Monday, March 16, 2015
"Ikaria: the Island where People Forget to Die", a "Blue Zone" on Bill Weir's "Wonder List" for CNN
Bill Weir’s “The Wonder List” on CNN continued Sunday night with “Ikaria: The Island where People Forget to Die”. The main link is here.
Ikaria is a rocky island in the Aegean Sea off the coast of Greece, part of the country. It has little space for natural harbors, so the residents have less contact with the outside world that usual.
Weir introduced the place with the story of 67-year-old man who returned to his ancestral homeland from New York, with terminal lung cancer. He wound up living 37 years longer.
The long lives in this “Blue Zone” are attributed to diet and to extremely connected social structures through extended families.
People eat what they can pick, grow, or sometimes catch. Mostly they eat vegan, but they pig out about once every two weeks. The diet contains lots of honey and anti-oxidant plant oils; lots of fruits, vegetables, grains, and especially beans.
People tend to have many children, and elderly relatives stay in family homes. But people keep working until 100; the maximum age for a small business loan is 102.
So the place seems a bit like an “intentional community”. People don’t pursue their own individual goals for innovation, requiring their own contact with the rest of the planet, like the rest of us do. People accept extended social relations and intimacies within the family that many of us would reject, and insist on being free to reject. People “take care of their own”, but the reach beyond “their own” is limited.
Weir also visited Loma Linda, CA blue zone, largely populated by Seventh Day Adventists, who have a lifestyle similar to Ikaria.
Wikipedia attribution link for photo by Stelios Kirousis, licensed under Creative Commons 2.0 Share-Alike.