By Isabel Pita
The environment has become "the economic issue par excellence" and ecology and the economy cannot be separated, the anthropologist Emilio Santiago Muiño assures EFE, for whom "humanity has been living above its ecosystem possibilities for three decades."
So says Muiño, who has just published “Routes without maps. Ecosocial Transition Horizons ”, a book in which he argues that society requires a radical transformation of its ways of life, both politically and economically, to save the planet.
"Sustainability and the transition towards a post-capitalist model is not a simple option but an imperative", Muiño says emphatically for whom "the depletion of fossil resources and climate change introduce factors of social destabilization that will mark the trends of this century" .
"In which the environment becomes a central issue, with a series of social and vital consequences at all levels," he adds.
Regarding the possibilities of solution, in the researcher's book some ideas are considered "in the form of flares to illuminate some paths and other concrete proposals are developed to get out of the current paralysis".
The possible solutions are articulated, according to Santiago Muiño, around three fundamental axes, one is the change of the metabolism of our economies with the ecosystem, which has to do with issues such as decarbonizing, that is, changing the matrix of our industry based on in fossil materials, and the redesign of production in the industrial system ”.
Growth, an activity incompatible with the limited system of the planet
But that, according to the anthropologist, is unfeasible if there is no transformation of the socio-economic system that makes it possible for society to function without the need to grow.
"Growth is an activity that becomes incompatible with a limited system of a planet whose resources are dying," he emphasizes.
This change also requires an anthropological change, which would be "that third axis that has to do with the reinvention of an idea of happiness, of our desires, which are what motivate us to undertake social actions," Muiño said.
"Those would be - continued the anthropologist - basically the three axes for a change in sociological and ecological metabolism, which would be needed for the transformation of the social system to be compatible with a more austere energy consumption, and for this a cultural change would be needed."
"We have a very deep deficit of consciousness"
"I think we have a very deep deficit of conscience, because," said the anthropologist, "if you ask people on the street which ministry is more important, the Ministry of the Environment or the Ministry of Economy, they will answer that Economy, without understanding that things go together and that the environmental issue has become the economic issue par excellence ”.
If there were conscience, Emilio Santiago Muiño did not doubt that “we could improve everything else, but the problem is that sometimes there are inertias, fetishes and all kinds of behaviors encompassed in collective irrationality, in addition to vested interests so that“ nothing changes and who fight to stay, and that generates conflicts ”.
However, the author of "Routes without a map" assured that he has a lot of hope, "the outlook is bleak, but I think that no type of outcome can be taken for granted, so hope must be cultivated almost tenaciously."
Because, as Emilio Santiago Muiño concluded, that is “the only muse that can inspire us to make the changes we need. People are mobilized much more by hope than by fear and, therefore, it is convenient, even tactically, to maintain it ”.