with the phenomenon of biological transmutation, something in current science, to speak gently, not taken seriously. From that moment on up till her last days Joan worked to get this phenomenon accepted or proved as she considered it essential in life processes especially in agriculture.

    In 2002 she wrote an excellent article in the Hagia Chora nr.14. : “Lebensstrategie der Natur: das Fehlende aus dem Vorhandenen erschaffen” A courageous deed for a well-known scientist! Nine years later she contacted me asking me to help funding for research on this theme. Thanks to her efforts things got into movement and in 2013 an elaborate research was started under the title: “Biologische Transmutation und ihr Einfluss auf die Bodengesundheit am Beispiel der biologischen Landwirtschaft” in the Hiscia in Arlesheim.

    This November we studied the unpublished papers of Johannes Neher, a geologist, in which she hoped to find also confirmations of the existance of this phenomenon; it took a long time before we found out where the papers were but she did’nt give up saying: Neher….und näher. In December she discussed with a colleague the possibility of getting proof from a research on dried fruit. And so with the tremendous number of inspiring deeds as described in the remembrances here, I wish for all she will gently inspire and guide us as written in the following verse.

    Feel, how we are lovingly gazing
    Into the heights, which are now
    Calling you to different work.
    Give to your deserted friends
    Your strenght from spirit regions.

    Hear the request of our souls,
    Sent to you in trust;
    We need here for earthly work
    Strong strength from Spirit-lands,
    For which we thank our deceased friends. R. Steiner

    Liked by 1 person

  28. frankeyhorn says:

    Die Schweizerische Interessengemeinschaft Baubiologie schreibt:
    In Erinnerung an Dr. Joan S. Davis (1937 – 2016)
    Inmitten ihrer Lebensarbeit, die sie dem nachhaltigen Umgang der Erde widmete, ist Joan S. Davis, unsere engagierte Referentin im Fachkurs Baubiologie, am 11. Januar aus dem Leben geschieden. Während 20 Jahren hat sie mit grossem Wissen und aus dem Fundus ihrer Forschung die angehenden Baubiologen/-innen über die essenzielle Bedeutung des Wassers in unserem Leben unterrichtet. Sie hat uns bewusst gemacht, dass Wasser ein rational nicht durchschaubarer Baustein des Lebens ist. Joan S. Davis trat mit Überzeugung für den biologischen Landbau ein und war als Bio- und Umweltchemikerin an der ETH, für die EAWAG und das BAFU tätig. Ihre Warmherzigkeit und Offenheit haben wir alle sehr geschätzt, insbesondere auch, weil sie auch nach den Kursen mit den Teilnehmenden diskutierte und auf deren Fragen mit grossem Engagement einging. Wir werden Joan S. Davis und ihre Referate in bester Erinnerung behalten.


  29. frankeyhorn says:

    EAWAG (ETH Zurich) schreibt: Am 11. Januar 2016 ist Joan S. Davis im Alter von 78 Jahren unerwartet verstorben. Die Biochemikerin forschte und lehrte fast 30 Jahre über Fliessgewässer an der Eawag/ETH. Unter anderem wertete Joan Davis chemisch-physikalische Daten aus dem Nationalen Messnetz NADUF aus und befasste sich mit der Verfügbarkeit von Schwermetallen in Seen. Immer war sie aber nebst der «klassischen» Wissenschaft auch mit Fragen der Nachhaltigkeit und den Grenzen des Wachstums befasst. (…)


  30. Ann Zulliger - Stiftung Drittes Millennium says:

    Through Joan so many hopeful, inspiring experiences have come my way–her talks given to groups I worked with, the opportunities to meet so many impressive, active people whom I otherwise would never have come to know, our phone calls and the help she gave me with my small projects were all wonderful gifts. She enriched and empowered my life with her friendship, her caring and generous spirit, her amazing scientific knowledge and by her exemplary and courageous investigation of important questions that few of us dared and/or thought to voice. Her melding of grounded professionalism together with her loving concern for the health of the earth and its people was awesome to observe in action, and her advice was always constructive. I miss her very much. Gratitude for her life and example will remain and inspire me–an intangible presence in a world that desperately needs light-bringers like Joan.
    “Nirvana is not the blowing out of the candle. It is the extinguishing of the flame because day is come.-Rabindranath Tagore”
    May the goals she worked so unceasingly for come to fruition soon!


  31. Joan war eine unserer überaus geschätzten Kuratorinnen und hat mit ihrem großartigen Wissen zur Wasserforschung die Fördertätigkeit der Schweisfurth Stiftung in diesem Förderfeld nicht nur informiert, sondern auch orientiert.

    Besonders habe ich als Vorstand der Schweisfurth Stiftung ihre besonnene, mitfühlende Art und Weise wertgeschätzt, sich in das Entscheidungsgeschehen einzubringen.

    Ich kann sagen, dass es gerade dem sublimen und konstruktiven Einfluss von Joan zu verdanken ist, dass wir in der Auswahl von Fördermaßnahmen als Institution eine glückliche Hand haben durften.

    Wir werden sie immer im Gedächtnis behalten.

    Für die Mitarbeiter und das Kuratorium der Schweisfurth Stiftung

    Prof. Dr. Franz-Theo Gottwald

    Liked by 1 person

  32. Reto Planta, Schweizerische Energie-Stiftung SES says:

    Der Stiftungsrat der Schweizerischen Energie-Stiftung SES und das Team der Geschäftsstelle gedenken Joan Davis in aller Stille und Dankbarkeit.

    Vor fast 40 Jahren hat sie die SES mitgegründet – zusammen mit Ursula Koch, Pierre André Fornallaz, Theo Ginsburg und weiteren Persönlichkeiten. Sie war viele Jahre Mitglied des Stiftungsrates und des Beirates. Seit der Gründung der SES hat sie sich für eine andere Energiepolitik engagiert, fast jede SES-Veranstaltung besucht und verschiedene Artikel für SES-Publikationen verfasst. 1984 schrieb sie zum Beispiel einen Buch-Text über “Energieverbrauch und ökologische Auswirkungen der Nahrungsmittelversorgung” oder 2005 das Editorial im Magazin ENERGIE & UMWELT unter dem Titel: “Gehirnzellen statt Brennstoffzellen”. Joan Davis war eine treue, aufmerksame und wohlgesinnte Wegbegleiterin.

    Wir trauern um Joan Davis, eine von vielen “Müttern” der SES. Sowohl die SES wie auch all ihre weiteren “Kinder” werden in Zukunft in ihrem Sinne tätig sein. Das würde sie freuen.


  33. Christine Luisi says:

    Thank you for taking time to reflect on what made Joan unique. I think you have been able to describe it best, namely that she balanced serious science with a spiritual dimension. This is what made the big difference.


  34. Monika Sachtleben says:

    meine wunderbare Seelenfreundin, über 23 Jahre
    Danke dass ich Dich kennlernen durfte,.
    Danke dass Du Dir immer Zeit genommen hast,
    immer ein Ohr hattest.
    Du hast so viel gegeben
    Du warst und bist die beeindruckendste Frau, die ich je kennengelernt habe
    So stark in Deiner Sanftheit,
    so unbeugsam und straight in Deiner Überzeugung,
    so empfindsam und so klar,
    so spirituell und auf Erden verwurzelt,
    so bescheiden und voller Weisheit,
    so humorvoll und tiefgründig
    so verbunden mit den Wesen und Wesenheiten und vielen wunderbaren Menschen.
    Du hast viele neue Perspektiven aufgezeigt, Impulse gesetzt, hast viele Menschen tief berührt und Menschlichkeit gesät.
    Du fehlst!


