The Sunday Magazine

The Sunday Magazine for July 4, 2021

Former firefighter Mathieu Bourbonnais talks about the heat wave and wildfires that have devastated Lytton, B.C.; Guest host David Comon speaks to Minouche Shafik about the need for a new social contract; and journalist Lynn Berger about the myths of what it means to be a second (or first, or middle, or only) child.
David Common is the guest host for this week's edition of The Sunday Magazine. (CBC)

This week on The Sunday Magazine with guest host David Common:

Western Canada's season of fire and heat

First, an unprecedented heatwave, then wildfires of terrifying ferocity, sudden evacuations, and a B.C. village burned to the ground. For much of Western Canada, summers are becoming a season of anxiety.

Mathieu Bourbonnais is an assistant professor in UBC Okanagan's department of earth and environmental sciences, is a former wildland firefighter who researches wildfires and ecology. He talks about the destruction of Lytton, B.C., the extreme nature of these fires, what firefighters are going through, and what it will take to break this cycle.

A new social contract for a post-pandemic world

Among the many things revealed by the pandemic are the cracks in our social contract — inequality, economic insecurity, the challenges faced by families with children, the stress on our health care system, and the vulnerability of the elderly and the marginalized.

Minouche Shafik is the director of the London School of Economics and a former vice president of the World Bank. She argues that changes in technology, work, life expectancies, and the role of women in the workforce, as well as climate change, mean we need to renegotiate our social contract so everyone's needs and potential are met. She outlines this vision in her new book, What We Owe Each Other: A New Social Contract for a Better Society.

A second opinion on the myths about the second child

Are you a classic first child? A stereotypical second child? An obvious only child? We tend to put a lot of stock into the notion that our birth order, or how many siblings we have, shapes our personalities and outcomes. But according to journalist Lynn Berger, the science is in — and birth order has no effect. None. She explains why so many of us still hold those beliefs, and more, in a discussion about her new book, Second Thoughts: On Having and Being a Second Child.