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Towards environmental sustainability

01 October 2018

A dilemma to ponder could be the following: can human beings continue to maintain their consumption standards and consequently waste that they inevitably produce due to their energy needs and at the same time, continue maintaining the minimum conditions of habitability of our planet for future generations?

It is considered as living space for human beings, a non-lethal space for organic life (the old animal and vegetable kingdoms -excluding the mineral one), non-toxic, a green space in the metaphorical sense of "natural" and a space sheltered by the laws of ecology, where the immense natural reserves are not destroyed. According to Greenpeace: "the destruction of tropical forests is responsible for about one fifth of emissions of greenhouse gases, second source of emission after the energy sector". A space where colossal icebergs do not melt, where the smog and its carcinogenic substances are not the hat or fungus of the big cities presentation, where rivers can still welcome fishes that do not float inert on its surface, where floods do not drag "cars, bridges & people" and hurricane tornadoes are not the fateful daily image of television ... Is that space compatible, we asked ourselves, with the increasing energy needs of human beings? Is it possible to continue maintaining a western "civilization" that generates waste and garbage volumes that will soon surpass us?

Currently, western civilization consumes the double or triple of energy than "other civilizations". According to the website Consumption and energy resources worldwide: "The United States consumes 25% of the world's energy (...) with 5% of the world's population"

Regarding waste, garbage and other residues, we attach some thoughts of Jacques Lacan from Massachusetts Institute of Technology at dates as far as 1975: "The residues come perhaps from inside, but the characteristic of man - in contrast to animals, they do not know what to do with their waste ... ". If we analyze for example the waste of domestic animals nowadays, cats for example, this waste occupy more than the waste of elephant, whereas, if we think about it, they could be enormous. The discretion of the elephant is a curious thing (see source Elisabeth Roudinesco (2000) [1993] Lacan. Sketch of a life, history of a thought system. Bogotá, FCE, page 551). 

Are efforts to increase the use of renewable energy sources enough to reverse the current ratio between the consumption of highly polluting energies and the still incipient emerging renewable energies (in terms of percentage)?

Is there any study where the conservation of the planet has been quantified in time, considering the investments in fossil fuels given the high amount of fossil fuels we still consume in comparison to renewable energies?

The big international organizations and institutions make forecasts and set goals for more or less %, increases-decreases of this or that consumption, for the coming years ... but the question remains: Is there enough time for our children to inherit, what nature lent us and what legitimately belongs to them?

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