  35. Hans Ruedi Schweizer / Ernst Schweizer AG / Hedingen says:

    Die Begegnungen mit Dr. Joan Davis und ihre Referate sind uns in sehr lebhafter Erinnerung. Sie war eine beeindruckende Persönlichkeit und wir sind dankbar für ihr grossartiges, unermüdliches Engagement für unsere Umwelt.


  36. André Leu says:

    Joan was a rare treasure; one of those rare people who you form a strong friendship with from the first moment you meet them. I will never forget her and still find it hard to believe that I won’t see her again in Zurich.

    Her’s is a life to be celebrated. The world is a better place because Joan Davis spent time here. We are so privileged and lucky to have spent time with her.


  37. Joan’s passing comes with shock and regret. Shock that time has passed by so suddenly and regret that we could not meet in the last few years.

    It must have been 1986 winter when I first met Joan at the Balaton Steering Committee meeting in her house. It felt as if we had always known each other. The connect was magical. In her words it was as if these were memories of past lives.

    Joan’s simple living and practice of every principle she talked about was so inescapable. Her deep listening, soft voice, quiet smile and twinkle in her eyes enhanced her inclusive persona and made her presence very magical. Her fondness for simple vegetarian food, organic foods and deep practice of the gift of love, compassion and natures energies always left her friends recharged to face the world. Her life was a gift and she used it to gift everyone around her with gifts they needed long before the time they needed them.

    In one of the Balaton meetings Joan gifted me with a stone to put in the water we drank at home to wash away allergies and illnesses. In another she gifted me with a crystal to spread the light of love and enlightenment in the house. Before anyone talked about it Joan was already talking about the hazards of radiation through power lines and radio frequencies. Joan was pointing out to the existence of endocrine disruptors even before the world learnt of it!

    Joan gifted me a copy of the Greenpeace book on Water by Klaus Laanz with a magical inscription for me in her beautiful handwriting. Long before I deserved what she wrote and long before working to save rivers became one of my life missions. It was almost as if she knew what was in time to come. She introduced me to the other “Anupam” in her life, Anupam Mishra, who has since become a good friend and teacher on understanding water. Joan often talked about water as being more than H2O. She explained how it could alter health and life by simply attaining a different energy. Over the last 20 years much of what she used to talk about is finding way in scientific literature and understanding.

    Sometime in later eighties I was to visit her in Zurich after a Balaton meeting. However before visiting her, I was visiting IIASA in Laxenburg and flying through Prague to Zurich. In those days when it was still behind the iron curtain I was thrown off the train by Czechoslovakia border control once my train to Prague crossed the Austrian border. After a 36 hour nightmare when I landed in Zurich, completely overwhelmed, tired and hungry a smiling Joan gifted me time to discover life and peace again though a pilgrimage of the Alps.

    I recall that when I shared with her that Wouter Biesiot, another Balatoner, discovered he was dying of Colon Cancer, she immediately suggested that I tell Wouter we would all have 8 PM his time as “Wouter Time” where everyone of his friends across the world would be thinking of him at “Wouter Time”. That Wouter lived a few extra years has perhaps everything to do with Joan’s magic of “Wouter Time”.

    Joan and Dana were like sisters to each other. Their energies complemented each other. Together they had the ability to transform the world. I’m not sure if Joan was ever the same with the passing of Dana. I still recall Joan’s phone call in the middle of the night when Dana was hospitalised before she passed away. That perhaps was the last time we talked.

    Joan shared stories about serendipity, past life, after life and living a life. She talked a language of love, connectedness and knew more about well being and being part of the universe without resisting nature than possibly anyone I knew.

    Perhaps the only thing Joan asked me for was a copy of a photograph of my daughter at age one. She said she had magical eyes and would one day lead her country. It must be Joan’s magic that Sphurti was married on the 17th of Feb, which I believe is Joan’s birthday, this year. That was the reason I missed my emails and learnt of her passing to her next life much later.

    In her words, I am sure this is not the end of our meeting. I look forward to the inspiration, enlightenment and love that Joan and Dana showered on all of us. May it continue to bless everyone of you to continue doing all you do for this planet and those of us on it!

    I am enclosing a picture of Joan and Dana that I could dig out from my archives for those of you who were blessed by these two remarkable souls. I’m sorry its not the best one, but does bring out the magic spell they both cast on the world!




  38. Oliver Hepp says:

    Als ich Joan vor ca. 25 Jahren kennenlernte, befreundeten wir uns sehr schnell. Eine der ersten der vielen Geschichten, die sie mir erzählte, war die folgende: Als junge Frau – noch in den USA lebend – badet sie im Meer und sonnt sich auf ihrer Luftmatratze und … schläft ein. Als sie erwacht ist sie von der Strömung weit auf’s Meer hinaus gezogen worden. Sie wendet den Kopf und sieht in einem Abstand von ein paar Dutzend Metern Haiflossen, die sie umkreisen. Im selben Moment realisiert sie, dass sie eigenartigerweise keine Angst verspürt und im nächsten Moment sieht sie auch den Grund dafür. In einem engeren Kreis wird sie von Delphinen umschwommen, die sie offensichtlich beschützen. Die Delphine geben ihr sicheres Geleit bis zum Ufer.
    Liebste Joan
    ich wünsche Dir im Herzen sicheres Geleit auf Deiner Reise.
    Lebe wohl


  39. Kristian Schlienz says:

    Liebe Joan, ich hoffe Du hast nichts dagegen, wenn ich den Eindruck der bisherigen Beiträge, die Dich fast ausschliesslich als Umweltengagierte geschildert haben, etwas korrigiere und mit Leben fülle, auch wenn unsere Geschichte bereits exakt vor einem halben Jahrhundert begann:

    Damals besuchte eine junge hübsche Frau am zweiten Tag ihrer Ankunft in der Schweiz eine Ballettaufführung im Zürcher Schauspielhaus. Zufällig sass sie auf dem Platz neben mir, wir unterhielten uns, fanden uns sympatisch …. und blieben sechs Jahre zusammen. Obwohl wir beide fachlich sehr engagiert waren, so nahmen wir uns doch Zeit, das zu erleben, was sich Joan von der Schweiz und Europa als ihrer neugewählten Heimat erhofft hatte: neue inspirierende Kulturen, Landschaften – speziell die Berge und Griechenlands Inseln – , Städte, Musik usw. Wir reisten, wanderten, fuhren Ski, besuchten Konzerte und entdeckten das Leben. Joan war zwar immer tiefgründig, aber doch lebenslustig, neugierig und allen Menschen gegenüber aufgeschlossen.Kein Wunder dass sie so unsere Sprache schnell gelernt, sich neue Wissensgebiete angeeignet und viele Kontakte geknüpft hat. Es war eine schöne Zeit.

    Dennoch sollte es nicht für immer sein, denn unsere unterschiedlichen Berufe, Joans engagierter, ja bedingungsloser, manchmal fast spiritueller Einsatz für die Umwelt und alternative Methoden, und nicht zuletzt auch unsere nicht vereinbaren Lebensentwürfe für die Zukunft führten schliesslich zu einer schmerzhaften aber unausweichlichen Trennung. Leider sahen wir uns seither nur noch selten.

