Amazon: Opportunity for a different human project

Amazon: Opportunity for a different human project

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By Ivo Poletto

Well, whoever takes the time and pleasure to dialogue with the earth, hears from it the warning that it will not have the conditions to guarantee a favorable environment for life if the biomes were systematically modified and even destroyed. The territories of the biomes are different sources of life, although in very different conditions. To give an example, it is no more than an irresponsible and almost absurd way of being and acting what has been done in the biomes of the Atlantic Forest and the Cerrado, in Brazil. How can the Earth be kept in balance if 94% of the vegetation layer, and along with it, all the biodiversity existing in the Atlantic Forest, has been modified and injured? How can the Earth maintain the Cerrado as the biome of the waters, supplying the aquifers, if in just 30 years more than 80% of its vegetal layer was destroyed, and therefore, the deep roots of the trees and the biodiversity typical of this biome were extirpated from this territory?
Whoever dialogues with the Earth and with the peoples that have lived with it for thousands of years, respects its wisdom and recognizes that it is not possible to continue attacking biomes created by the Earth. And who perceives that, even belatedly, scientific research on the "state of health" of the Earth [3] confirms the wisdom and prophetic calls of native peoples demanding changes in the way of being of those who seek wealth at any price , you know what to do in the Amazon - which is the biome that this article reflects on.
No more deforestation of the Amazon rainforest, assuming "zero deforestation" practices and policies. This means stopping seeing the jungle as a business opportunity, and likewise the treeless Amazonian soil as an opportunity for more business. Enough of implanting the false and concentrating "economic progress" of the agribusiness model, which sees the forests and the peoples of the jungle as obstacles to its expansion. It means learning to live attending to the real needs of a dignified human life with initiatives of coexistence, dialogue and care for the goods that the Earth created for all living beings.
No more aggression to the rivers of this water biome, waters necessary to be the Amazon. Instead of the ecologically and socially destructive hydroelectric, produce the energy really necessary for a dignified human life with the use of other sources, such as the sun and winds. Instead of predatory fishing, the defense of sanctuary lakes, intended for the reproduction of fish. The diversity of life forms and the relationship of water with the life of the jungle and with the atmosphere are characteristics of the Amazon. This is how it generates the "aerial river" over the forest, a river that, carried by the winds, moistens and guarantees rain and water in many other regions. In relation to the Cerrado, she returns part of the waters that that biome offered to her. But to the region of the Atlantic Forest of the Brazilian southeast, it offers graceful and generous rains that keep it fertile.
It is enough to attack the heart of the Amazonian land to withdraw from it false wealth in the form of minerals, oil, gas; only do something of that when it is really necessary for a dignified human life, acting with the utmost care and affection, respecting the sacred areas of the towns and environmental reserves.
Plant trees in deforested areas, and not with eucalyptus or pine trees, but with typical trees from the Amazon.

Why be and act this way?

The news about meteorological phenomena all over the planet are cause for alarm and concern for all people. The Amazon itself and its peoples are feeling that the heat increases more and more and that the floods of the rivers are ceasing to be normal. They are already feeling the consequences of two great droughts, in 2005 and 2010, with human and animal suffering, but also with the death of countless trees in the jungle. And this followed by floods well above traditional rates, causing socio-environmental disasters.
In Brazil, the water crisis that affects the lives of millions of people in São Paulo and throughout the southeast region is causing concern and a search for understanding. But why did this traditionally humid and well served region come to this water crisis? In search of answers, differentiated responsibilities appear: the waste of more than 30% of the water sold by the treatment and distribution companies in the cities; the abuse of agribusiness, which uses up 70% of available fresh water with inadequate irrigation technologies; the privileges of large companies and the neglect and neglect of the neighborhoods where the poor live. In other words, the crisis is the result of the lack of a public policy that takes care of and guarantees quality water for all people. Water is a common good and the right of all people and other living beings, and not a merchandise.
However, the reflection revealed other processes that generated the crisis. The existence of the “aerial river” formed in the Amazon with its jungle, rivers, humidity and heat, led to the illusion that the almost complete deforestation of the Atlantic Forest had nothing to do with the climate of the region. But the growing imbalance that already exists in the Amazon is reducing the aerial river and, therefore, the possibility that part of it is sent to the Brazilian southeast to guarantee rain, water for reservoirs and humidity. It is now that the weight of the lack of the Atlantic Forest is revealed, that a scholar defined a "savings" [4]: ​​when income decreases, life is maintained with savings; in the case of water, the lack of "savings" now takes the form of crisis and the threat of tragedy.
Frankly speaking, the various crises and threats to life caused by climate change demand that what was done with the Atlantic Forest and the Cerrado, in Brazil, and in other biomes around the planet, not be repeated in the Amazon. It is now that we realize that the water balance and, in part, the carbon balance, absolutely essential for life, depend on the existence of extensive forests rich in biodiversity - such as those that the Earth created and offered as an essential part of the environment necessary for life.

