Saving biodiversity

Connect and respect

In Portugal, at least until the generation of our grand parents, it was usual that when people were eating and by accident droped a piece of bread to the floor, they had to kiss it and eat it after. That kiss meant full respect for the bread, as primordial food, as a source of , as something almost sacred.

There is a documentary film I saw long time ago on TV, about a tribe – can’t remember where they lived – that followed animist rituals. If they had to prepare a goat for a meal, they killed it, but not without making a before, thanking to the animal for its sacrifice.

When I was in Bonn, for the events, at a certain lunch I joined a table with japanese people. A japanese girl I had met before was there dressed with a traditional garment. I told her that many christians usually have a short pray to thank God for the food they are about to eat and I asked if japanese had some similar prayer. She answered that japanese have many prayers to thank , like thanking a tree for everything it gives us.

All these examples make me think how much people got disconnected themselves from nature and from the natural resources that provide our day-to-day living. In fact, we forget to have a thankfull attitude most of the time. The process and the highly intensive consumption culture made us turn as automats, buying, consuming and discharging the garbage.

But in fact, everyday an enourmous flux of natural resources flows from distant fields, rivers or oceans into our cities, such were most of the european population lives. Cities were we get the final produts from soil, water, forests, fully transformed or under extreme make-overs and hidden under fashionable atractive packagings.

Therefore, one thing must be done: to get connected with the real thing, with the real sources, with the real world. To some extent that’s what the film tm tried to tell us, I believe. We are living in a virtual world, with virtual lives, consuming pleasant things, but disconnected with the real physical world, its carrying capacity, its problems. “Wake up, no matter if what you will see is not pleasant, and do something” it seems to tell us.

That’s what happens with the . It is affecting directly the poor at local level, as keeps warning us, but that is still invisible in the cities, as long as we get supplied with a big nice array of products. If a fish gests extinct in some river or sea, no problem, in our shelves there will be another similar fish, noone will remark it. We have a Global Market that provides.

We rely on the matrix to feed us.
Or not.

About the author

Paula Lopes da Silva Graduated in Biology, with training in Quality and Management. Project coordinator at Quercus ANCN. Civil servant at Moita Municipality. Environment activist, ex-board member in national and european NGOs. Also interested in good governance, transparency and accountability of NPOs. Likes history and historical recreation, drawing, cartooning and performing. Roman Catholic.

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Note: this article was last updated in July 29th, 2010

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