Image: The consequences of climate change. Credit: NASA - Photo: 2018

Reverse the ‘Individualising Imaginary’ on Climate Change

By Maurizio Fratta

ROME (IDN) – The data collected by climatologists speak clearly: since 1880 – when surveys began – the summer of 2017 in Italy was the second hottest ever; the month of August recorded an average thermal excess of 2.5°C, with the fourth day of the month the hottest in the last 60 years in many cities of the country’s centre.

That 2017 turned out to be Italy’s second hottest year ever (after 2016) is full confirmation of global warming scenarios.

The Italian summer of 2017, the fourth driest ever, will also be remembered for the serious water crisis caused by a dramatic reduction in rainfall throughout the country (-41 percent compared with seasonal averages), with serious repercussions on the leaking network of Italian aqueducts.

A season that will go down in history also and above all for fires: between June 15 and September 14 about one hundred thousand flared up (there were fifty thousand in 2016), one every 100 seconds, more than a thousand a day: from that of the Castel Fusano pinewood on the Roman coast – near the estate of the President of the Republic located in Castelporziano – to that of Vesuvius and its park, from the blaze in Sulmona to that of Monte Morrone, the peak of Celestino V.

On some days it seemed that the whole country was on fire. At the first rains – with the humus gone up in smoke – ashes consequently turned into mud, contributing to an increase in hydrogeological instability.

The fact is that the effects of climate change are now visible to all: no living being has contributed to alter the life of our planet so deeply – and so quickly – as man.

Overheating of the Earth, determined by the greenhouse effect and related to the increase in CO2 emissions, is only one of the factors behind the planetary environmental crisis. Taking into account ocean acidification, the disproportionate use of fresh water, the overproduction of waste, fishing, deforestation and the vertical fall of biodiversity, it should be clear that in many natural processes the limits have already been exceeded.

Beyond the necessary change in lifestyles, the battle to reverse this trend would require a collective action, but politicians are unable to propose any credible alternative.

Worthy of note here, among others, is the contribution of physicist Gianni Mattioli entitled “The parabola of food from gift to consumption to market” on the occasion of the l’atrapagina magazine’s 23rd convention which was held in Città di Castello in September 2015.

Starting from the fact that some parameters – for example of CO2 – have been exceeded, Mattioli pointed out how this could cause rupturing of the stability of the planet’s physical-climatic system, altering and upsetting periodic phenomena such as seasons, winds and sea currents, with the risk of giving rise to unpredictable chaos.

That meeting was also attended by the Un Punto Macrobiotico (UPM) national and International association, founded by Mario Pianesi who has been working in the field of agriculture and food for over thirty years with full respect for the environment and promotion of the health of the human being.

Reflecting on this joint work with Chiara Giallorenzo, president of the UPM Centre in Città di Castello, and with the adhesion of the “Mario Pancrazi” Study Centre – an association that pursues the “enhancement of the culture of mathematics” – a conference was organised to tackle the issue of climate change starting from the effects found in Umbria and in Alta Valtiberina, and that did so by highlighting the relationships among environment, agriculture, food and health.

In order to reach an overall vision, naturalists, farmers and doctors were asked for their assessment with the aim of proposing a multidisciplinary approach that is able to identify a possible path of mitigation of the consequences of global warming.

In a territory where the abuse of pesticides used in industrial agriculture has severely contaminated surface water and groundwater, where the widespread presence of landfills and composting plants has poisoned soil and air and where rail transport has been marginalised irresponsibly – and finally suppressed in favour of vehicular (individual) transport, the primary source (along with that caused by animal breeding) of CO2 emissions – it is no longer possible to continue to pretend nothing has happened, considering in particular the high rates of incidence of some types of cancer found both in the adult population and in childhood and youth in general.

If it is true – as Amitav Ghosh writes in The Great Derangement: Climate Change and the Unthinkable – that indifference towards current catastrophes is the result of our individualism and our adherence to the dominant model of life and consumption, it will only be possible to face this challenge by becoming aware of what has happened and what is happening, thus finding “a way out of the individualising imaginary in which we are trapped”.

This article was originally published in Italian under the title Rifiutare l’Immaginario Individualizzante per Invertire gli Effetti del ‘Global Warming’ in Utopia Rossa. Translated by Phil Harris. [IDN-InDepthNews – 08 April 2018]

Image: The consequences of climate change. Credit: NASA

IDN is the flagship agency of the International Press Syndicate –

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