Bloat. Not a pleasant word. Lots of negative connotations. Put the marketers to work and they come up with a new phrase to encourage excess consumption, but with a more positive aura. Super size! That works for a while, until people start playing with the new term in works like Super Size Me. (I'm sure if corporations could protect their neologistic spinoffs from being tarnished by such creative reuse they would.)

We all are susceptible to the urge to pursue and consume more, but it is important to recognize the drive as a kind of flaw in our cognitive processing, a misbalance in our neurochemistry.

In his book Collapse Jared Diamond explores the history of various communities that failed to develop feedback and control mechanisms to prevent excessive consumption and bloat.

There are days when I feel we - the global political-economic community "we", especially the US contingent- are very much in danger of letting bloat get the better of us.

The ideology of unfettered capitalism has emerged so triumphant that it is not at all clear what force, other than natural or economic disaster (collapse, in other words), will provide the needed restraint.

What I find ironic is that nature provides, for free if we let it, an ecosystem service that counteracts bloat. The more we cut ourselves off from nature, the more likely we are to get caught up with trying to replace nature's richness through excessive consumption.

So step away from your computer (after you finish reading this of course), go outside, and take some small step to rebuild your local natural environment. Help to restore the balance and fight bloat... and in the process help avoid collapse, nasty thing collapse.

(Image is from a SketchUp design called "Moore House" as it was an attempt to build a house around/within Henry Moore inspired sculptural forms. It is an example of design bloat on my part.)