Monday, December 8, 2014

Collapse: How society choose to fail or succeed. The Book

From 1992 to current days worldwide governments have met in many parts of the world to discuss what countermeasures take against climate change. Rio de Janeiro, Berlin, Geneva, Kyoto, The Hague, Bonn, Milan, Montreal, Nairobi, Bali, Poznan, Copenhagen. Meetings, discussions, proposals, agreements always unstable, without a complete approval  and lifetime. Economic interests have continued  prevail over the environmental and mankind health. The competition between emerging countries and world powers seem an insurmountable obstacle. An endless chase  between China, USA, India, Brazil and old Europe, a run blindfolded into a future fill up with uncertain and risks. Progress is still seen as the prevalence on other peoples, other races, other states, dragged down  by an industrial system, a development system that every day is becoming less controllable, in which the Heads of State are meager extras. Only the more educated public sector has really understood what is the risks for future, for us and for the next generations. Too often governments considers secondary the environmental issues and the measures to be taken consequently. The priorities are the reduction of taxes, the gross domestic product, the revival of industry, commerce, banks with its debts, infrastructure with millions of tons of cement, the age for retirement, the cuts to the education welfare. Topics such as the reduction of the cars, the increase of forests, agricultural support, serious investment for bicycles, care of our seas, the extension of the natural parks, sustainable fishing, hunting, rehabilitation of buildings into disuse, the youth awareness on the environment, soil erosion, birth control, alternative sources of energy really clean, all arguments are often relegated to some ministry, some rumor voiceless, some political "green" who uses the bike and plant a tree for the satisfaction of some journalists. The land has a beautiful high fever, but the treatment does not seem urgent, the human race is discovered every day more poisoned, selfish and blind, despite new technologies, and new studies and new wealth that end, unfortunately, always in the wrong pockets .

Recent studies have shown that the levels of carbon dioxide are significantly increased in recent years.
The levels can fluctuate over the centuries in a natural way, the problem is that the current data show constant and sudden increases, especially in the last 30 years.The Media coverage about this news is as usual overwhelmed by more hot topic like the new "brand of terrorist", tax reduction, gossip, pile of rubbish.
Recently i have read the book by Jared Diamond called "Collapse": an historical/anthropological analysis about past civilizations and why some have resisted across the centuries and coming to the present day and others have disappeared over the millennia. An exciting ride, supported by studies and scientific data on how some peoples have dominated and conquered huge lands  without dealing with a nature that you have his biological cycles, its weaknesses and its limits.

Great civilizations such as the Mayans, the Vikings in North America, the Anasazi between California and Colorado, or small realities such  Easter Island, distant and different but with common analogies: to have exploited in an exceptional way its territory in terms of fishing, logging, mining, hunting. Nations that have plundered where there was to loot nothing but to find themselves with desertification, drought, famine, epidemics, overpopulation, wars and finally extinction. People without memory, without scientific measurements of the atmosphere, without the awareness that their actions were violent pickaxe for their fragile future.

In the book there are some common causes for all the peoples studied by Diamond.

- Deforestation leads to a depletion of soil
encouraging erosion and salinization , the most striking example is the Australian case, one of the least fertile land in the world  because of the high levels of salts in the soil. But also the disappearance of Easter Island is linked to a fierce deforestation that has, in fact, brought to suicide of a whole population. And what to say of an island that actually has two completely different realities? Haiti, one of the poorest countries in the world, where we find forests only for 1% of its territory, despite the fact that for decades, until the early 1800s, was the richest part of the island. French government based on an intensive agriculture, slaves traffic, continuous coups d'etat,  did the rest. While Santo Domingo still retains 28% of its forests, a lower rate of population, and therefore more sustainable policies oriented to preserve the territory, of course, always in a climate of corruption, lack of rights, and so on, but better then its neighbour.

- The
disproportionately exploitation of natural resources , the impoverishment of the seas for the high demands for fish products by populations increasingly hungry, in particoular the high demand from the developed Countries. ( The global fishing fleet is 2-3 times larger than what the oceans can sustainably support. In other words, people are taking far more fish out of the ocean than can be replaced by those remaining. souce WWF).
- An unsustainable population growth rate, resulting in high density populations concentrated in limited spaces, the relative reduction of basic necessities, resulting tensions, conflicts, wars for that lake or the territory rich in minerals.

In the book "Collapse" it highlights another key aspect: the developed countries have exported to developing countries a model of progress, an ideal of wealth, highly polluting, which is considered the no.1 achievement. Western lifestyles for millions of Chinese, Indian, Brazilian, and African. Cemented, extract, build, speculate, increase, in terms of waste.

China has growth rates that go hand in hand with the rhythms of pollution, some numbers: In 50 years its urban population has tripled, quintupled the number of cities. It's 'the largest producer and consumer of fertilizers, the second in the world for pesticides, the third in the world for oil consumption. His production of paper requires twice as much water than in Western countries. Everything connected with impoverishment of the soil, increased use of pesticides, poisoning of the water, destruction of biodiversity. 75% of Chinese lakes are polluted. The Yellow River has increased from 10 days without a regoular running water in 1988, to 230 days in 1997 !! 15% of North China is affected by desertification. 300,000 deaths per year and $54 billion are attributed to pollution.

All this often is hided, these nations are seen as an example of positive globalization, progress and prosperity for the people. There are not questions, not complete information, all is covered by a mountain of fictions. This is progress?!?! For who?!?! To get where? !!?

In the book there are also examples of realities that have become aware in time for their actions and have taken great measures: reforestation of Japan, Germany, France, the sustainable choices of the  island of Tikopia in the Solomon Islands, a small atoll inhabited since prehistoric times, with a birth rate control and a smart
and self-sufficient agriculture. These examples teach us that positive changes are possible, but we need of courageous choices, often unpopular choices. It needs tenacious women and men, confident and projected into the future, because if you plant 1,000 trees today you will have the results and responses not tomorrow, but in a couple of generations. Must carry long term ideas, not for next year or for a patetic short political mandate, but something we not going to see, but it will be seen by our children and grandson with benefits and immense satisfaction. If the human race will not come into this system of thought, even our civilization will be allocated at the end as the people presented in the book "Collapse".

The point of no return for our planet will not televised, there is no exact date to mark on your calendar, but many small symptoms that are in front of us every day, yet few are those who really conscience and decided to do something to avoid the steep fall of our civilization.

We have scientific research, satellite photos, a network of information which cancels distances and informs us about everything in real time, tools that ancient peoples did not possess, and yet we are still far from having found solutions shared by all countries. Discussions, meetings, proclamations, handshakes, promises, agreements not to comply and a tomorrow where to push and postpone, to delay effective solutions, but how many  tomorrow left?! Maremmacinghialaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa


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