When we find remains of beavers, we assume they built beaver dams, even if we don’t immediately find remnants of such dams. The beaver dams are part of what biologists would call the animal’s extended phenotype, an unavoidable necessity of the ecological niche that the beaver occupies. When we find Homo sapiens skeletons, however, we instead imagine the people naked, feasting on berries, without shelter, and without social differentiation.
Lysenko vs. Vavilov feels like the 20th century version of Edison vs. Tesla.
A deeply thoughtful piece (as always) by Wilson, on the mindset needed for a sustainable way of working.
When we start with the assumption that optimizing for rapid, unbounded growth is a goal, we immediately narrow the possibility space. There are only so many choices we can make that will get us there. The same choices that made annual monoculture and the shopping mall the most efficient engines for short-term growth and profit are the same qualities that made them unsustainable in the long term.
There are more ways to scale than growth. There are more ways to deepen our impact than just reaching more people. What if we put just as much effort into scaling the impact of our work over time? Can we build digital products around sustainable systems that survive long enough to outlive us, that are purpose-built to thrive without our constant cultivation?
This is a superb talk by Mark Lynas who once spearheaded the anti-GM movement, and who has now completely changed his stance on genetically-modified crops. Why? Science.
You are more likely to get hit by an asteroid than to get hurt by GM food. More to the point, people have died from choosing organic, but no-one has died from eating GM.
Amazing news! George Bush says, "Let's get rid of all subsidies together. Let's join hands as wealthy industrialised nations and say to the world, we're going to get rid of all our subsidies together."
Kick All Agricultural Subsidies. Here's a blog I can really get behind.