Weather, floods, responsibilities

Weather, floods, responsibilities

By Luis E. Sabini Fernández

What did the territory have a few decades ago, in some cases a few years ago that it does not have now? Mountain. Of course, as Yupanqui recalled, the sick are from the poor and the dollars are foreign.

The weather has always been an excuse for conversation. The "time", actually. "What a crazy time!" It must be one of the most used fillers. At least it must have been, in those circumstances, so typical of certain social pretenses, perhaps today in a trance of disappearance, when one had nothing to talk about and circumstances "forced" to do so.

But if the climate, the daily weather, using the same word both for the meteorological state and for the course of the temporal, at one time gave that conversational void, in recent years we see more and more often that it has been constituted in real topic of conversation.

Protected in urban constructions, Buenos Aires, Montevideo, perhaps they do not perceive this ominous arrival of "the elements" so much, but they seem to be more and more "news".

Andreas Malm, a Swedish journalist, took the trouble to research the world cartography for 2007 and verified an increase in landslides, floods, landslides, and barrage storms that exceeded the average of previous years and decades. (one)

If we barely review newspaper clippings from the last two months, in Argentina, and surely several "episodes" miss me, we have in chronological order:

- At the end of November, floods in Concordia with the Uruguay River 12 m. above its "normal" level. These floods over Uruguay affected many other areas and cities, such as Salto or Paysandú, in Uruguay and Concepción and Colón on the Argentine side. But simultaneously, as a result of the same rains further north, the Paraná also increased both its level and to cause floods in Resistencia, Goya, Santa Fe.

- At the beginning of December, Las Lajitas, in Salta, was “submerged” by rainfall of 200 mm.

- At the end of December, with San Antonio de Areco as the epicenter, the amount of water accumulated in soybean fields, apparently to avoid its own flooding, was channeled into the Areco River, which could only overflow. The information does not say if the diversion of the waters to the canals and from the canals to the river was simultaneous, orchestrated or what, but the truth is that in less than two hours the river put half the city under water.

- In mid-January a new storm is released in the Cordoba region: the town of Justiniano Posse receives 180 mm. in a while. Average population under water.

These are not "permanent coincidences" as he liked to arbitrate that insult to thought that was called Menem. This has causes. Although they are not new. What is new is its repetition and frequency.

These phenomena have few precedents. For example, in the Uruguay river basin the floods of 1959 are remembered, with marks in cities such as Colón or Paysandú that were not reached now. But there is a fundamental difference: half a century ago the dam was not retaining the mass of water that this time was retained and even so, almost the same flood levels were reached. That is, this time the rainfall was much higher than in 1959.

What is the differential element of the soils that in 2009 received such floods? What did the territory have a few decades ago, in some cases a few years ago that it doesn't have now?

Mountain. Much clearing and preparation of land for cultivation in direct sowing, an agricultural modality that retains moisture and therefore does not absorb more than it already has.

Clearing and direct seeding facilitate, encourage, lead to huge runoff. And at a huge income of dollars. We already know how liquids work. From top to bottom, from the land to the ravine, to the stream, to the river. The money is different; is "up".

That is what we have now. For a bunch of dollars. A good handful. Such are the Faustian agreements. The dollars are not uncontaminated. Because the agro-industrial modality has not only meant clearing to sweeping. It has also meant chemicalizing the fields. And drive out small farmers. Therefore, we should say that the dollars come very ... polluting, flooding, evicting.

Consider for a moment the disruption to the lives of the contaminated, flooded, evicted ... the displaced

There are strong assumptions that an agriculture with enormous energy applications, such as the agro-industrial model of transgenic soybeans, despite its possible rotations, is making a strong contribution to global warming.

However, there are still those who want to keep the pig and the twenty.

It is very interesting to examine the "solutions" offered by the great beneficiaries of the transgenic soy system and agroindustrial globalization: they try to heal "wounds" but preserving "the system" that has brought such great business to them.

