THERE ARE NO NATURAL CATASTROPHES

Thousands and thousands dead or missing, millions evacuated. So far. Entire cities swept away. As if it weren’t an earthquake that struck Japan, but a nuclear bomb. As if it weren’t a tsunami that laid waste to houses, but a war. In fact, this is so. It’s just that the enemies who struck so hard are not the earth and the sea. These are not at all tools of revenge for a nature that we are accustomed to view as hostile. The war that has been going on now for centuries is not one between humanity and the natural environment, as many would like to make us believe so as to ensure our discipline. We are our own enemy. We are the war. Humanity is the war. Nature is only its main battlefield. We have caused floods by transforming the atmospheric climate with out industrial activities. We have broken down riverbanks by cementing their beds and deforesting their shores. We have made bridges collapse by building them with scrap material so we could win contracts. We have swept away entire villages by building houses in areas at risk. We have contaminated the planet by building nuclear power plants. We have bred jackals by aiming for profit in every circumstance. We have neglected taking precautionary measures against such events, concerned only with opening new shopping malls, new railroad and subway lines, new stadiums. We have allowed all this to happen and repeat itself by delegating to others the decisions that concern our lives. And now, after we have devastated the world in order to move faster, to eat faster, to work faster, to live faster, we still dare to complain when we discover that we also die faster? There are no natural catastrophes, there are only social catastrophes. If we don’t want to go on being victims of unforeseen earthquakes, unusual floods, unknown viruses and so much else, the only thing left for us to do is to act against the real enemy: our way of life, our values, our habits, our culture, our indifference. It isn’t against nature that we need to urgently declare war, but against this society and all its institutions. If we are not capable of inventing another existence and of fighting to realize it, we must prepare to die in what others have arranged and imposed. And to die in silence, as we have lived.
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