The economy must change. With this statement I do not speak of neoliberalism, as the current president of Mexico does, but of a process that is increasingly urgent. Our economy is linear, which in simple terms is very harmful to the environment and our own health. This type of economy can be defined in three main concepts: produce, consume and throw away.
A few months ago the video of a turtle that has embedded a straw went viral, this fact caused many people to stop eating straws in order to protect this and other species. But is this action decisive to save the world from global warming? Is it decisive for turtles not to die? Is it decisive for our planet not to be so contaminated? The answer in all cases is NO.
Since the industrial revolution, the carbon dioxide that retains heat in our atmosphere has increased 30%, due to this the global temperature has increased by more than 1 degree.
Every second we release the heat equivalent to 4 atomic bombs, that’s why the poles are melting; If so, before the middle of this century in the summer there will be no ice in the Arctic.
As a result of that thaw every year the sea level rises 1 millimeter more, which is equivalent to 17 cm. in the recent 100 years.
If this trend continues, New York will remain underwater, the same will happen to Barcelona, Villahermosa, Ciudad del Carmen, Acapulco, Cozumel. As a result of the above, according to UN calculations, before 2050, we will enter the era of climate refugees, which will range between 50 and 200 million people. If knowing about 13 million people who fled Syria has been scary, the migration of climate refugees will be terrifying.
Every year there are more than 7 million deaths due to air pollution, which represents 12% of all deaths. Even if all the objectives of the climate change conferences were met, 5% of the animals will be extinguished because of this, and in the worst case scenario 1 species in 3.
My grandchildren can no longer see a polar bear in a zoo.
Who is to blame for all this?
The linear economy: Extract to throw.
Of sixty thousand million tons of raw material that are extracted per year, half will not be regenerated, becoming 2 billion tons of annual waste.
If you have thought or have been taught that the solution is to recycle, I will tell you that it helps, but it is not enough.
Only less than half of the waste can be recycled, but still we have to continue extracting many materials and in doing so we continue to pollute since the recycling processes themselves pollute.
Surely you have heard or read proposals such as those of Greta Thunberg, do not consume so many products, do not use airplanes, cars, or mobile phones, so less products are needed. Or also that of: have fewer children, or do not have them, so we will be less and not need so many products.
In 2000 there were 700 million mobile phones, in 2015 we went to 7 billion, 90% of adults have a mobile phone.
Every day we have more cars; In the United States for every 1000 inhabitants there are 800 cars, almost 1 per person. For its part, it is estimated that in 15 years half of the population of China could have a car, taking into account that its population is the tripe of the United States, such number would be a huge amount. You probably know that too, the point is how to solve it.
The first thing is to change to a circular economy, which is a strategy that aims to reduce both the entry of virgin materials and the production of waste, closing the “loops” or economic and ecological flows of resources. This will reduce up to 70% carbon dioxide. Urban waste could be reduced by 65% by 2030. Given this scenario, what is the vision of the Mexican government?
The Mexican government chooses to continue in a linear economy to extract for disposal, investing in oil refineries, which will extract more resources and that will contaminate more. When that money could be used to create the Mexican institute of the circular economy that invests money in financing Mexican creativity to develop new products based on that type of economy; For example, the European Union is investing millions of euros in this type of projects, thus creating in Spain the focus that can last more than 100 years, which will not be a waste for 100 years nor will it require the extraction of raw materials from planet, therefore contributes directly to the decrease in global warming.
It is unwise for a government to insist on fostering an economy that is destroying our planet and that wants to plant millions of trees to continue with this vicious circle that damages the planet so much. It’s like wanting to shower a pig in the mud. Oil is a fossil fuel and it is definitely not the future of the planet, there is almost no, so what is the use of fossil fuel as Mexicans?
The question now is what kind of fuel could replace oil?
In my next installment I will tell you about a discovery of 2 colleagues, which is the solution to many of the most serious problems at this time on the planet.
By Dr. Jorge Ledesma