I’m not well travelled, so I’m almost certainly not the best established to answer this question. But then, I reckon the answer is ‘a fair bit, actually, but it’s not the only thing doing’.
I can only really present stereotypes and hearsay, and I’m sure anyone with half an experience in their brain could provide counter examples, but you’ve got a few obvious ones. Cold places tend to build their culture on drinking and getting fat (to fight the cold and ward off the long dark winters). Hot places tend to build their culture on doing things slowly and carefully (to not get overexposed or run out of food/water stocks).
It’s a fair starting point, and in a weird way, it’s reflected in the place which I do have experience of, which I should probably look at now.
Here. Stereotypically, Britain’s culture is almost entirely predominated by it’s weather. It’s the only thing we ever talk about, because there’s no chance of offending anyone, and it’s always changed a bit recently, so it never fails. And it’s one of those things where no matter what the state is, you can complain.
But more than that, the cycle of the seasons has a huge impact on us. The misery predominant through this time of year (along with the Blue Monday hypothesis, which is clearly bullshit) is caused by a perfect storm of shitty weather, dark nights, and the end of a festival associated almost entirely with wasting money, drinking and getting fat.
But the other day, I was looking at some pictures of Brighton in the summer, and I was reminded of how my life will change again very soon. Summer days (still full of people complaining about the heat, naturally, or about the rain if there’s a shower or two) stretch on slowly outwards and beg you to bask in them. They fill up with dancing and singing and friends and being lazy in the sunshine.
The weather has such an impact on people in the short term, that I can only imagine the changes wrought by the thermostat being set fundamentally differently.
But I just don’t have the sample set to even feel happy making generalisations about that. (Which probably defeats the point of this whole blog).
One thing to note is that it’s nowhere near the only thing to impact, and the variety across different climactic regions is still huge. Not to mention the fact that cultural imperialism and globalisation is challenging and brushing over huge layers of cultural difference as we speak.
Culture is the weirdest thing. I once gave a presentation on the fact that it’s a process, it’s something that is done, performed, constructed, represented and imagined. I seem to remember I mostly focussed on a pun on the bacterial meaning of the word culture and a mixed feelings discussion of evolution.
The question is, does culture grow on people or environments?
Where’s the mould thickest?
Massively unqualified. Sorry.
Illustration by Mark.