Mr. Jorge Adámoli, an agronomist and teacher in Exactas y Naturales at the UBA, wants to reach the shocking: “2-0-2-0.” (2) It is not a cabal, even if it seems like it. It is an arithmetic game to postulate 20 million ha. of plantations of cereals and fatty grains (it does not specify what type, but we already know, from the years of agrarian counter-reform, that these are transgenic crops) with the first two; abolition of hunger, "zero hunger", is the first zero. With the agribusiness model, what we see is a mass of poor peasantry, deprived of land that is increasingly hungry, alleviated by "help" that does not precisely dignify. The third figure, another two, points to two million tons of meat for export, which should not be so difficult to achieve having restricted the breeding to cattle concentration camps, called in English, there was more, feed lots, provided with forage by the fields yielded to agriculture. And finally, oh wonder of sorcerer's apprentices! arrive with the last zero, to have no “environmental problems”.

Obviously, whoever criticizes such a formidable goal is a madman or a stubborn oppositionist.

Our teacher sees problems, however. Not in the poisoning of fields, ravines, neighborhoods, crops, but in that there is “a strong smear campaign promoted by some environmental and social organizations […] what actually exists is a systematic and very well organized campaign against agriculture, focused on soybeans. " There are no problems; only those who invent them.

Adámoli explains: "The fight against poverty and hunger are unavoidable obligations of the State and the entities linked to agriculture should demand that a Zero Hunger program be urgently implemented."

But how, in the midst of the success of the “advance of the agricultural frontier”, how in the society of winners, as in the 4 × 4 party, can we speak of being hungry?

Yes, Adámoli himself (3) estimated the poor "from 30% to 40%." Hey! For the Argentine population we are talking about 12 to 16… million human beings. It is not a bicoca. Without a doubt, the winners are less.

Grobocopatel, which knows a bit more about this than antediluvian species still operating, has clarified that "the new model" removes a little ... what? Land? Titles? Evictions? And yes, a little of everything. And it is prudent for the anonymous mass of GM soy losers to get something to fill their bellies. Even if it is transgenic soy (which is practically the only line in which the winners are generous).

And Adámoli thus leads us to a curious mixture or symbiosis between hypermodern technologies and medieval relationships, ah the charity !: “[…] it is important to have the collaboration and supervision of recognized entities such as Caritas [sic, it must be because of Caritas and Caretas], Red Solidaria, Solidagro, etc. "

But, how to arrive at the last figure, that zero of environmental purity? Adámoli knows that there are pesticides and that these are precisely that. "For which a strong program for the responsible management of agrochemicals [it means agrochemicals, but finely] is necessary." This phrase is like a mantra that soybean referents repeat with anointing. (4)

What is responsible management? During this decade and a half transgenic, laboratories have happily flooded the fields "of the homeland" with non-biodegradable plastic drums. The mountains of many growers reach several meters high. Some, desperate, since no laboratory takes care of the poisoning it produces, decide to burn a handful at a time. A couple of cubic meters, the most moderate. With which they manage to contaminate the air with the worst known toxins (burned plastic) for several km around, probably a dozen. Contamination of new crops, poisoning of fauna and flora, microfauna and microflora, beekeepers' bees and even all the lungs of mammals and birds in the environment.

Besides, the "usual" use for such containers: a wash and they are already circulating with "potable" water for animals, orchards or children ...

There are words like "responsible management" that smell like murder spoken by referents of the new agricultural world; the world of the many dollars and the many sick. Of course, as Yupanqui recalled, the sick are from the poor and the dollars are foreign

In the showcase vision that this teacher of nature has, he maintains, closing his note, that in order to preserve dwindling biodiversity, "biodiversity conservation corridors" must be formed. It does not explain the width of such corridors ... twenty km, half a km, fifty meters?

You have to know that 20 km is not enough either. In any case, imagine avatars that in laboratories preserve intact biodiversity. In the universe made in the USA that works.

Luis E. Sabini Fernandez - Professor of the ecology area of ​​the Free Human Rights Chair of the Faculty of Philosophy and Letters of the UBA. Editor of the magazine Futures, of the planet, the society and each one.


(1) "The future is already here", futures, no 12, Río de la Plata, December 2008.

(2) J. Adámoli, "Strategic vision for agriculture", Clarín Rural, Buenos Aires, 10/24/2009.

(3) In a note signed jointly by Adámoli, Seminario and Winograd, “Los agronegocios del 2020”, Clarín Rural. Jan 9, 2010. A numerologist could make a fuss not only with Maradona's "24" but with these figures; zero and two.

(4) "Responsible management of agrochemicals", ob. cit. of Adámoli, Seminario and Winograd.

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