National Geographic : 2007 Jul
A> g*y -s- -^A ^^ *-( -3 " i"aH^ 'i^-^ > ' .~~c -. '- ^-^^^ -~3~~_:* worth recycling that extra bottle to lighten our impact on the planet, the bottom line is that our actions matter, even if we don't see how. Think about a honeybee as she walks around inside the hive. If a cold wind hits the hive, she'll shiver to generate heat and, in the process, help to warm the nearby brood. She has no idea that hundreds of workers in other parts of the hive are doing the same thing at the same time to the benefit of the next generation. "A honeybee never sees the big picture any more than you or I do," says Thomas Seeley, the bee expert. "None of us knows what society as a whole needs, but we look around and say, oh, they need someone to volunteer at school, or mow the church lawn, or help in a political campaign." If you're looking for a role model in a world of complexity, you could do worse than to imitate a bee. O Locusts beyond number rise in a single black cloud in Mauritania, devouring every crop in their path and leaving hunger or starvation in their wake. Finding ways to prevent such plagues depends on a deeper understanding of swarm theory and the surprising ways it affects our lives. JEAN-FRANCOISHELLIOAND NICOLASVANINGEN SWARM THEORY 147 '4 T . ^ ' ' '* j ^ "*^*^ _^^^R ^fr^" _* t'