    Liebe Joan, ich denke gerne und dankbar zurück und bin froh jetzt zu erfahren, dass Dich das von Dir gewählte Leben glücklich gemacht hat.


  40. Louise Luttikholt says:

    Dear Joan,
    thank you so much for all your insights and inspiration. I am thankful that our paths crossed. I smile when I think of you.

    Liked by 1 person

  41. Dennis Meadows says:

    I met Joan the first time in 1972 when she invited me to Zurich to lecture at her institute. We remained friends until her unexpected and tragic death, almost 44 years later.
    In 1973 I organized a two-week NATO Advanced Study Institute on resources and systems in Denmark, and I invited Joan to attend. She did, and her questions and suggestions enriched the meeting greatly. I could see immediately that she was a very special person.

    Eventually I invited her to join the Balaton Group, an international network of resource scientists from about 30 countries. She was a perfect member – open minded, caring, and scientifically expert. Her suggestions lead to many of the customs and practices that define the Group today.

    Thirty to fifty members of the Balaton Group meet for five days each fall in Hungary. Joan attended her first meeting in 1983. She came every year after that, except once when she had a serious bicycle accident that damaged her hip. I believe that was the event that gave her pain and a limp for the last years of her life. She eventually participated in almost 30 meetings, organizing the scientific program for one of them on the theme of water.
    In the 1980s she started hosting our steering committee meetings each year. Our group of 5-10 met annually in her home for 2-3 days— starting when she lived in Eglisau and ending finally at her residence in Wallisellen. 
    Joan made a special contribution to our annual Balaton Group meetings by taking over responsibility for the annual “awards” program at the final banquet each year. This became a matter of great importance to her and benefit to us. She arranged that almost every single participant each year would receive a small gift with a personal acknowledgement. It was an activity that occupied at least 2-3 days of her time at each meeting – shopping, wrapping, composing, and performing. She became a virtuoso in this.
    I never knew whether she was a magician who practiced science or a scientist who practiced magic. But she believed in both. Those concerns plus her intense interest in alternative health measures, her substantial expertise with nutrition, and her ability to come quickly into a sympathetic, caring relationship with anyone made her a unique contributor to the Balaton Group meetings, mainly in the informal portions of each conclave. After every annual meeting many participants would return home carrying some crystal or stone that Joan had given them or resolved to follow some unique nutritional advice that she had offered to deal with their particular syndrome.

    She became close friends with many of the regular participants, even though most of them were slightly puzzled by the credence she gave to many occult topics. She was especially dear friends with Donella Meadows. For many years Donella would go to Wallisellen for a week of fasting and meditation with Joan during the week between Christmas and New Year. 
    I visited Joan many dozens of times over the years, but our conversations were almost always about science and the Balaton Group. I knew extremely little about the other spheres of her life and practically nothing about her life prior to Switzerland. I knew only that she had six distinct circles of friends – Balaton Group members, EAWAG associates, university colleagues and students, environmental activists, local friends, and family. Because she never entertained in her house, these various groups practically never encountered each other. And thus I have learned a great deal about my dear friend Joan by reading the contributions her hundreds of friends in the other spheres have made to this commemorative web site.
    Joan had no children, nor did she ever live with anyone during the last three decades of her life. But she had hundreds of friends. She kept in contact with them via many thousands of e-mails every year. And she was always eager to meet and talk with any friend passing through Zurich.

    Even though her pain and sensitivity to electric emanations prevented her from attending Balaton Group meetings during the past few years, she continued her involvement contributing to our meetings via SKYPE and meeting with individual members. Her life influenced all the members of the Balaton Group, even those who never met her. And she will be greatly missed.

    Liked by 1 person

  42. Samir de Chadarevian says:

    Dear Joan & dear friends of Joan,

    I remember very well the first time we met as I do remember all our meetings and conversations.

    I learned so much during our conversations and – to be honest – I was always a bit surprised & very honoured you would make time for me.

    My hope is that we will keep Joan’s incredible network together I certainly very open.

    Un forte abbraccio mia cara Joan.



  43. Liebe Joan! Mit Deinem letzten Herzschlag hat auch ein lebendiges Stück Herz und Verstand unseres Lehrganges in Baubiologie/Bauökologie aufgehört zu schlagen. Wann immer in der rund 20-jährigen Geschichte dieses Lehrganges die Fortführung auf Messers Schneide war, habe ich gedacht: So lange Joan Davis bei uns unterrichtet, so lange muss und wird dieser Lehrgang weiterleben. Warum? Weil er Persönlichkeiten wie Joan Davis zu Wort kommen lässt und Botschaften vermittelt, welche sonst keinen Raum haben um gehört zu werden. Am Beispiel des Wassers hast Du uns bewusst gemacht, dass Wasser – obgleich von der Wissenschaft als H2O entschlüsselt und mit ein paar besonderen physikalischen Eigenschaften vermeintlich erklärt – ein notwendiger und nicht rational durchschaubarer Baustein des Lebens ist. Du hast uns einsichtig gemacht, dass eine Wissenschaft des Lebendigen andere Paradigmen hat als eine Wissenschaft, welche die Stoffe, um sie analysieren, Prozesse reproduzieren und beherrschen zu können, aus ihrem natürlichen, das heisst lebendigen und komplexen Umfeld isoliert.
    Mit Dir, Joan, verliert nicht nur unser kleiner Lehrgang und der Kulturraum Zürich, sondern die weltumspannende “community” der Wissenschaft, welche diesen Namen verdient, eine unbeirrbare Kämpferin und Mahnerin – eine bescheidene und bedeutsame Persönlichkeit. In unserem Herzen und in unserem Lehrgang wirst Du weiter leben.


  44. Karen Rudin says:

    Joan and I worked together on a number of translations and editing assignments. While always professional and exact, Joan was unfailingly thoughtful, warmhearted and full of humor. Extremely busy as she was, she always had time for a personal chat as well. She was so related that one forgot that she was a well-known biochemist; one never forgot that she was a good friend.


  45. Wir von der Bildungsstelle Baubiologie sind traurig, dass du Joan gegangen bist. 20 Jahre lang bist du uns und der Baubiologie treu geblieben. Hast dich jedes Jahr wieder neu für dein Referat zum Thema Wasser im Fachkurs engagiert und warst immer bereit, dich mit den Kursteilnehmenden auch nach dem Kurs auszutauschen. Ich danke dir von Herzen für alles was du in deinem Sinne und für die Baubiologie gemacht hast. So viele Kursteilnehmende erinnern sich deines Vortrages und Persönlichkeit. Bei vielen hast du einen Perspektivenwechsel ausgelöst. Die Kombination von wissenschaftlicher Arbeit und feinstofflichen Aspekten war zudem eine grosse Bereicherung für die Kursteilnehmer/-innen. Du wirst uns im Kurs fehlen.

    Ich habe dich als warmherzige, geduldige, engagierte und wertschätzende Referentin erlebt. Immer hattest du Zeit zu reden oder zu telefonieren und sehr oft hatten wir in den selben Momenten an einander gedacht und Kontakt aufgenommen. Deine Stimme wird mir fehlen.

    Liked by 1 person

  46. Diana Wright says:

    Dear friends (including those I have not yet met),

    I have been so saddened by news of Joan’s death that I have needed several days to put any coherent thoughts together. One part of my mind goes to the “practical”, how to help with the work she cared about. The other part of mind mind dwells on her — the wonderful woman who is now a little further away … but not completely gone (I hope).

