Monday, August 27, 2007

The risks of an affluent society

Climate change is a hot topic now everywhere, and Vancouver is not the exception. Other Vancouver-centric blogs have picked on the topic, with the most recent post by Jark @ Beyond Robson on breaking ice-caps.

This weekend was also an opportunity for some good intellectual exchanges, and I learned a lot about climate change from my friend H that I did not know before. He knows much more about the topic than I do, and thus it is always a great learning experience to hear him talk about it. Through our conversations, an issue arose that I have wondered about a lot lately (and that is talked about in the climate change discourse - adaptation).

The idea of adaptation can easily be related to the current garbage collection situation in Vancouver. I have often wondered why on Earth the strike hasn't been settled and how come citizens of Vancouver have not mobilized to the point where they push the parties to settle. Our discussion centered around the possibility that maybe citizens of Vancouver have easily adapted to the current situation and thus are not in a position of hardship. I can't help but wonder if this is a risk of an affluent society, where mobilization would only occur only under conditions of extreme duress.

NOTE - While I wrote about "an affluent society", I did not intend to use the term in the same way in which John Kenneth Galbraith has used it. Not having read his book, I can't say if it does apply, so I will plead guilty to not using the term properly if I misunderstood the idea.

1 comment:

Jark the Saint said...

I wonder if adaptation in this could not perhaps be hyphenated with a semi predisposition for entropy, or more appropriately complacency. Vancouver is know around Canada (and the rest of the world) as very "laid back" and it shows in our politics, and in a thousand other ways. An article on this is up and coming... perhaps someone should write one (or co-operate on putting one together, hehe).

PS. Appreciate the plug Raul.