What if the organizing principle of Western Civilization - efficiency -- is a big misunderstanding? Short-term efficiency - maximizing output and minimizing input over the next quarter - may bring us faster, bigger, and more for awhile, but is ultimately unsustainable and leads too often to catastrophe. Why not think about long-term resilience instead?
This essay began when I noticed how few bees appeared in the spring and talked to friends across the country who noticed the same alarming absence. As I looked into what happened to the bees, I discovered that bee-keeping had become an industry, that we humans have seized a key ecological service - pollination - and reshaped it to be more convenient and profitable. The consequences have been dire.
Michael Pollan, a writer I greatly admire, read this and I almost got a book deal because of his interest. I pulled the plug on that project when it became clear I couldn't do it my way. The link to the essay is from a version that appeared originally at Tomdispatch.com.