By Julieta Villarroel
Do we really take care of the place we live in? Do we contribute in any way to improve it or make it worse? These are some of the questions that we have to ask ourselves more often and in greater detail.
The main cause that frames the great problem of our destruction of the environment is our own consumption. It is no longer just about satisfying needs, it is about wanting more, it is about being puppets of a system that tells us what, how and how much we have to consume.
In everyday life we live surrounded by advertisements, when we turn on the television, when we tune in the radio, when we are walking and looking at the posters.
Each time, advertisements assimilate obtaining a product within the reach of happiness, that is, if you buy what is offered, you will be happy.
It is striking that the most representative figure of these advertisements and the most used characters are children. Today in the era of technology, taking your children to play in a park or a farm to feed the animals are rare and unobservable activities, yes, on their birthdays do not forget to buy the last cell phone fashion or buy her a McDonald's happy meal; so you will make him happy.
The notion of a healthy and active lifestyle has been lost, a sedentary lifestyle and comfort are encouraged, a culture of minimal effort.
We worry about the latest trend in fashion, wanting to own what others have, but we forget the air we breathe, the land we walk and cultivate, the water we drink and the environment in which we live. The damage that humanity is leaving in the environment, being in turn the main victim, comes from many years ago.
In 1952, London suffered the first ecological catastrophe that would cause thousands of victims. A great toxic mist covered the city made the use of chinstraps common. However after five days 4000 people died and 8000 in the following weeks.
Where did this haze come from? The cause of the unknown event was nothing more and nothing less than economic. During the period of industrial development, England exported the best coal and kept the poor quality to cover its basic needs, thus when it was in operation it released a black smoke everywhere. The concern arose from the winter of 1952 when Londoners' stoves were charged more than usual.
The air gradually became polluted and many people died from poisoning. Four years later, black smoke was banned in the city thanks to the first air protection law passed in 1956. Another clear and terrifying example occurred in the 1950s in the Minamata region, Japan.
In 1952 animals such as cats were affected by a totally unknown disease near the bay of the region. Nobody paid attention to this event until years later, the same symptom was shown in people who began to have seizures, tremors in the body, disabilities that later led to death. Symptoms generally appeared in families of fishermen in the bay. To hide the problem and to avoid contagion, these families were marginalized by society.
Now ... what were the causes of this disease ?. The Chisso petrochemical company, installed in the bay of Minamata, since the 1930s used mercury as a catalyst in the manufacture of plastic. Thus, the wastewater containing mercury entered the sea directly and gradually polluted the seabed.
There were always suspicions but it was not concluded that the company was guilty, until through experiments carried out with cats the truth was known. But Chisso's secret was kept for a long time, his employees could not talk about it and if they did they were fired. In 1959 independent researchers, for their part, understood the origin of the disease and made it public.
After thousands of victims, it was not until 1966 that mercury discharges into the sea stopped and in 1973, relatives of the victims and citizens managed to condemn the murderous company Chisso. But not to go so far, in our own province of Córdoba in Barrio Ituzaingó, the proximity of family homes to soy fields where fumigations were commonplace, the neighbors themselves were contaminated.
Since 2001, 5,000 inhabitants of ituzaingó began to report cases of cancer and malformations in children resulting from the use of pesticides and agro-toxins from companies such as Monsanto, Chemical and Bayer.
The complaints were not heard until it was confirmed by studies carried out by environmental organizations that the problem was serious. An estimated 300 cases of cancer and 100% of blood tests in children record the presence of agrochemicals.
After intense demonstrations, mostly carried out by the Mothers of Barrio Ituzaingó, it was possible to change the source of drinking water with a high concentration of arsenic, the power transformers containing PBC were removed and the neighborhood was paved to reduce suspended dust. , but the installation of Monstanto in Malvinas Argentinas deepens the concern of the citizens of Cordoba.
Like these examples, it would be interesting if we start to inform ourselves and worry about what happened so that it does not happen again. From the moment we turn on a light, turn on the tap of a tap, use the air conditioning, it is up to us and our actions to take care of the planet.
Let us put aside our whims and a confused ideology of a life of mass consumption, where every time we imitate countries that damage the environment and therefore harm themselves.
The conscience of some people is remarkable, but it is not enough just to wonder and complain. We are a large number of inhabitants who consume unnecessarily, let's measure our actions, let's stop being puppets of a consumer system, let's start thinking.
In the encyclical "Laudato Sí" of Pope Francis I, the main topics discussed are mentioned above.
The pope makes a reflection on the damages of humanity towards nature, these damages coming from our own consumption. This is not about the issue of being a religion or not, believing or not in God, but rather broadening the debate and generating alternatives to protect the environment.
The message is for everyone without any exclusion, if we want to breathe fresh air, if we want to enjoy our land without harming it, let's start listening to her cry and respond.
*Its T. of Journalism/[email protected]