lunes, 21 de diciembre de 2009

Tren a París

Bueno, de vuelta a París. Este viaje empieza a acabarse, o quizás a no acabarse nunca. Quizás esto es sólo el principio. Tengo que abrir mi mochila y ver todas las tarjetas de los contactos que he conseguido, todos los nombre, direcciones, organizaciones, publicaciones, libros, mapas... Ordenar todas las ideas en mi cabeza.

I feel outraged. I have just realized I don't want to witness island nations go underwater in my lifetime. Our lifestyles sinks other people's homes. And to achieve this, carbon concentration in the atmosphere cannot go above 350ppm, or 1.5ºC. George Monbiot thinks the only way out at this point is to have a severe economic downturn worldwide in the next few years. Well, if oil prices go up quickly, there could be another economic crisis in a couple of years, and then another one soon later, and then maybe people would wake up and start considering changes in their lifestyle. I am all for education, but we don't have 50 years for values to develop in young people and children. We have very little time left.

I have for the first time understood how much my actions impact the environment. I have seen myself as part of the whole, my contribution, meaningful, "agencyful", in the things I do, the decisions I make. Seeing myself flying over what Al Gore calls the "thin layer that is atmosphere", and filling it up with carbon dioxide, like a cream in a birthday cake. This year I decided not to fly and thought my lifestyle would be jeopardized. But it hasn't. My standard of living has neither worsened nor made my life more difficult. It has in fact made my life more creative and happier indeed. And it has of course made me feel that I am doing as much as I can to get the things I believe in right. Still a long way to go. Respecting the ecosystems we live in is a matter of making the right decisions. A matter of not letting oil take over our lives with up and downs, econnomic downturns which cause so much human suffering, polluting the air, the soil and the water, driving wars of conquest and throwing human rights and all post-WWII conventions into the dustbin. Same with everything else. With commodity items such as plasma TVs, video machines, computers, greener cars whose production creates more carbon dioxide than the car will be able to safe in efficiency in its entire lifespan. And people believe in this things. I used to believe in them just two weeks ago. It's called green growth, and it's the most radical thing that the world is trying to pursue today. Anything but to change the system.

We inherited the system. It worked for as long as resources were plenty and the climate was stable, but the system is now driving itself out. But because humans are inherently so culturally inflexible, when things start going wrong we try to fix the problem at the tip of it, ie.: carbon becomes a problem for the biosphere and we create carbon markets, carbon credits, carbon offsets, which do fairly nothing to drive down emissions but create huge profits, now estimated at around 100 billion dollars. And who benefits? Big multinationals, where vulnerable people are once again left behind. Namely, one of the most important financial mechanisms in the Kyoto Protocol, the Clean Development Mechanism, only gives money to huge projects in developing countries. Rich nations pay the poor to stop them from developing the "dirty" enterprises they would otherwise create, while the former are allowed to continue emitting GHG as much as they want.

An on top of that are our souls, so concerned with acquiring material wealth that we have forgotten about the important things that this world brings us: talking, listening, singing, playing, sharing, caring, engaging, involving, respecting, encouraging... How much do they cost? Well, they are actually free. So the best things in life are free, and we are willing to pay a high price not to have them, the price of changing the climate, endangering our own existence, running around anywhere looking for the best offer, the best sale retail, the fastest two-day holiday to Berlin with Ryanair, the best beauty product to remain young and famous and successful... But getting old with no dignity is not advertised anywhere. We need a cultural shift, an emphasis in those things that are important, matters of the heart (Tracy Chapman), not matters of the wallet.

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