I can tell he's too young to remember that post-Vietnam era, with drastic limitations on everything because the price of oil had just quintupled, bringing recession. That's when there was a SERIOUS feeling of "we've hit our peak and this brief historical Good Times era is gone". I was told that, despite the embargo and new high prices and new tiny cars (everybody was going to have to buy tiny cars from then on, SUVs were not a dream) the oil would run out by 2000. Not told that by a sign-waving ecologist, but a UofC Engineering professor. Which made it funny that it was in the actual year 2000, we all had to listen to the "Peak Oil" theory and told the future was, again, a Mad Max apocalypse. (Fracking became cost-positive in 1999 and took off; no more "Peak Oil".)
I admit to frustration, talking to people whose parents didn't give them the Depresssion Training I got; and my brother's "Polio Summer of 1956" memories allowed me to mock those (young) journalists who said that this event was "not in living memory": http://brander.ca/c19/#polio
Sort of a side note, but it's an eye-roll when a conservative who's absorbed too much American militarism describes Canada has having passed from one "umbrella of protection", to another. The only country that's ever thought of attacking us was America, 1812. Our military only serves other's imperial adventures, from my Grandfather helping imperial Britain pacify invaded Boer farmers in 1901-1902, to helping America spend 1 year trying to arrest Osama bin Laden, and 19 trying to dominate Afghanistan for its own sake. Russia developed nukes in defensive terror that they'd be invaded again by the West, right after the Nazis tried; they never had a plan to nuke us into submission. "Protection", indeed.
But the main point is that conservatives have, all my life, been telling me that our civilization is decadent and weak and unable to rise to a challenge. That started in the same early 1970s, with the pampered, rich (by comparison to Depression-raised parents) spoiled Boomers, who had never known war. (That's why they had lost Vietnam, raised on candy and TV and comic books, not enough spanking because of Dr. Spock.)
It is frustrating how deliberately-oblivious people can be. Half of journalism seems to be about sequel stories to messes that were buried so we could *remain* oblivious after having the problem shaken in our face: the RCMP. The military. Indigenous water. Care homes. The pointless impossibility of progress in Afghanistan. Income inequality. And, above all, ecological stress and change.
But we're also totally amazing at what we come up with when we DO get going. Not just fracking, but mRNA! It's global warming, where my optimism is highest. There will be this bad century to come, a lot more bad weather, but we'll get through it. The world added a shocking 290 GW of renewables generation last year, 50% more than 2019, which was itself a record. Despite the demand, EV batteries dropped another 6% in price, with lithium sources popping up all over because now people are looking hard for it. (So much for peak lithium.)
There was, once upon a time, this generation that had not seen a large war in three generations, one of the longest peaces in European history. It was also a century of dramatic technological improvement, vast new wealth pouring into Britain from a colonized world. Then they had to fight WW1. AND that giant pandemic. They responded magnificently.
Have a little faith, Matt.