random notes from our staff

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 livelihood, 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 ritual prayer before, thanking to the animal for its sacrifice.

When I was in Bonn, for the COP9 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 nature, 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 industralization 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 artificial islands 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 The Matrixtm 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 biodiversity crisis. It is affecting directly the poor at local level, as Mr. Pavan Suckdev 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.