    When I think of Joan, I see:
    • Devotion to the Balaton Group — Joan loved the Balaton process of cross-disciplinary collaborative exploration. She had a high regard for anyone willing to step outside his or her own disciplinary boundaries to compare, contrast, and truly “exchange” (a word Joan seemed to love).

    • A scientist and a mystic — Defining a “mystic” as one who believes in the spiritual understanding of truths that are beyond the intellect, Joan developed scientific, evidence-based knowledge but she also realized that spiritual (or non-material-evidence-based) understanding could come to a person first. She then sought evidence to further illuminate what was really going on. She was open to, and seemed to relish, the mysteries that still exist in our world.

    • “Meta” understanding (another favorite word) — Joan was often the one in a conversation to describe the multiple layers of how we see, understand, or act on ideas. I wonder if that is one reason why systems thinking was so appealing to her; it is a self-referential kind of comprehension. (“I am using this tool to understand better how I am using this tool and what difference that can make in the world.”)

    • A strong sisterly bond with Dana Meadows — Dana planned her travels to Balaton via Switzerland so she and Joan could travel the last part together and so have time to discuss a wide range of topics. After Dana’s death, many of the conversations Joan and I had were about Dana and how she approached issues and ideas. Likewise, Joan helped Dana see that current science cannot (yet) explain everything we are experiencing. I think Joan and Dana were reference points for each other: “How would Dana approach this?” “What would Joan see here?” That does not mean that the conversations between them were always easy or completely in sync. I think they each found the other exasperating at times but, like devoted sisters, they also deeply appreciated what the other had to offer.

    Others have written eloquently about Joan’s generosity — sharing her attention (especially with newcomers at meetings) and her home (especially her dish of boiled potatoes and cheeses). I also remember her attention to small things, the gifts she would bring to Balaton meetings, her humorous “prizes” awarded to many for lofty ideas as well as ridiculous events. Joan house was also filled with many small and significant items. Each has a story. One small item I have from Joan is a pentakis kaleidoscope, a beautiful marriage of science and art that produces 60 points of light for each original. That’s how I think of Joan.


  47. frankeyhorn says:

    Dearest Joan, soulmate,
    when we first met almost 20 years ago at one of your many lectures I was a student looking up to the charismatic sustainability pioneer who so well formulated what was close to my own convictions. After the lecture I dared talking to you and you were kind enough to pretend interest in my ideas. You proposed continuing our exchange over a dinner. Since then we have repeated this countless times. You became one of my closest, most inspiring, most caring and most gentle friends I ever had. We shared the passion for organic farming and the many and interconnected ways how it benefits people and planet. We still had many plans. I count on your continued support in implementing them.

    One of your many gifts was to connect like-minded people – and you are even doing it now, right here!

    Thank you for everything.


  48. Liebe Joan, ich bleibe Dir dankbar für Deine stets aufmunternden Worte und die verständnisvolle Begleitung unseres Bemühens um die Erhaltung unserer Lebensgrundlagen. Lebe wohl.


  49. Betty Miller says:

    I’ve so enjoyed reading these memories of Joan. Certainly I knew, but they underscore, that my relationship with her was not unique. How wonderful that her warm heart (and sharp intellect) touched so many people. How fortunate we are to have shared the magic of Joan Davis.


  50. Carol Spinanger Ivins says:

    I truly felt the need to leave this rememberance in honor of Joan. The messages that all ofyou have composed are truly heart-felt. I knew that Joan was special but it is such a gift to know that so many of you felt the same way about her. I thank all of you for your contributions as a way of learning more about this unique individual. Joan was my first cousin on our fathers’ side: the Norwegian Spinanger Family. As Joan and her family lived in Cincinnati and we lived in New Jersey, we didn’t see each other that frequently – perhaps once year – and as Joan was the oldest of the cousins and being 7 years older than me, we weren’t in each other’s realm too often, however, her parents, Harriet and Arthur, always kept us informed of what was happening in the life of Joan and her 2 siblings, Dean and Diane. Whenever we would hear about Joan, there was a feeling of awe around her and why not? She was beautiful, extremely intelligent, kind, outgoing and sincere. We would hear of her going off to college, the dances and parties, her beautiful clothing, and scientific research – Wow, where did that come from? And yet, this research became her and her chosen life.

    Fast forward to just several years ago when Joan and I reconnected to discuss the genealogical aspect of our family. Our conversations took on new directions with each email or call: health issues of my husband, family discussions, remembrances of our grandparents and the house that they lived in, ecological topics and organic living and cleaning out closets of everything that we had accumulated and hated to toss away – “I’ll need it some day” or “too good still” (another family trait). After these talks, I was always left in awe of her, not only for her deep conviction of wanting to help people – both related family and the earth family – but how truly sincere she was in her beliefs and how humbling it was for me to realize that this brilliant “ray of sunshine” was truly interested in me, what was happening and how I was living my life. One could always count of her giving “warm fuzzies” to a troubled heart and making that person feel special. On our grandparents’ piano in the old house, photos of the grandchildren could be found. The one that I shall always remember- hopefully correctly- and was removed only several years ago upon the passing of our aunt who lived in this house for over 90 years) was a large black and white photo of Joan as a young child. The photo was mostly that of landscape – trees and shrubs with small Joan in the middle. She is standing there alone with her long blond ringlets with the sun seeming to emanate from behind her and she is looking very etherial and almost mystical. I like to think that it is an early look at Joan as to what she was to become in life.

    My deepest condolences to Diane, Tim, Dean and Renate and to all of you who considered her to be your friend, mentor and one who made those she came in contact with think deeper. May you all have “warm fuzzies” in your hearts when you think of her.

    Rest in Peace my dearest cousin. I do believe that you are thoroughly enjoying yourself at this very moment in time.

    Carol Spinanger Ivins


  51. Du hast dir Sorgen gemacht um das Leben auf unerem Planeten. Zu Recht. Jetzt hast du keine mehr. Zu Recht. Ich wünschte, dass wir mehr Zeit miteinander verbracht hätten.


  52. Dear all,

    “Dearest Joan,
    Only now I understand why I was thinking of you so much lately. I wondered how you were doing, I tried to remember when we met for the last time and I even tried to check whether the email adress I have of you still was the right one.
    We were connected in a special way. First through Wouter, later just because there was this special connection we had on different levels: knowing when the other would call, knowing what the other was thinking, what was important….”

    In our house there are a few precious ‘Joan’ pieces that I see every day. A tiny plate with white sand and three shells. When Joan got me this present, she expected that I had to refresh the sand every now and then, because it would be spilled. There was no need for that; I never spilled one drop of the sand! Another gift: a prism she brought for Wouter when he was ill, reflecting the light beautifully. And two lovely bowls with blue fishes painted on it. She gave those to me because I already had four of them and she had only two.
    I have been to Joan’s place several times. Once even at her old farm, the one before Wallisellen, together with Wouter. And at Wallisellen of course, for the BG Steering Committee meetings.
    Thereafter we met now and then, at different places. In particular I remember the one in Dusseldorf. Joan had a board meeting of the Wuppertal Institute there, and for me Dusseldorf is only 1,5 hours by train. So we met in a small cafe, had a coffee and a chat, and visited a shop with all kind of household and garden equipment. I can’t remember the name, but it had real German quality stuff. We both wanted to buy many practical and sustainable things. However, we restricted ourselves to one each. And as an extra, Joan gave me a ceramic thing that you put in your kettle when you start cooking milk and don’t want the milk to boil over. Actually, we were chatting all our way through the shop. A well spend afternoon I will never forget.
    Joan has been a precious friend of Wouter from the moment they met at the Balaton Group. The years of Wouter’s illnes Joan helped us with her experience on healthy food and minerals. And both Joan and Dana where key supporters from a distance, helping Wouter with living, and in the end, with letting go.
    Oh, how special to have these memories!
    I am very glad that some of you write about recent experiences with Joan and … thank you Marta Cerona, for this recent picture of the two of you!

