Monday, October 15, 2007

Blog Action Day: Resource deployment

This will be my contribution to the Blog Action Day. In this opportunity I will express my opinion and what is going on with some environmental issues in my country, of course from the point of view as a foreign resident. The subject is about the deployment of natural resources in Argentina. There are two well defined opinions in my country. Namely, the ones that want to preserve all natural resources, leaving them untouched (from now on, preservationists); and, on the other one side, as you imagine, those who are in favor of their deployment (from now on, producers).

Both thoughts have some good points. The preservationists want to protect all natural diversity, including flora, fauna and native people, and the ultimate goal is to look for the natural equilibrium of the environment. The producers say they can improve the economical situation of people in general by generating many jobs, and producing a chain effect in the general economical and financial scheme.

And the bad points: with the preservationists' point of view it should not be possible to do nothing else than a subsistence life pace, just receiving what we can get barely from the earth. The producers though, go to the other extreme, where the money is above everything.

In my country, now everything what is done in environmental matters is more merely is in the extreme case of the producers: just get as many money as possible. Money that is distributed among a few capitalists, generally foreign capitals. There is a very small fraction that comes back to the 'town' in form of taxes that in general is in the hands of corrupted politicians that use this resources to their own interests, when this taxes should be destined to diminish the impact of the deployment of the natural resources. Even if this revenue were re-invested as the to do so, the amount is ridiculously small.

One example are the mines in the province of San Juan. There some foreign companies are deploying thousands of hectares. The taxes that the government perceives are used to finance the so-called environmental police, which main task is to control that the companies are working according to the standards. This companies are literally tearing down all mountains, extracting some minerals which are preprocessed at the mine site, and taking out of the country all the precursors for the metals. This preprocessing means taking millions of thousands of clean water and pouring it back into some contention lakes. This lakes leak all this very heavy metals into the subterranean water curses. Meaning this, poisoning all inhabitants down river, and producing a devastating desertification process over there. And the most funny thing: the precursors for metal are exported, and the pure metals, after the corresponding process are imported to the country, to a cost ten times greater than the precursors. All this at the benefice of at most 40 work positions...

In my province, Salta, is very common see how the native forest are destroyed and converted into cultivable surfaces without any minimal environmental impact prevision. Such a lack of previsions is producing plenty of floods every summer, as the rain doesn't have any contention as it used to have. And all this, to cultivate soy, which is completely exported, receiving as taxes some important revenues which as I said are used as a political mechanism that feeds the corruption in the hole country.

In the middle, there are some activist groups, as Greenpeace, which try to call the attention to the population about these issues, using very controversial means to stop all this, and without any apparent results so far.

But in any case, I think that we must find a point in the middle of this two antagonistically different directions. There should be real deployment of such resources, from the beginning to the end of the production of the end-consumer chain, as in any other serious country. This way, there will be more profit for everybody in general. There will be enough money to reduce the (possible) negative effects to the environment. There will be much more work: in the production chain, in general the last part of it is the one that does so. And there will be more economical movement in general, which in the end is the things that makes a country to be prosper and with a growing economy. This is done, I think in every 'first-world' country. Unfortunately, these are the countries that don't care doing nasty things in 'third-world' countries. And even more disappointing, is the fact that in the latter countries all the nasties are possible because there is a very institutionalized corruption which takes advantage of it at the cost of the future of the common people.

Maybe, too many words, maybe without any sense, but this is at least what I think to the respect.

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