Discover more from Looking Forward by Stephen Johnston
Four For Friday | September 8, 2023
LF79 | Netflix's Blue Zones, a free systems mapping toolkit, NYT on aging and David Brooks on the new stage of life.
Welcome to a Looking Forward’s Four For Friday. Four things that have piqued my interest this week. Enjoy!
Blue Zones on Netflix
An eminently digestible documentary about Blue Zones. It provides a colorful global tour – you can almost taste the olive oil, hand-made bread and Japanese pickles. It also asks an urgent question: why aren’t we doing this everywhere? The series ends with Singapore, which, as ever, seems to be at the vanguard of city innovation 2.0.
It’s worth noting that there’s an almost perfect match between designing awesome places where people enjoying their lives, and the elements that spark longevity. Policy makers should not be afraid to include health and longevity considerations in their planning; in fact it’s only via an enlightened regulatory environment that this type of thing will scale.
The most weighty (and troubling) insight for me was hearing Dan Buettner say that some of the Blue Zones that he discovered in 1999 were now fading away under the ravages of modernity (in particular fast food). For example, original Blue Zone poster-child Okinawa is now the most obese place in Japan.
Systems mapping template
This free, easy-to-use systems mapping toolkit template is a good way to get started for those looking to map systems. It uses a worked example of mapping the ecological and social impact of fast fashion for those looking for a place to start. [Note: If any readers wants to use it to map the healthy longevity ecosystem, let me know.]
NYTimes on aging in America
A special report by the New York Times on aging in America, with pieces on the caregiving crisis, making streets safer and how Silicon Valley entrepreneurs are ignoring the market of older adults. The latter article could have been written at any time over the last decade, but unfortunately is still relevant today.
The new old age
David Brooks in The Atlantic discusses the next phase of life that is emerging – equivalent to how the teenagers emerged earlier last century. Another massive opportunity hiding in plain sight - helping harness the talent, energy and expertise that’s too often overlooked by our sub-optimal economic and social system.
That’s all for this week. As always, feedback welcome. Feel free to share insights or links of interest.