Quality of life: A context sensitive idea.
Some years ago my Dad had a stroke, a nasty one that had a profound impact on his physical capability. We were assured by physicians that with intensive therapy and rehabilitation, he would regain a “quality of life.”
Compared to the prognosis without the therapy, this was certainly accurate, but compared to his life prior, is clearly nonsense. Never again would he walk a golf course, drive a car, take his grandsons fishing on the rocks, or just appear in public without being an object of curiosity.
Not a pleasant thought.
So, what brought this introspection on?
Recently I did a presentation at UWS that examined the 6 trends impacting on the balance between urban living, and the agricultural activity necessary to feed that urbanisation. Regularly over the past few years I have seen advertising for various developments that take farmland and turn it into massive housing estates, and the line used inevitably seems to be something along the lines of the “quality of life” they deliver. I saw another one last night, and gagged. it resembled an ad for a soap powder, or some other consumer product, full of hyperbole, “cutsey” pictures, and whimsical claims of the domestic bliss coming from buying an overpriced box on a tiny patch of dirt.
A short time ago this dirt was highly productive land that had fed Sydney for the last 150 years, and now it is an expanse of macadam, concrete, flimsy project homes, with a bit of green left for “family picnics” and a pond for any ducks that turn up to be fed.
At some point we need to define in what context we talk about “quality of life”, and how we will get on with that life without easy access to agricultural commodities, and the value added products they produce.