    Dearest Joan, of course I pity not having seen you the last years, but I do know that we will stay connected like we always were. Thank you so much for being Joan, for compassionately helping all those people with your warm heart, wisdom and experience, and for all the good work you did for our planet. I will miss you in my life, and at the same time I am glad that you now can reconnect with (y)our other dear friends that are not here on this earth anymore.



  53. Christine Luisi says:

    Dear Joan, Despite having no professional connection, some coincidence of fate brought us together in 1985. For some years at your instigation, five of us were a support group for each other. You named us the ‘Wieberrat,’ and it provided remarkable solace for the seven years we met. We confided in each other and enjoyed each other’s company. Happily you and I continued to meet over the years at irregular intervals. It was remarkable to me that you made time for it considering your many important and pressing commitments, and the many people you knew. It was part of your magic, Joan. What a privilege to have experienced it. Thank you again.


  54. Dear Joan
    Ich vermisse Dich sehr. Deine Zuversicht, Deine so unglaublich liebenswürdige Art, Dein Humor, Deine strahlenden blauen Augen. And everything else. Ich vermisse auch Deinen Mut, Dein Forschen und Dein hartnäckiges Nachfragen entlang der Grenzen der (heutigen) Wissenschaft. Dein wunderbares Büchlein zu Wasser zum Beispiel. Dass Wasser nicht bloss H2O, sondern viel mehr, viel viel mehr ist. Much more.
    Our e-mails exchanges were always a wild mixture of german and english, and I enjoyed that too.
    Joan, Du wirst mir fehlen.

    Liked by 1 person

  55. In den letzten Monaten habe ich viel an Joan gedacht: Zum Deutschunterricht für Somalier fahre ich jede Woche einmal am “Doktorhaus” in Wallisellen vorbei. Dort hat sie uns einmal zu einem Geburtstagsessen eingeladen. Ich fahre und denke: Unbedingt wieder einmal Joan anrufen, hören, wie es ihr geht, was sie tut, denkt, hofft … Ach, hätte ich sie doch angerufen.
    Liebe Joan, verzeih.
    Deine sanft formulierte Hartnäckigkeit, wenn es um das Wohl unserer Welt ging, dein schönes Lächeln, wenn du dich verstanden fühltest, daran will ich mich erinnern.


  56. Joan died the day of our mothers (Freda Meissner Blau) funeral. I met her many years ago at a Ecoropa conference in Italy and she never left my heart since then. A few days before the 11th of january she wrote to me: “Freda was the most important living person in my life… and that through many years. Parting from her goes beyond my comprehension… ” During the days of our mourning, Joan was with us in loving thoughts and supported us. It is sad and comforting at the same time to know these two great, laughing souls up there, together.


  57. Andreas Graf says:

    Von der traurigen Nachricht bin ich sehr betroffen! Joan Davis verdanke ich eine neue und überraschende Sicht auf die Werte von scheinbar alltäglichem auf unserem Planeten. Das Wasser, mit dem sie sich ein Leben lang auseinandergesetzt hat, ist etwas Besonderes, genau so wie sie selber. Es freut mich sehr, dass wir sie mehrere Jahrzehnte und bis vor kurzer Zeit als Baubiologie-Referentin erleben durften!


  58. I first met Joan when I was a visiting scientist at EAWAG in the fall and winter of 1972. I was depressed about personal matters, which Joan intuited immediately, and set about alleviating. Her kindness, humor, erudition, and playfulness mended my mind and heart immediately. For six months, we hiked, laughed, and invented crazy but “true” theories of the biosphere together. We can only pray that her gifts remain in this world, passed on to another loving and indispensable person somewhere, a spiritual heir of Joan’s light, who will shine for her or his fellow humans as brightly and as long as Joan Davis did for me and for all of the wonderfully various people whose tributes fill these pages.
    Ave atque vale, J.



    Liebe Joan, magst Du Dich erinnern ans Konzert von Pierre Favre letztes Jahr ? Wir wollten uns wieder treffen, mailten hin und her und am 11.1. schlug ich Dir zwei Abende nächste Woche vor – es war zu spät… – Ich wünsche Dir eine gute Reise, Du darfst mit gutem Gewissen diese Erde verlassen, Du hast sehr viel für sie getan. Und viele von uns motiviert, dranzubleiben an der Nachhaltigkeit, wo und in welchem Zusammenhang auch immer…

    Liked by 1 person

  60. Dear friends, liebe Freunde,

    One person in our beautiful Balaton network has quietly left her place. We feel the empty spot and fill it with memories. I remember Joan first and foremost as, for me, one of the ‘founding mothers’ of the Balaton Group, together with Dana. The two of them were able to link science to engagement, love, spirituality in a way which was taken in by me as a relief and invitation. It was a new guidance in my life, in those mid and late 1980s. I remember Joan for her sincere and science-based activism, with esoteric overtones as one may expect from a genuine Aquarian. For the dedication and joy with which she did the Gift and Award Ceremony for many years on the last everning of our Annual Meetings near Lake Balaton. For the care and sincerity with which she explored her own and other people’s health, stimulated organic food and agriculture and shared knowledge about and respect for water. And last but not least, for the hospitality during the many Steering Committee meetings in her house, first in Zürich and later in Wallisellen – the food, the charming disorder of most interesting books, the feeling of togetherness.

    Connected we are, in life and death.
    Life after life, who can tell?
    Thousand memories in the space of a breath.
    She has gone, uncovered the spell.

    Thank you, Joan, and may you be in peace.


  61. Heiko Spitzeck says:

    Liebe Joan,

    Du wirst uns fehlen mit Deinem Elan und Deinem Einsatz für eine nachhaltigere Zukunft, Deiner Eleganz und Deinem wohlwollenden Lächeln. Aber ich bin mir sicher, dass Du Dich auch im Himmel für Nachhaltigkeit einsetzt und uns, im richtigen Moment entweder einen Sonnenstrahl oder einen reinigenden Regen senden wirst.


  62. frankeyhorn says:

    IFOAM – Organics International (
    Joan Davis was an outstanding scientist and one of the most impressive personalities in the Swiss and global sustainability movement. For 30 years, between 1970 and 1999, she was a water specialist at EAWAG (Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Sciences and Technology). With her background in biochemistry and environmental chemistry, she became involved at the early stages of the environmental movement. She was the co-founder of the Swiss Foundation for (alternative) Energy SES, and a board member of the Schweisfurth Stiftung in Germany (promoting animal welfare). For many years she served on the Board of the Balaton Group founded by Donella and Dennis Meadows – authors of “The Limits to Growth (link is external)” – with whom she maintained a close friendship. She wa a strong supporter of organic agriculture and was closely engaged with IFOAM- Organics International and FiBL. One of her many initiatives included raising awareness of the multiple benefits of organic farming for soil, water, health and climate. This work will continue through the Joan Davis Memorial Fund (

    Liked by 1 person

  63. frankeyhorn says:

    The Wuppertal Institute is Mourning Dr. Joan Davis (
    Longstanding member of the International Advisory Board passed away

    On 11 January, Dr. Joan S. Davis passed away. From 1970 to 1999 the chemist worked at EAWAG (Swiss Federal Institute for Environmental Science and Technology), ETH Zurich, researching and teaching in the field of environmental impacts on water and aquatic systems. Prof. Urs Niggli characterised Joan Davis with the words: “Her work started with chemical and biological pollution of water and ended up with a completely new insight into the wonderful physical qualities and forces of water. For her, water was a mystery, but she looked at it with the scrutiny of a scientist.”
    From 1997 to 2012 Joan Davis was member and vice chair of the International Advisory Board of the Wuppertal Institute. During this period she accompanied the institute’s development with dedication, intelligent interventions and great empathy. With her advice and support she provided essential cornerstones to the institute especially during difficult times. The institute’s management as well as the staff members are mourning a good friend.


