The thaw of our consciences

By Joaquín Ruiz

In these days of confinement and reflection, images of impressive landscapes in full process of transformation have come to my mind. I would like to highlight the glaciers of the great Jotunheimen mountain range in eastern Norway, which have been melting due to the global rise in temperature for some years now. An effect, which after this environmental and climatic catastrophe, archaeologists have found a golden opportunity to trace the footprint left by ancient civilizations on this land and which has remained intact under the ice for thousands of years, exposing the medieval Viking footprint. That is why I wonder, can every crisis bring a positive alternative?

Nor would I want to overlook the images that have reached us all these days, through the media, of large cities with their arteries silenced, free from traffic congestion and the hustle and bustle of the crowds, used to moving daily to go to work, walk or shop. This “transitory mirage” has become a spectacle that can disturb or disconcert, but that allows us to see a hidden beauty that has always been with us and that we did not know how to appreciate.

The frontier between nature and the human world has been diluted in an ephemeral still photo, but even though many of us are eager to return to our previous life of alarm, no one can take away from us the spectacle of seeing town and city squares where the birds’ song of demand has been heard again, or to be astonished by the sight of wild boars roaming the streets as if they were now their true owners. All this makes me feel that we were not so far away from nature and that when our society stops its frenetic pace, we can see how “water can run again through its old course”, recovering a space that had been “usurped”.

This new time, in which we live, must serve to realize that humanity is fragile and that we are one more element of this Planet, but that if we want to enjoy the beauty of life and the benefits of nature, we must change, in a radical way, our way of living.

Thinkers, intellectuals and rulers continually repeat that the world will not be the same after the end of this health crisis, but what we should really be concerned about is that this change is an opportunity to improve, and not allow this expected transformation to be to return to a model of consumerist, selfish and unsupportive society, because this whole process will not have been worthwhile, as we will continue to repeat the recurring phrase that “man is the only animal that stumbles twice on the same stone”. 

In short, a context of crisis must serve to advance. Let us learn from all this and succeed in building a better and fairer world, taking as a roadmap the Sustainable Development Goals promulgated by the UN in 2012, at the Conference held in Rio de Janeiro, which has a very clear agenda for the year 2030.

From these brief lines, I would like to acknowledge the work being done by ESIC-IMAT, for making us all aware of this issue and inviting us to carry out a committed social transformation, that is, a change that becomes necessary in our current model, which I hope that with actions such as these we can contribute, in a decisive manner, to achieving it.

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