Recently, I found myself in an argument. My opponent was older than me (by about 30 years), a business owner, and also a white male. It was an odd event, which I will not go into to much detail about, but the main presenter spent most of his talking time explaining how people my age don’t do anything to support the community. You can imagine that I took exception to his assertion.
The gentleman I was arguing with is not the same individual who gave the presentation, but he didn’t understand why I was feeling insulted. His commentary was that he helped with over 100 charities, and had never seen me at any of their functions. I asked if he had heard of Car Free Sunday or Elevate the Arts? His comment was that neither of those events did anything for businesses…and I had to wonder. In both cases, the events in question were beneficial to business, however I realized something that night.
These old guys, and gals, who are currently in power, the average age of our member’s of parliament being 51.55 years, have built the world we live in. In fact, people in their 60’s and 70’s are even more responsible for it. Thus, they are responsible for our subdivisions, lack of proper transit, and current regulatory framework that doesn’t really work for the environment, and keeps us in a damaging economic framework.
This older generation could also afford the big houses that dot our landscape. Let’s look back to when the 60 year olds of today were in their 20’s – 1970. The average price of a house in Ottawa (where I could find data) was $26,532. Average household income? In 2009 dollars the average young couple made about $65,000.
What’s the average price of a home today? Well, in Ottawa it’s $343,284 (2011). Average income is around $76,000. Can you see the disparity?
Well, this older generation; their causes are Rotary, service clubs, polio etc. My generation? We want electric cars, sustainability, Car Free Sundays (gasp). Our causes are in defiance of the world they built.
This causes an obvious and large generation clash – maybe one of the largest ever. I think it is safe to say that the leaders of those who came to age, ever since the end of World War 2, have wanted the same thing. Single family homes, two cars, vacations at the beach…
Now, what do the activists want? No cars – dense housing – sustainability – stay-cations. On top of our desire for a smaller, cleaner world, we can’t afford the monster house and two car lifestyle anymore.
I think about my son and what he will be able to afford in 20 years. Not anything like his grandparents could buy. I think we have some work to do re: changing the world…