Two NYT Articles

“Simpler is better” could be the category for two recent NYT articles.

One article concerns a Greek island and its long-lived inhabitants. The article,”The Island Where People Forget to Die,” looks at the interconnecting factors promoting long, happy lives where island men hit 90 years old 4 times the rate American men do.

On the island, Ikaria, everything’s hitched together forming a human ecosystem of culture, belonging, and purpose. This seems to create default good choices for the islanders. You grow a garden and eat from it because that’s what your neighbors do too. You’re rarely alone because of the frequent socializing around either coffee, local herb tea, or wine from your neighbors’ vines. You don’t use a clock nor do the other islanders so everyone wakes naturally; and often stay up late. The community and its members are self-sufficient.

The community and individual behaviors are intertwined and all the islanders are on the same program. There’s very little fear, consumption, or hurry. ¬†Life on Ikaria is the opposite of what we often find elsewhere, where more and more people are failing to interact with the value system they’re living within which probably leads to lots of longevity and health problems.

The other article, “A Simple Fix For Farming,” is about a scientific experiment that shows shifting to longer crop rotations and re-introducing animals into those rotations gave better yields while greatly reducing fertilizer and pesticide needs. And the experiment, by the USDA and Iowa State University,¬†showed the recommended shifts doesn’t reduce the farmers’ profit.

This isn’t a polarizing finding about organic farming practices versus orthodox, large-scale farming. The recommendations are an alternative to industrial style farming because longer crop rotations and re-introducing animals into the mix allows farmers to fine tune their chemical use rather than just using expensive chemicals on a strict schedule.

There’re no costs assigned to environmental effects, so less fertilizers and pesticides will be a just a plus there. But farmers can save costs assigned to purchases from chemical companies and put those saving toward the bottom line.

Both of these articles are worth the read.