Is it still possible to avoid the end of the world? – 05/14/2021 – Latinoamérica21

The recent climate leaders summit, convened by US President Joe Biden, reminds us that we are in bad shape. Even the concerned sectors of world capitalism have already understood the urgency of the moment: we are on the verge of catastrophe.

In fact, we are committing to it, a sentiment deepened by the Covid-19 pandemic. This is linked to the devastation of the environment, which generates closer human contact with wild animals and their uncontrolled commercialization, and the acceleration of human mobility around the world. The pandemic will last a long time and will not be the last.

It is important that sectors of global capitalism move, propose to reduce gas emissions and invest in clean and efficient technologies. It is already something. Something Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro and his eco-friendly government will follow without understanding.

However, these laudable proposals of “enlightened capitalism” only help to reduce the damage, to alleviate the problem, to postpone the end of the world. If, rather than postponing the end of the world, we want to avoid it, it may be helpful to draw on the perspectives of indigenous peoples, in the hope that their ideas and practices can teach us something.

Even if humanity disappeared from the face of the Earth – the most likely hypothesis – or even if capitalism crumbled, the results of the devastation of the planet would still be felt for a few centuries. In other words, achieving some kind of “sustainable development” in three or five decades does not guarantee the lives of our future generations. It is time for a radical change.

First of all, it must be remembered that there is an indigenous thought and thinker. I’m not talking about ancestral worldviews surviving in a remote region, coded and translated by an anthropologist. There is in fact a vast network of intellectuals, activists and indigenous movements that connect from the south to the north of Indo-America, the indigenous America into which the peoples of our so-called Latin America must s’ to integrate.


Let’s hear what Ailton Krenak, Brazilian environmentalist and philosopher of the Krenak ethnicity, tells us. The idea of ​​the fall is very important in his thinking. Its people have been crumbling and at war since the start of the conquest and the resulting genocide of indigenous peoples, and there is no indication that this will change. But, for him, not only indigenous peoples have been declining in recent centuries, but all of humanity. The human being disconnected from nature, has alienated himself from the Earth. But Earth and humanity are the same. Krenak doesn’t see where there could be anything other than nature, because everything is nature.

What has changed now is that, if until some time ago it was the indigenous peoples who were threatened with extermination, it is now all of humanity. We are facing the impending Earth for not supporting our request.

But maybe this fall, the end of the world, is just the interruption of a state of ecstatic pleasure that we don’t want to lose. Krenak is dedicated to imagining parachutes to at least sweeten this fall. And the possible parachute before the end of the world can be, more than a different relationship between us and nature, the effective breaking of a barrier: the acceptance that we are nature.

The lifestyle adopted so far appears to be unsustainable. For Krenak, we are worse than Covid-19. The anthropocentric perspective produces the destruction of the human being himself. Our way of life is artificial, fictitious, detached from the living organism that is the Earth. There are, however, those who are considered a “sub-humanity”, apart from hegemonic humanity. These are the people who live on the edge of the world: the indigenous peoples. For them, everything is nature, the human being integrates nature. Another world can emerge from its values.


We have among the Andean-Amazonian peoples the ideas of “living well” or “living well”. Two propositions are at its basis: community in the relationship between people, with reciprocity and equality; and a more holistic and harmonious view of the relationship between humanity and nature, where the human being is part of the environment and the current generation is connected to past and future generations.

As we can see, these proposals allow us to think of another world, in overcoming notions such as development and progress – ideas central both in capitalism and in the so-called “real socialism” of the 20th century. century and in -called “progressive” governments in Latin America.

For indigenous intellectuals who defend good living, the harmonious and holistic relationships within communities, between generations and between them and Mother Earth (Pacha Mama) are the basis of indigenous thought, being the greatest contribution of this thought of a world that is endangered species.

Mónica Chuji, Ecuadorian Quechua intellectual, environmental activist and feminist, points out that these ideas are emerging exactly at a time when, due to development, the planet is in crisis, inequalities are widening, and the consequences of this are spreading to the world. whole country. humanity. For her, living well contradicts the Cartesian paradigm which is the basis of modernity: man as lord of nature. This paradigm considers nature outside human history, the human being separated from nature, the individual separated from the community.

It is all this Cartesian conception that must be overcome if we are to avoid the end of the world. Or, more precisely, to avoid the end of ourselves. As we have insisted for so long on disconnecting from the planet, it is possible that humanity will disappear, but the Earth, Pasha Mama will survive us, and will live better without us. However, there is still time to survive, it seems, if we take a drastic turn in our lifestyles.

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