  64. frankeyhorn says:

    (Im Namen der oikos-Präsidentin Jael Denicola)
    oikos St. Gallen trauert um ihre Beirätin und langjährige Unterstützerin Dr. Joan Davis. Unermüdlich, voller Lebensfreude und als eine unglaublich inspirierende Persönlichkeit mit einem wunderbaren Ziel vor Augen haben wir unsere Beirätin und Freundin Joan Davis kennenlernen dürfen. Bis zuletzt hat sie sich bei oikos St. Gallen mit ihrer proaktiven Art eingebracht und den Verein in den Gründerschuhen an der Universtität St.Gallen mitaufgebaut. Ihre liebevolle und zielgerichtete Art sich für eine nachhaltigere Zukunft einzusetzen hat sie nebst all ihren anderen Werken in unserem Verein verankert und sie wird uns auf diesem Weg stets begleiten.

    oikos St. Gallen is in morning for her advisor and long-standing supporter Dr. Joan Davis. We have been honored to get to know our advisor and friend Joan Davis as an inexhaustible and inspiring personality with great goals. To the last she has played an important part in our association from day one. Her tender and targeted character and her way to stand up for a more sustainable future has influenced our association a lot. Joan will always be with us.


  65. Dear Joan
    Your conviction to think deeper
    Your acceptance of sparks still unexplainable
    Your call to withstand Sachzwängen
    Your kind and loving smile
    Your embracing empathy towards all forms of life –
    You made discussions deeply personal, challenging and valuable.
    Thank you, Joan.
    (Joan and I, and sometimes other oikos advisors, regularly shared train rides to and from St. Gallen.)


  66. Barbara L. Hansen says:

    Joan Spinanger Davis was my first cousin – she was 3 years my senior and our mothers were sisters. When we were children I always looked up to her. She had a serious and thoughtful nature even then. I was in awe of her because she was so mature even as a child. Because she lived in Ohio and I in New York, we saw each other mostly at family events. After she moved to Switzerland and I to Florida we occasionally stayed in touch by mail and phone. When my young husband was fighting cancer, she sent us advice for his diet and how to help. We did not meet in person again until her father died in1997 in Cincinnati Ohio. We began to communicate by phone and email regularlyafter that. Joan was such an amazing, yet humble person! I benefited greatly from her knowledge regarding how to live a more earth-sensitive and caring life. Her advice covered everything from healthy eating to what natural substances would solve a particular problem and of course lots of info about our world and its environment. I can totally relate to most of what Alan AtKisson wrote. She shared many of those insights with me as well. Sometimes I disagreed with her, but always respected her. We last spoke on December 3 and as usual she asked me about my family. She had a deep, caring concern for others and it was obvious. I will greatly miss her – she was a special, gifted and one-of-a-kind light in this world that cannot be replaced. I can still hear her voice and usual closing of our conversation: “and a great big bear hug to you my dear Barbara.” My love and deepest sympathy to her sister and brother-in-law Diane and Tim and to her brother and sister-in-law Dean and Renate. Barbara Hansen January 15, 2016


  67. Vor wenigen Wochen noch habe ich mit ihr telefoniert. Wie immer war sie ermutigend, wertschätzend und liebevoll. Was für eine kluge, schöne und tolle Frau! Ich bin glücklich ihr begegnet zu sein und die Gelegenheit gehabt zu haben, über Jahre mit ihr auszutauschen, von ihr zu lernen, ihr zuzuhören. Sie war ein wunderbarer Mensch, der viele Spuren hinterlassen hat. Thanks, Joan, have a good trip home!


  68. Thomas Dyllick says:

    Dear Joan

    My thoughts and my blood stopped when I read about your sudden death in the NZZ. Only a few weeks ago we met for the last time at an oikos Board meeting in St.Gallen, where our paths have crossed regularly for some 20 years. I was surprised to see how difficult it was for you to walk and climb the stairs, when I guided you down to the waiting Taxi. You did not really want my help, but accepted grudgingly. But I would never have thought it would be our last encounter! You have been such a valuable addition to our board, always present, always helpful, always constructive and full of admiration what the oikos students were doing and achieving. Your pure spirit and soul, your true engagement for all matters concerning sustainability, responsibility and justice always have been and will remain to be a guiding star for us. Thanks a lot and rest in peace. We will continue to push ahead.


  69. Nicholas Deichmann says:

    Dear Joan – thank you for your good wishes for the new year – your e-mail is still in my inbox (with several others) and waiting to be replied to, with the hope of a meeting on the occasion of one of my next visits to Zurich… What remains now are a few photographs and many fond memories. Memories that start with NAWU and your “Blueprint for Survival”, a blueprint that has guided you throughout your whole life; memories of your great and sometimes irreverent sense of humor (a colleague at EAWAG: “do you prefer chocolate with alcohol or without?”, you: “without chocolate”; or coming back from a dinner with two renowned professors: “…they spent the evening polishing each others halos…”); of your creative use of the two languages that you conversed in daily (“…put the Deckel on the pot…”); of your love for the clear light of the Agean Islands; of your favourite word: “gentle”.


  70. Claude Siegenthaler says:

    Dear Joan,
    we miss you and our hearts are full of gratefulness.
    When we met for the first time, I was still a student working with and for oikos at the University of St.Gallen. Our sustainability driven community was so much enjoying to learn through your tremendous expertise and openly shared excellent network, while we as young individuals found a role model in you as such a warmhearted advisor. A decade later, when I joined the advisory board myself, it was with delight that we could resume our deep conversations and reflections on the development of our shared mission. You have been the most loyal advisory this organization ever had and this tuned you into a most inspiring organizational memory helping our younger generations to actually understand what was before them and learning from the past. While through you we always could hear a much anticipated, more sustainable future speaking to us. Thank you so much for all the «Coffee, Cake and Conversations» that we enjoyed together.



    I met Joan long time ago when I came to my first Balaton Group Meeting. What I remember about Joan is her attentive listening when we had a conversation. As a new member in the middle of so many experts, I felt fully listened to, loved and supported.

    From Joan I learned about activism in different way. It combined strengths and tenderness, having a strong opinion but also open mind. I learned about how to express disagreement in a confident and loving way. I learned about achieving consistency between our action and in what we belief.

    All of those memories influenced me in doing my sustainability work.

    Any Sulistyowati


  72. Das Wasser hat mich immer wieder mit Joan Davis zusammengebracht. Unsere Wege haben sich da und dort gekreuzt und immer war unser Austausch sehr anregend. Eigentlich wollten wir mal noch ein Buch zusammen herausgeben. Das bleibt nun ungeschrieben. Danke, Joan, für alle unsere schönen Begegnungen und für Ihren weitsichtigen Umgang mit der Natur!


