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Old 08-07-2012, 01:18 PM
 
Location: Purgatory
2,663 posts, read 5,008,988 times
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Here's a thought I've been pondering....

How much do you think the climate in Britain has molded our culture over the centuries? Has the generally mild, but often gloomy weather made is who we are in many respects, as in quite reserved, low key and rather self-depreciating?

I look at a country like Australia, which is still predominantly (ethnically) British / Irish, yet Australian culture has evolved into something quite different. It makes me wonder if Britain's climate changed to a sunnier, Mediterranean type climate tomorrow, would our culture change quite drastically, say over a span of 100 years or so? Would we become more outgoing, less self-depreciating as Australians seem to be, or would we remain the same?

I had a conversation along these lines with a Scandinavian friend of mine who like me, believes that climate plays a major role in influencing a particular culture. He mentioned that Scandinavians are quite similar to British people in many ways, perhaps being even more "low key" than we are.

What are your thoughts?
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Old 08-07-2012, 05:24 PM
 
Location: SW France
15,217 posts, read 15,772,483 times
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I'm not sure how to kick this off, but here's a thought; apparently the UK has one of the highest, if not the highest, rates of ownership of convertible cars in Europe.

To me that says that we make the most of what we've got.
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Old 08-08-2012, 05:21 AM
 
Location: Paris, France
327 posts, read 960,990 times
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Absolutely climate plays a huge role in culture.

It's hardly news to anyone that in warm Mediterrainian countries, live is lived outside on the street more and consequently the culture is more extrovert, some would say "warm", although the hot climate some would say has something to do with the manana languidness that is a Mediterrainian stereotype. I'm sure we would take siestas and have the whole of August off every year if Britain was boiling hot during these periods. In northern Europe, the colder, gloomier weather makes life shift indoors a lot more - which has a knock on effect on the general culture. People drink more, hang out on the streets less, and live is lived more "privately" and "indoors".

However I think other factors, such as religion, the country's institutions, and history play a bigger role in forming a culture than climate.

To use your examlpe of Australia - its southern coasts have a Hot-summer temperate (or "Mediterrainian") climate - but I don't see that many similarities in the culture to that of Italy or Spain. The outgoing informality for which they are famed is more a result of the New World, settler society that has developed on the top of the Anglo-Celtic base - ie. it is the country's institutions - rather than the climate - that have modelled the culture, and they share this with the US and Anglo-Canada. Australians have shed much of Britain's class structure which is a result of the more inclusive institutions that that country has developed. Any "mediterrainian" aspects to Australia's culture (eg love of good coffee) there might be stem from the influence of C.20th immigration of Greeks and Italians, not the climate.

Likewise there are many parts of the world that share an identical climate but have developed very different cultures: southern California and southern Spain; Ukraine and the midwest of the United States; Singapore and the Congo... there are other MANY other factors at play.
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Old 08-08-2012, 04:46 PM
 
Location: SW France
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If climate plays such an important role in culture why the heck did we invent cricket?
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Old 08-15-2012, 11:45 AM
 
Location: Between Heaven And Hell.
11,956 posts, read 8,655,499 times
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Misery, I think that's a good word to describe what much of our weather causes.
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