By Dr. Ricardo Luis Mascheroni
It seems incredible that in 1963, almost 10 years before the Stockholm Summit, a distinguished and patriotic Argentine President, overthrown by an infamous military coup in 1966, precisely because of his prob and just conditions, told the entire Nation that the soil was the resource par excellence to ensure the quality of life of all Argentines, outlining in the past, principles that today support sustainable development.
Sometimes, when the files are scrambled, they emerge as from a Pandora's box: facts, documents and anticipatory decisions of many of the things that happen to us, which when compared with reality, leave us with a bitter taste and are demonstrative of the systematic and perverse denial of the past.
Among a pile of yellowish papers by the passage of more than four decades of time, I rescued the Decree of the National Executive Power No. 1574 of 1963, by which the former President of the Nation Dr. ARTURO H. ILLIA (with a capital letter, as It should be), stated: "The" SOIL CONSERVATION DAY "is instituted, which will be celebrated throughout the nation on July 7 of each year. Understanding that agricultural land forms the most solid support of the Argentine economy , as well as its future expansion and that, consequently, the conservation of our basic natural resource is essential to guarantee the well-being of all the inhabitants of the Nation. "
It seems incredible that in 1963, almost 10 years before the Stockholm Summit, a distinguished and patriotic Argentine President, overthrown by an infamous military coup in 1966, precisely because of his prob and just conditions, told the entire Nation that the soil It was the resource par excellence to ensure the quality of life of all Argentines, outlining in the past, principles that today support sustainable development.
Today "our soil", which is a way of saying, in a serious process of degradation, is mostly privatized and foreignized and only satisfies the full needs of a few.
This decree was born at the proposal of INTA and in homage to a pioneer in the fight against erosion, Dr. Hugh Hammond Bennett, head of the US Soil Erosion Service, who died on July 7, 1960 and remembered throughout the world as the "father of soil conservation, with the aim of raising awareness about the need for its preservation, against the systematic aggression of human activities, which aggravate the natural causes of deterioration and have an unfavorable impact on it. .
The eminent scientist dedicated his efforts to achieving an increase in the yield of the earth through greater protection, working to raise awareness about the benefits of its proper management and protection.
The current crazy rhythm of exploitation and product extraction has a negative impact on the health of soils, deepening the processes of desertification and degradation, in the face of a growing demand for food and other materials.
The erosion and loss of soil fertility make it increasingly difficult to meet human needs in worrying and in many cases induced expansion, causing millions of people to be threatened not only from the point of view of their quality of life. life, but their subsistence.
"The soil, like the environment, is a system of equilibrium relationships, a very complex system (physical, chemical, biological, sociocultural) of great sensitivity to the variation of only one of its constituent factors, which produces chain reactions, especially with regard to the disturbing interventions of man ". (one)
The prevailing excessive consumerism and the explosive growth of the population are exerting an excessive pressure on the carrying capacity of ecosystems, leading them to a gradual depletion and disappearance, rendering it incapable of meeting human needs.
Overexploitation through high-performance industrial techniques, monocultures, artificial irrigation and the incorporation of pesticides and fertilizers to increase production, in a more or less long term will produce depleted land, salinized fields and advance of desertification.
The rapidly expanding agro-industrial model, especially since the boom in biodiesel and other agrofuels, together with the ongoing climate change, paint a most worrying picture with an uncertain prognosis.
To these irrational practices, we must add the indiscriminate felling of natural forests, which reduces forest protection and allows the wind and rain to wash away the surface humiferous layer, which takes hundreds of years to regenerate. In Argentina; "75% of the national territory is subject to erosive processes caused by farming and forestry activities." (2)
"We are destroying soils at least 13 times faster than the time it is possible to create them." (3)
Finally, the following words of Hugh Bennett are worthwhile: "It is important that man feel owner of the land, but that in turn he becomes a jealous custodian of its integrity in all its aspects, that is, to make it produce to the maximum, by lowest possible cost, but without reducing your productivity. "
* Dr. Ricardo Luis Mascheroni
Professor and Researcher at the U.N.L
1.- Silvia Jubany de Stangaferro, Tiempo Empresarial Magazine, June 1993, Rosario.
2.- Diario El Litoral, Environment, Desertification advances, August 14, 1999, Santa Fe.
3.- Pat Roy Mooney, El Siglo ETC, Editorial Nordan, year 2002.