May 30, 2006
Up until a few days ago it seemed like we may have been looking forward to a mild summer, but two record-breaking days later it seems there is no such luck. With a high of 35 degrees Celsius (that’s 95 F in America), under a thick blanket of smog, Toronto has suddenly entered the stinky, sticky, summer.
I know this isn’t a fashion post, but I do have interests outside of fashion, and so do you. The fate of human beings living on the earth depends on a delicate balance of factors. I have just read Bill Bryson’s A Short History of Nearly Everything and the most amazing thing about that book was the realization of how many extremely unlikely events came together to allow human beings to exist at all. While I have no doubt that human beings will continue for many thousands of years yet, as we are tenacious and hardy, I worry about our civilization. Civilizations are fragile, dependent as they are on the vagaries of weather and resources. I love my lifestyle – I enjoy comforts and entertainments that are so wonderful, I live a rich life despite being a poor university graduate. But it’s apparent that my life, and the lives of so many around me, are unsustainable. In the future we will have to learn to live with much less, if we want to stay alive.
Are you looking forward to An Inconvenient Truth?
I am. I’m hopeful that an interest in sustainability may become fashionable. As we’ve seen in the past with civil rights and women’s rights, fashionability for a cause has a great deal of influence on the political motivation for change. (See, I’ve tied in fashion!) Shiny movies help. So do blog posts. More than anything, so do massive heat waves and smog days. People need to make the connection between their actions and their environment, and nothing will do that sooner than discomfort. Unfortunately we can never rely on human beings to react logically, especially when prosperity in the short term requires myopic rationalization. Nowhere can this be seen more obviously than this continent’s bloated housing bubble… (Clusterfuck Nation is the relevant reading for this subject.)
What’s next on the reading list? I’m looking at James Lovelock. Lovelock paints an uncompromisingly bleak picture of the next sequence of events that our species will have to deal with. Within our lifetime things will likely change very rapidly. It’s apparent that success as a species will take some very tenacious individuals. I’m on the fence on where my own attitude lies. On one hand, I feel that I don’t want to “spoil the party”. This may be the last great days of my wonderful civilization and I want to live and breathe fashion before fashion ends (this is one concept behind my title, final fashion). On the other hand I want to prepare some sort of plan to survive without my modern conveniences when the time comes. And yes, I want to get used to living with a lot less and apply the concepts of sustainability to my own life and work however I can. Will it help? It would be nice, but I’m not hopeful.