By Ricardo Luis Mascheroni
There has been an increase in very active sectors of society, which embraced the defense of the environment and the Planet. But it is valid to ask: Did general environmental awareness grow or did only the lexicon used and environmental activism increase? Beyond the hope resolutely placed on genuine progress, and at the risk of not being sympathetic, I must say that I have more than reasonable doubts about the social perception of the root of environmental problems, their approach, solutions and modes of action.
Much has been said and written about the environmental crisis and surely much more is what will continue to be said or communicated in the immediate future.
The profusion of news about a specific case, threatens from time to time to become an almost irrepressible waterfall or avalanche, which in a short time, clogs a large part of the informational and communicational spaces.
Botnia, at the time, was an example of this, but after the disposition of the media or for other reasons, the attention quickly languished, almost disappearing.
As a positive consequence of these sporadic events, I would dare to affirm that a large percentage of the population and communicators, of any social or cultural level, can point out, at least, several of the edges of the most controversial issues.
Many NGOs, scientists and experts have contributed in this direction.
Expressions or phrases, such as: water wars, pollution, global warming, fumigation, endangered species, deforestation, waste, grazing, open-pit mining, etc., etc., etc., integrate the everyday and common vocabulary, but also the journalistic.
What would encourage us to think, that as the levels of information grow, so does the social awareness around the issue.
I recognize that there has been an increase in very active sectors of society, who embraced the defense of the environment and the Planet, through a true militant commitment.
Therefore, it is valid to ask: Did general environmental awareness grow or did only the lexicon used and environmental activism increase?
Beyond the hope resolutely placed on genuine progress, and at the risk of not being sympathetic, I must say that I have more than reasonable doubts about the social perception of the root of environmental problems, their approach, solutions and modes of action.
In general, I observe an almost magical tendency to believe that the crisis is the direct and exclusive product of a few responsible parties (which I am not saying that they are not) and thus it is imputed to limited national, foreign or global actors.
Despite not doubting that many of the defendants have much to do with what happens to us, I believe that the mess is more extensive and nests largely in individual behaviors, although I am reluctant to put victims and victims on an equal footing. victimizers, there are.
In the table of various defendants: the government is always present; in mining, Barrick Gold and La Alumbrera take the cake; Botnia, in pasteras; Repsol and PAN AMERICAN ENERGY, among others, oil; Monsanto, in soy; imperialism and the market in everything else and let's stop counting.
I have always considered that societies are not alien to anything that happens to them.
As Gandhi said: To liberate India we must fight against the English, the Hindus, but above all against ourselves.
For this reason and in an effort of mental breadth, perhaps, we should begin to reflect on what someone said: "Much of the planetary deterioration does not happen exclusively because of a few bad ones, but because of the many good ones."
Before they jump to the jugular, I will try to explain myself with some examples, so that the impasse in which we are immersed is understood.
It is known with certainty that one of the culprits of the crisis is the oil-dependent transport model, which emits the largest amount of gases that cause climate change.
The oil industry, throughout little more than a century, caused the greatest environmental, social, economic and human disasters, with different and cruel wars under its belt.
Let's look at nothing more, the growth of private cars, which breaks a record year after year in sales, but also in the deaths and injuries it generates.
We are all mobilized by criminal insecurity, but we do little in the face of this widespread genocide, which causes more tragedies than all the violent illegal acts in the country put together.
Do you know why we don't say anything about this? Simply because we are part of the problem and we rarely denounce ourselves. As the criminal maxim says: "No one is obliged to testify against himself."
In the past, when a woman or a man would go out, they would say: “I grab my purse or put on my jacket”, today when we leave “we put the car on”, even if we travel a few meters or blocks.
Campaigns are made against smoking, which is correct, but when scientific studies show that walking for half an hour through crowded micro-centers is equivalent to smoking between 15 and 40 cigarettes a day, we exit through the forum.
Let's continue with other examples: In Argentina there are, according to sources, between 40 and 50 million cell phone lines, that beyond the 30,000 or 40,000 million pesos that are paid annually and that a large part is transferred abroad (a nonsense in a country with serious deficiencies), generates tons of waste, in many cases highly toxic and not counting electromagnetic radiation, whose effects, according to some scientific studies, could produce similar pathologies as many chemical products in general use.
Faced with this, we do not say anything either, because we have internalized its use and abuse.
So much so, that we put them within the reach of children, who lack the defenses to face these risks and whose use is discouraged by specialists around the world.
Do not think that I am a troglodyte enemy of all technologies. I believe that all of them are a means, a tool and not an end in itself, as many seem to accept.
Like any tool, it can be used for both construction and destruction.
I could review more examples, but surely you can add to the list, with urban waste, the irrational use of paper or drinking water, the degradation of public spaces, mega-markets, fast food and noise, among other problems that we help create or spread.
It seems to me that many people, not only do not question these delights of modernity, but want them and would go out to defend them tooth and nail in case of being deprived of them. Look at this paradox, while denouncing the agricultural model, many environmentalists were in favor of the "countryside" in their bid with the government.
Who introduces children to soda, junk food, or television?
Out of curiosity I ask: what would happen in France, that 80% of electrical energy comes from nuclear power plants, if an ecologist governed and announced: “I am not willing to continue putting the lives of the French at risk and polluting the environment for centuries with atomic waste, I'm going to shut down all nuclear plants ”. How long do you think you would remain in your position?
What would happen in our country? If the government that was, said, "We are not willing to continue degrading the environment, kill people, affect the quality of life of people and mortgage the future" and then prohibit individual transportation, telephony cell phone or other technologies or ventures, to which we have already become accustomed or resigned.
The pots would shine again and sound frenzied and hysterically in all corners of the country and whoever made that decision could not stay in government for 24 hours.
Any dictionary gives us the following definition of CONSCIOUSNESS: "Knowledge that human beings have of their own existence, the state in which they are and what they do." Or the: "Power to make personal judgments of a moral and ethical nature about what is right and what is wrong, in relation to oneself and others."
Ultimately, conscience is the ability to "realize" and to be able to judge our own responsibilities.
There will not be in all the above, something of that hypocrisy, which Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz masterfully denounces in her famous poem, when she says: Foolish men who accuse / women without reason, / without seeing that you are the occasion / of what same that you blame.
Consequently, could we dare to affirm that there is full environmental awareness about the crisis that we originate, reproduce and suffer from?
Do we have consciousness, we realize?
I leave it for you to think about and say goodbye until the next etchings.
Ricardo Luis Mascheroni - University Professor and Researcher - Argentina