Suzuki is right, but…

One quick final point on Future NB.  I had several conversations about David Suzuki and his imperative that we need to ramp down consumption to be a more sustainable place.  I think on a macro and micro level that makes sense.  We have made little changes in our household such as moving back to a single vehicle, energy efficiency in the house, trying to buy more local food, etc. but there is an important economic development reality when we look at this at the provincial level.

We need to have a sufficient economic foundation to provide the public services we want.  So when you have a place like New Brunswick that has not grown at any sustained pace – for generations – it’s hard to translate Suzuki here.  We need to grow – strongly in my opinion – but we should do it with Suzukiesque thinking.  We have to get the tax revenue up to bring better balance between what we can pay for and what we want in terms of our public services before we look at some kind of controlled GDP decline.

But, at a theoretical level, if we can sustain our public services and our communities and still slowly ratchet down consumption – I like the idea.  It seems as little strange there has been a 98% increase in the number of houses in NB with more than 3 TVs in just 11 years or a nearly 40% increase in households with two or more refrigerators.

Percentage increase 1997-2008:

  Households having 2 or more refrigerators +38%
  Households having 3 or more telephones (includes business use) +35%
  Households having 3 or more colour televisions +98%
  Households having 2 or more owned vehicles (automobiles, trucks, vans) +17%

Source: Statistics Canada. Table 203-0020 – Survey of household spending (SHS), household equipment at the time of interview, by province, territory and selected metropolitan areas, annual.