Small-scale active ecology networks

More and more there are local initiatives which, in their small field of action, contribute to questioning the manner of understanding the world or worldview. Constructed on purely productive and economic aspects which displaces the central focus which deserves vital aspects such as the welfare of people, food sovereignty and the preservation of biodiversity or environmental protection.

It is striking that western societies are practically the only ones that are not conscience of the interdependence which links us to nature to maintain conditions of life, causing a great radical fracture between nature and culture which characterises its worldview, separating people from the rest of the living world. Nevertheless, we are profoundly interdependent of the natural world and the care and attention that others give us. Like every living thing, we are tremendously vulnerable; our bodies age, become ill and die all the while need care from others, just like the environment needs our attention and care.

The notion of economy that this worldview proposes creates a type of illusion in which the conventional economy appears to "float" above bodies and territories, without depending on them and establishing a separation around the economy and everything else related to notions of life. Within the framework of the conventional economy, the economic progress of a country is measured by the scale of the economic activity in the market, by the improvements in productive efficiency, etc. Following this logic, the conventional economic indicators do not reflect how processes, goods and work are enriched, essential from a point of view of the environment and the welfare of people. To the point that certain deteriorations and subsequent repairs can be considered a factor of wealth: businesses related with wars, illnesses or environmental destruction, among others, because they are considered monetary exchanges.

Nevertheless, human life, and economic activity as part of it, is not possible without nature or the jobs which imply attention and care to guarantee the balance with the means and social reproduction. Behind this reality, western society has been structured by putting the markets at the centre of its economy and the economy at the centre of its social organisation. In its logic, the notions of economic growth and property are above questions as essential as maintaining life healthy and comfortable, a right for all people as well as the environment which sustains us.

This diagnosis indicates the need to activate an ample social debate on the constituent principles of a viable and just society. Some critical voices point to the need to reduce the size of the economic sphere or to decrease economically, arguing the urgency of an immediate action for questions stated like the energy decline, faced with the rhythm of mineral and fossil resource depletion, the disproportionate creation of waste, climate change and the alteration of natural cycles.

To work for a change in the current model to another which places the sustainability of human and natural life as the central axis is not incompatible with the putting into practice alternate initiatives and experiences.

More and more, people are conscious of the unsustainability and injustice of this system and are motivated to move into action at a local scale: some begin by cultivating social vegetable gardens by taking advantage of abandoned urban plots which nobody has ever paid any attention to, those who organize themselves in agro-ecological consumption coops and those who in the face of precariousness or unemployment even launch integral coops, among other examples.

These experiences constitute true social laboratories as well as satisfy concrete needs for those who participate in them. Caring and pampering these projects is important even if they are small and do not suppose a global alternative.

From multiple areas of critical thinking there are different viable proposals which have been prepared, maybe not well connected but there is a possibility to do it. There is an important task there: to overcome partial visions and create a common account. The difficulty comes from the unequal correlation of strengths which exist between the offensive of the dominant neoliberal system and the social response. The challenge is to create a network, replicate and interconnect small initiatives, and overcome the complex which the small suffers under the threat of the giant.

Film: Agronautas

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  • San Sebastián Donostia 2016
  • Construyendo San Sebastián
  • Donostiako Udala. Ayuntamiento de San Sebastián
  • San Sebastián: ciudad de la cultura
  • AIETE: Casa de la Paz y los Derechos Humanos