The weather goes crazy. The Earth is overheating. Floods struck are knocked down here and there. Immense icebergs detach from ice floe, wandering down to the oceans. Blame the greenhouse effect? It seems so. Fossil fuels' fault (coal, petroleum, natural gas). They give off carbon dioxide, responsible for this effect. But carbon dioxide is not the worst of evils. Indeed, it is part of the air we breathe. It, unfortunately, tends to wrap around the Earth, as a large greenhouse, with the risk of overheating. The real evils of the Earth are the toxic waste (phenols, cyanides, dioxins, pesticides, etc.), poured on the ground and in the water. Toxic gases are contained in the fumes of chimneys and exhausts. The flow of the toxic waste increases day by day and we are trying to study and record pollution of soil, water and air, the gradual drying up of forests, the advance of desertification and a succession of mysterious diseases.
How did all this happen? Originally, perhaps, the belief that the Earth was an infinite and inexhaustible resource. Or the presumption that we could bend the nature to our purpose and needs.
On one hand this topic offers an opportunity for easy and passionate discussions, because it involves the most important aspects of our lives, on the other, raise concerns, given the unknown of natural phenomena and life itself.
It seems that nature finds in the chaos its own ability to manifest. Where our difficulty, for now, to foreshadow the fate of natural phenomena. Which does not depend much, or only, by the variables in play, as by an elusive configuration of their initial values.
It seemed that the fascinating discoveries in mathematics, physics and biology, could give the keys to uncover the mystery of life. Unfortunately, the major scientific breakthroughs have left us more doubts than certainties, more limits than openings. We don't know yet if this world is governed by strict laws or is the evolution of endless chaotic events, leading to sporadic solutions, as a result of fortuitous combinations.
The solution of the problem is, perhaps, in the things themselves. In rising energy costs restraining consumption. The scarcity of raw materials, which presses toward the dematerialization of products. The “understanding” that will replace gradually, capital and energy matters. The exhaustion of oil and natural gas. Objective difficulties in use of resources. It is true, we have coal and uranium for centuries. But we cannot succumb to the illusion of a new energy boom. The uranium will produce electricity with increasingly sophisticated and complex machines. Fuel will be extracted from coal and gas, but it won't be as out from underground.
The solution lies in the becoming of things, in the epochal shift from productive industry to a “functional” industry. And what is sustainable development, if not a moral code of conduct?
Environmental protection is a political issue, because it involves the integrity of a common good. But, it is above all a moral issue as it invokes the consciousness of all the duty to safeguard this good for us and for our children.