Friday, January 7


Malcolm Gladwell has a book review in The New Yorker that talks about how cultures kill themselves off through short-sightedness. And what's the signal example? The Vikings in Greenland, who refused to change from their "traditional" beef-centered diet and wound up destroying themselves by burning through all their resources with animal agriculture. One entertaining quote: "The Norse needed to reduce their reliance on livestock-particularly cows, which consumed an enormous amount of agricultural resources. But cows were a sign of high status; to northern Europeans, beef was a prized food." And: "Right up until they starved to death, the Norse never lost sight of what they stood for." Boy, good thing we learned the lesson from their mistake, huh?

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