07/12/2021

On the edge

3 min
To the cornice

If the covid pandemic has taught us anything, it is the interrelationship between societies and individuals on the planet, seen as a chaotic dynamic system. We have never seen so clearly the butterfly effect, which explains how a small change in a system can end up causing far greater consequences in the short or medium term.

The fluttering of our time has been a virus whose exact origin we still don't know. In principle, it initially emerged in a market in Wuhan, where a multitude of animals capable of harbouring pathogens dangerous to humans were sold. But the lack of transparency on the part of the Chinese authorities still leaves many questions unanswered. Among them, how the pandemic spread precisely from the same city that hosts a maximum security virology institute, known for its work on bat coronaviruses and with a team that has collected more than ten thousand samples of these animals in China. As Xi Jinping says, "science has no borders, but scientists have a homeland", and therefore it will be a long time before the Chinese dictatorship is able to act with the transparency that the international community would need to know how the flapping that ended up stopping the entire planet occurred.

The slow and unpredictable evolution of the covid crisis should allow us to stop and reflect on what the way out should be, and how to adapt it to the climate emergency, which we still prefer to look away from. Inebriated on our selves and our well-being, we prefer to take refuge in ignorance instead of looking at the need for change in many aspects of our daily lives in the smallest gestures. However controversial the debate on changes in food consumption may be, we don't want to turn away from reflecting on the global costs of our way of acting and ask ourselves how long we can ignore the fact that humanity is one

The world's most diverse savannah

A team from the newspaper, formed by journalist Sònia Sánchez and photojournalist Ruth Marigot, has travelled to the most diverse tropical savannah on the planet, the Brazilian Cerrado area, to follow the path of the extensive cultivation of soybean. Soy, which arrives in Europe as a final destination or on its way to China, and to see the consequences. Nowadays in Europe, 87% of soy is used to make animal feed and to a lesser degree to the production of biofuels and food production.

Our reporters have listened and explained to us how deforestation ends up causing the disappearance of water, and they have encountered land grabbing and violence against local communities. They have witnessed the burning of land, explanations on how the traditional peasants are deceived with false land titles which will then be passed on to big producers. The report also denounces the use of many agrochemicals considered highly toxic by the European Union, which pollute the waters of rivers, marshes and ponds, and harm the drinkability of water and access to fishing.

In addition to the use of soy for animal feed that we consume ourselves, we are also witnessing the side effects of a global food market that can lead to the paradox of using soy in many organic foods. We must keep in mind the fact that purity and virtue do not exist and that only with good information can we decide as consumers how we can reduce our ecological footprint in each of our gestures.

The activist Yayo Herrero, engineer and anthropologist, explains to ARA that we are not aware of our limits. I would like to think with more optimism than rationality that we still have time to work on technologies that help us grow in a different way, more fairly and causing less harm to the world around us. A growth that doesn't wipe out those who have less at the cost of literally fattening us up in rich countries. Herrero explains that a young woman from Fridays for Future, Gemma Barricarte, wrote that "many young people are being forced to live on the edge". And how right she is! Our responsibility today is to think about a future that does not force our children to live on the edge. Every one of our gestures counts to prevent the global balance from being misery and destruction, turning half the world into our rubbish dump as if the fluttering of the butterfly did not have any effect on us.