  73. Dear Joan,
    you were a beautiful, warmhearted intelligent person, who inspired us so much. in our discussions and sharing of thoughts. Many times we were into tears, because of the deep understanding we felt together. Your warm smile we will never forget. We are very sad – and there is no apologize for not having met during the last months, as we had proposed. We wish you no obstacles on your further way – and thank you so much for your never-ending efforts for a better living.
    Yours truly
    Anton Sàlat & Dagmar Wagner-Sàlat


  74. I met Joan first when we both served on the Board of WWF Switzerland Foundation. She was a great listener but then insisted on us all to dig deeper beneath the surface of soothing arguments and see important inter-relationships between mind and matter. Since life is a project, I had to leave WWF and eventually moved to Germany. Joan’s kind perseverance remained in the back of my mind. She helped to make this world a better place.


  75. With Joan we share a common goal: To make the terrestrian spirit fully working. All meetings with you were deeply inspiring. Joan, we shall go on working. Thank you. Peter, Renate, Zagar, Mowgli, Disha, Rebell, Alamos, Chick, Kimba and Lili.


  76. Mary Ellen Everson Merrill says:

    Though Joan is my cousin, our birth order and geography prevented me from knowing her well.
    I am not surprised by the comments here . She came from stern “stuff.” I am proud of her as I am our shared extended family.
    To show her heart, last week one of my daughters emailed Joan “out of the blue” to ask about our shared Norwegian relatives . Joan only needed to hear the word “family” and she was willing to help any way she could.
    I feel such loss at not knowing Joan better .
    My condolences to Diane, Deane, and their spouses.


  77. Tildy Hanhart says:

    Immer wenn ich einen Wassertropfen sehe, denke ich an Joan Davis. Sie hat mir und vielen andern die Wunderwelt und vielfältige Bedeutung des Wassers geöffnet. Am 11. Dezember 2015 sah und hörte ich sie am Politischen Gottesdienst in Zürich zum letzten Mal. Wir begrüssten uns herzlich und erfreut, nie hätte ich gedacht, dass dies für mich zugleich der Abschied von ihr ist. Ich bin dankbar für die Begegnungen mit ihr und traurig, dass sie nicht mehr da ist.


  78. Sylvie Peter says:

    SYLVIE PETER SAYS: The soul is what counts and yours was a pure and vibrant one. So enlighten us from above and show us the way to a better world. I will remember you fondly.


  79. Joan verdanke ich das wegweisendste, wichtigste Referat, das ich je gehört habe – seit jenem Apriltag 1989 in Interlaken achte ich Natur und Mensch erst recht und lebe anders. Joan war und bleibt mir Vorbild. Danke!


  80. Ueli Nagel says:

    Joan war für meinen beruflichen und persönlichen Werdegang eine grosse Inspiration. Unsere Lebenswege haben sich über fast 40 Jahre hin immer wieder gekreuzt: SAGUF, NAWU-Ringvorlesung Uni Basel, WWF Umweltbildung, Pestalozzianum, Oekozentrum Zürich, PH Zürich, Biovision ich könnte noch vieles nennen… Systemisch Denken und Handeln war unsere gemeinsame Passion. Was für ein grosser Verlust für uns und für die Welt! In der Trauer tröste ich mich mit den schönen Erinnerungen an die vielen guten, herzlichen und konvivialen Momente mit Joan.


  81. Ich wollte Dich letztes Jahr unbedingt besuchen, nach 25 Jahren. Heute erfahre ich von Deinem Tod.
    Deinen unermädlichen Einsatz für die Umwelt, für die Gewässer, für die Menschen und Tiere haben mir immer sehr imponiert, Deinen Beruf hast Du wie eine grosseBerufung gelebt, trotz der Widerstönde im eigenen Haus, trotz der Intriganten und den Schwäzern, Du hast alle überzeugt in Deinen Vorträgen, mit Fakten, leicht verständlich und mit vielen Anlogien und Bildern auf den Punkt gebracht.
    Ich bedaure es zutiefst, Dich nicht mehr getroffen zu haben; jetzt kann ich Dich nur noch in meinen warmen Erinnerungen behalten. Deine Seele ist noch bei uns. Sie wird uns grüssen und in eine Welt eingehen, die hoffentlich sorgenfrei und unbeschwert ist.
    Ich wünsche Allen Angehörigen und Freunden Kraft und Zuversicht, wie sie Joan uns vorgelebt hat.


  82. Markus Schwaninger says:

    Der Tod von Joan ist ein grosser Verlust,
    aber ihr Leben ist ein grosser Gewinn.
    An so vielen Orten hat sie zu einer
    nachhaltigen Entwicklung beigetragen.
    Uns Freunden ist sie ein goldenes Herz.
    Joan ist uns ein Vorbild
    und die Erinnerung an sie
    ein kostbarer Schatz.


  83. Als ich Joan letzte Woche auf die Gedenkfeier vom 9. Januar für Annette Johnson ansprach, fragte ich sie, ob sie an diesem Anlass teilnehmen würde. Sie meldete sich für den zweiten Teil der Veranstaltung an und schrieb mir am Sonntag kurz vor 16.00 Uhr eine e-Mail: “Did you join the Wanderung part of the Gedenkfeier yesterday? If so, did you feel it was ‘in her spirit’…?”. Und ich antworte ihr noch am gleichen Abend, ja, soweit ich das beurteilen könne, wäre die ergreifende Veranstaltung ganz im Sinne Annettes gewesen.
    Warum wollte sie das wissen? Hat Joan ihren Tod vorausgeahnt? Als ich gestern von ihrem Tod erfuhr, habe ich mich gefragt, ob sie den Tod nicht schon nahen spürte mit ihrem unglaublichen Spürsinn und ihrer Feinfühligkeit.
    Mit Joan ist für mich das letzte “Gewissen” der frühen Umweltbewegung hierzulande gestorben. Sie hinterlässt eine riesige Lücke. Ihr unglaublicher und selbstloser Einsatz für eine bessere und würdigere Welt war für uns jüngere Vorbild und Anreiz zugleich. Sie wird uns fehlen.


  84. Martin Denz says:

    Liebe Joan. Ich bin traurig – und freue mich sehr, dass ich dich kennen lernen durfte. Du bist ein Geschenk in meinem Leben. Meine guten Gedanken begleiten dich. Ich danke dir herzlich. Martin


  85. Claude Lüscher says:

    Die liebe Joan ist nicht mehr. Was für ein Verlust. Wenige Menschen haben mich so inspiriert mit ihrem Wissen, dem breiten Denken und ihrem Verbinden von scheinbar nicht zusammenhängenden Phänomenen, wie sie. Stichworte tauchen auf, wie Tössriedern (mit Sandra, dem Kamel!); Kervran, Schauberger, Ökozentrum Zürich, die SUMS-Bibliothek, die ARCHE im Migros Frühling, der Biolandbau, die beiden Meadows, Dennis und Donella, die Balaton-Group, die ihr so viel bedeutete; vieles hat sie angepackt, ruhelos, unterwegs, nie ermüdend; bewundernswert, was diese Frau geleistet hat. Ich bin sehr traurig.