Need to address other imbalances

A significant scientific consensus recognizes that the destruction of forests and the general aggression on biomes were not caused by the increase in the number of people on the planet. It is clear that this counts, but the root cause lies in the way in which the population increase itself was framed by the interests of those who appropriated the production and distribution of the goods necessary for the lives of the people piled up in the cities. cities: an opportunity to increase the exploitation of labor, now wage-earning, reduced by the existence of a growing pool of workers, increasingly surplus, and to increase the sale of goods, once people lost contact with the land and, therefore, their autonomy decreased.
With the advance of the capitalist process, everything is transformed into private property and merchandise, including state institutions, subordinate and at the service of endless economic growth commanded by increasingly larger and more powerful companies. And recently, by financial speculation companies, since only 28 large transnational banks control the currency on the planet [5].
For ever-increasing speed and endless economic growth, an infinite planet would be needed. But it is finite, and it is because of this that the domination and imposition of this way of thinking about production, sales and life, commanded by speculation, not only led to the private appropriation of knowledge and technologies, but also the fruits of your application. The discovery and use of increasingly intensive fossil energy sources is one of the greatest expressions of this process of domination and exploitation of the forces and goods of the Earth to concentrate wealth and power to exploit human beings themselves.
Adding everything up, we arrive at what caused the emission of absurd amounts of equivalent carbon dioxide into the atmosphere and, consequently, the progressive warming of the planet, also because, in the same process, the destruction of forests is recorded, the effect of balance of the oceans, the extraction of immense quantities of minerals, the invention of engines powered by fossil fuels, the increase in the number of livestock, the imposition of chemical agriculture and full of poisons from agribusiness, agrofuels, etc.

The urgency of a profound change

The world goal, via the UN, is to prevent the temperature from rising more than 2ºC. This requires changes in the structures of the world economic and political system, but it would be an illusion to think that these changes will be made by those who, with economic power, dominate politics. The most they will do is look for new businesses from the ecological and social crisis, which is one and has the same causes, insists Pope Francis in Laudato Si`. And one of those businesses, presented as a "green economy" - capitalist, of large companies - are called "carbon credits" and "payment for environmental services." They are false solutions, decoys. Its objective is to subordinate what remains of the commons to its criterion of value: define the price of carbon retained in trees, define the price of each "service" that nature's goods provide to the environment, placing the territories that still they exist under your guard through debt securities. Once these securities are consolidated, they can generate speculative profits, with "securities" paid for by companies that will continue to pollute and emit greenhouse gases.
For this reason, together with citizen struggles in favor of structural changes, which must be defined and implemented by COP21, and as the foundations and mystique of these struggles, it is urgent to work for a process of popular education that motivates people, communities , peoples to courageously assume the "ecological conversion" suggested by Pope Francis. It is about an interior change, a liberation from the standard of living centered on consumerism, a new way of perceiving and being with the Earth, where human beings, other living beings, water, are closely linked to each other. the soil and subsoil and the atmosphere. Assume the vision of "integral ecology", fighting to overcome, at the same time, the climate crisis and the social crisis, building truly humane societies, with cooperative relationships between people, communities and peoples, and harmonious relationships with the earth. This is how indigenous peoples propose to confront the paradigm crisis of the current world: seeking Good Living.
And it is in this perspective that, for years, many initiatives of organization and articulation of the Amazonian peoples have been carried out, especially the Pan-Amazonian Social Forum, the Articulation for Coexistence with the Amazon (ARCA), in Brazil, and the Pan-Amazon Ecclesial Network (REPAM). We can only hope that these efforts will mobilize the peoples of the Pan-Amazon in favor of a project of Amazonian life and coexistence with the biome. (ALAI translation)
[1] See, for example, Book of Genesis 2,7
[2] Those long times of the process are described in the Bible as "days", since, on the seventh, God also rested.
[3] The five IPCC reports confirm, with increasingly strong certainty, that the permanent warming observed since the industrial revolution is caused by human actions, and, therefore, climate change, which particularly affects the most poor also has human causes.
[4] See O future climatic of the Amazônia - Scientific research report. Antônio Donato Nobre (researcher at INPE). Publicação da ARA, Articulação Regional Amazônica, em 2014.…
[5] See François Morin. L'Hydre Mondiale. L´Ologopole Bancaire. Ed. Lux, 2015. Cited on the OUTRAS PALAVRAS portal, reproduced on the blog on 09/23/2015.
- Ivo Poletto, philosopher, theologian, social scientist and popular educator. He participated in the Comissão Pastoral da Terra, Cáritas Brasileira, Pastorais Sociais. Currently, he is a national advisor to the Mudanças Climáticas e Justiça Social Forum and a member of the Pan-Amazon Ecclesiastical Network -REPAM.
* Article taken from issue 508 (October 2015) of ALAI's Latin America on the Move magazine that, under the title “Climate Change and Amazonia”, addresses climate change from the Amazonian reality, mainly with contributions from members of the Ecclesial Network Pan-Amazonica (REPAM).




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