  86. David Gould says:

    Joan’s demeanor, ideas, and good heart made an instant impression on me from the very first time. I would be surprised if this was not the case for others. A tireless worker for the common good and an extremely kind soul…it’s perhaps not so much what one does but how one does it that has a real lasting effect on humanity. Joan’s what and how were a gift to all, a legacy that lasts.


  87. Ulrich Loening says:

    Joan was a gentle font of wisdom. Everyone could turn to her for advice, about almost anything. I asked her, when I had an impending cataract, how I might counter that. Her immediate answer was to start meal with salad and not meat, for biochemical reasons to do with calcium absorption. I followed that for years, and still now only have an impending cataract. Is it so because of her advice? We can never know, but it fits with her flair for solutions that many would have called magic. i last met her in Budapest, at the 2011 30 years celebrations. She was not well, suffering from “wifi smog” and she left the meeting for home, walking uneasily. I am not surprised that she felt sensitive to wifi radiation; few people are. My last communication was a couple of weeks ago, when she asked for that German paper on fee and dividend that I had mentioned, and I wrote to ask her how she was and of course sent warmest wishes; It is a sad reason that I am without a reply. I am taking the risk (hope the file is not too big) of including my photo of her in 1989 at the Group meeting. there is another photo as well, with her on the same seat surrounded by colleagues, including Dana. Joan is the fourth of those colleagues to ‘pass on’.

    Cannot get the photo pasted into this comment box; can I send it separately somehow?


  88. Good-bye Dear Joan,

    Joan, you would very much like the space between “passed” and “on” in the subject line of the e-mails I received about your passing. And you would be able to share for a few minutes what that space might suggest in the context of your transition and the stream of acknowledgments and memories flowing over the planet since then. .

    The first memory that leaps to mind was a stay with Joan in Zurich. We spent a day driving around, looking at places she had lived and worked since first coming to Switzerland. Short walks around those places provided a perfect setting for vignettes of moments in her life: homes and workplaces humble and lofty, orchards, cattle, vistas of fields, villages and city seen from afar. It was a rich tapestry of diverse activities, circumstances, people, and accomplishments. The echoes lingered around those places.

    Joan contributed to so many people in so many ways. Joan, you will not only be remembered, your influence will linger with all of us as long as we remain here — until we too move into the space between “passed” and “on”.

    Liebe Joan, Gute Reise in die unendlichen.


  89. Joan´s death is truly sad news – particularly because I feel that I never had my last conversation with her. At my first Balaton Group meeting near Stockholm in 2008 she was particularly attentive to me, the newcomer, and gave me wonderful advise on the group as a whole, its people and of course the world at large.

    After that I met her at the annual Balaton Group Board meetings at Gillian´s house near Geneva. But we communicated enthusiastically around the Iceland Balaton Group meeting in 2010 – where I learned a lot from her about organic agriculture and food production – and she gave her insightful talk over Skype.

    Joan was truly a pioneer in the world of both male scientists and sustainability change makers. Her passing is a great loss to the Balaton Group and all her friends around the world. But since she believed in life after death, I´m sure that she is with all of us in spirit.


  90. Andre Leu says:

    She was one of the most wonderful people I have met and I will miss her dearly. It is comforting to know that she passed away peacefully and quickly. She is now with her husband, the love of her life, her soulmate.


  91. Unexpectedly, late in the day on 11 January 2016, tears welled up in my eyes. I had no idea why, so I shook it off and and went on about my business (I was just leaving my office to go pick up my daughter).

    This is not something that usually happens to me. So when I learned that Joan Davis had died on that day, I thought that Joan herself would have appreciated the coincidence.

    Joan did not believe in meaningless coincidence; she believed in a universe woven of meaning and full of synchronicity. And she was led to that belief through her own unique approach to science.

    Joan, a widely recognized and lauded chemist who focused on water, was nothing if not empirical. She trusted the evidence of her senses. If her senses seemed more, well, sensitive than other people’s, and gave her access to information that most people could not fathom, then only history will determine if she was somewhat ahead of her time. She was certainly special, a unique person in so many ways — the ballet dancer who turned to chemistry, and opened many people’s eyes to the extraordinary qualities of the simple compound we call water.

    A small but telling example of my interactions with her: late in her life, Joan became famously sensitive to wifi signals — which she likened to electromagnetic smog. She claimed that prolonged exposure to such signals caused her serious physical distress. Joan was a dear friend, with whom I sometimes disagreed on matters of science or policy, so like many others I tended to view this claim as a quirk of her character, a bit inconvenient (because it increasingly stopped her from traveling), something one tolerates with respect, as one respects the beliefs of people with differing religious views.

    At a meeting we were both attending, Joan had specially requested a room that was outside the area covered by wifi. Most people want the opposite — reliable wifi coverage everywhere — and today it is hard to find such a room in a conference center or hotel. But this conference center had a small section of rooms that were not yet covered with “electromagnetic smog”. (As I recall it was one of the reasons we selected that center.)

    By chance, I ended up in the room next door to Joan. At around two in the morning, I was awakened by terrifying screams and moans coming through the wall. From Joan’s room. I went into her, and she told me she had been awakened by severe and excruciatingly painful cramps in her legs — not something from which she usually suffered. “So sorry to wake you,” she said. “There must be wifi in here.”

    The next morning I checked. And indeed the previous week, a new router and antenna had been added to that section, to extend the wifi coverage — which the person working in reception, who had assigned that room to Joan, had not known about.

    I still don’t know what to make of this story, but I gained a new respect for Joan’s unshakable will in such matters. It was almost never possible to argue her over to a different view — for example, that there was no scientific evidence that wifi signals could interact with the body in this way, that her sensitivity was “all in her head” — because she had very credible, bodily evidence of her own. She relied on her own experience, her own senses, first and foremost, even if there was no “scientific” explanation yet available for what she experienced.

    Of course, such an anecdote — which I remember now with affection, because it created a private story between us — runs the risk of distracting attention away from the vast bulk of Joan’s professional life. As a prominent researcher, she had developed new methods for testing water quality and treating water. Later, she was a tireless promoter of organic farming, not just because of her belief in the dangers of pesticides in food, but also because of how organic farming methods sequester carbon, care for soils, and improve retention of water. She served on numerous boards, bringing wisdom and ethical principle into the proceedings.

    And she had fought an extraordinary battle of courage to rise to prominence in her profession. As a young chemistry graduate student in Ohio, and the only female in her cohort, she won an award for the best doctoral dissertation. However, when she received the formal letter notifying her about the award, the letter also explained, with regret, that women were not invited to the annual dinner at which award was presented. So she would have to be given this accolade in absentia.

    Joan told me many other stories of her life — some professional, some personal. Some happy and remarkable, some tragic. She had overcome adversity of many kinds, physical, emotional, professional, and usually through sheer force of will, coupled with a great capacity for equanimity. I cannot possibly recount all the stories that are worth telling, nor am I sure that I would remember them accurately. This is one of the many things one feels keenly, as a loss, when a beloved friend who owns those stories suddenly vanishes.

    Instead I will close this small remembrance of Joan Davis with an appreciation of her equally great qualities as a listener. She had a gift for deep listening, for making one feel heard, comprehended, and appreciated. Many people who knew her speak of a “glow” that seemed to emanate from her, a sparkle in her eyes. Even when physically delicate, she loved “bearhugs” (at least verbal ones). Even when months went by between conversations, one could instantly “go deep” with Joan, and talk about the most crucial issues, the biggest emotions, and the great mystery of being conscious and alive on planet Earth, in this remarkable time.

    I wish that we could have shared more of that time with her.


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