Joseph speeded up his garbage truck to the maximum. He followed the street at full speed. In his fit of madness, he burst into the church, knocking down the front door and a piece of the wall. Inside that religious temple, he dumped all the garbage in the bucket on the ground. Upon hearing that huge noise, the priest came running to see what was happening. Then Joseph, the driver, got out of the cabin and, carrying a revolver 38 and cursing curses, shot at the priest, who already fell dead right there, near the altar. Then Joseph committed suicide, shooting himself in the chest.
Hearing those gunshots, the people of the small town slowly arrived. The scene was impressive: a garbage truck stucked inside the church, the front wall destroyed and inside, two bodies on the floor. What a horrible tragedy! Everyone commented. How could it happen?
Yeah ... but it happened. It was in a Catholic church, but it could have been an evangelical church, a spiritist center or any religious temple. The fact wouldn't have been less serious, do you agree?
What kind of forces could have driven this driver to commit this insanity? Was he in control of his mind? Was he lucid and balanced? Was it a conscious decision? Was it terrorism?
About this, I have to say that the criminal expertise made, found that the man had no trace of alcohol or any drug in his blood sample, collected shortly after the individual's death. The interviews with relatives and friends, enabled the researchers to conclude that Joseph apparently did not suffer from any mental disorder. The possibility of terrorism was also ruled out, since Joseph was semi-literate, had no computer or cell phone, and had worked at the company for fifteen years.
What then could be the explanation for such a brutal fact? After all, a sacred temple has been desecrated! This is too serious for us not to have a plausible explanation. Well, while scholars are trying to come to some conclusion, here are some reflections. With due proportions and at another level of awareness and breadth, what are we doing with the biggest of all our temples?
And what would it be? The Catholic Church, the Evangelical Church, the Buddhist Temple, or Nature itself?
Well, I believe that the latest is the greatest of all divine temples. Nature is the altar, where God deposits his wonderful gifts for all of us. Everything, absolutely everything we need for a full and happy life, is offered to us on this divine altar. Pure water, fertile soil, forests, animals, plants that feed us, that heal us, birdsong, flowers, the most beautiful landscapes….
Well then, since Nature is the greatest of all temples, when we dump our garbage on it and kill the beings that inhabit it, wouldn't we be committing a crime equal to or worse than that of the unhappy truck driver who killed the priest? Perhaps the biggest difference is the issue of suicide, because instead of a bullet in the chest, as Joseph did, we condemn all of humanity to a slow and painful suicide, which can last for several generations. Suicide because humanity itself chooses its destiny, as it destroys all the possibilities offered by this divine altar.
I speak of the inconsequential actions that we have committed, as humanity, which have as our main causes our ignorance, our inconsequence and our greed. We are ignorant when we act against that divine altar without knowing the consequences of our actions. We are ingnorant when, in addition to not knowing, we do not want to know. And, we are greedy when we add a few pounds of selfishness to our ignorance and inconsequence.
In cities, we commit our ignorance and inconsequences in various ways, even though they all already have their known destructive consequences. We spend too much water, throw sewage into water courses, disrespect lowlands and springs, cut trees unnecessarily, we plan in very badly way how cities will grow.
In the field, our mistakes are different. In general, rural producers are more environmentally conscious than urban citizens. Because it is a practical conscience, the daughter of coexistence. It is not a read, intellectualized concept; it is the result of a way of life. However, in general it doesn't apply to most large rural companies, whose bases and owner came from large cities.
Those big mistakes made by producers were planted in their minds by companies that sell toxic inputs. It took decades of investments by the manufacturers of pesticides and chemical fertilizers, until we reached where we are today.
The current concept of agribusiness is the result of billions, perhaps trillions of dollars invested in research, marketing and commerce, over the past 50 years. A well-established idea was built that it is necessary to consume such products in large quantities if we are to produce food profitably. And an image was created that the use of such products is safe and, more than that, synonymous with high technology!
So, the vast majority of food producers end up being convinced, or sometimes submitting, in the face of such economic and “scientific” power. Companies that aim to sell their products, “provide” producers with scientific knowledge, the necessary inputs, technical assistance and even the financing of the harvest. It is very difficult for the producer to get rid of this cycle. The domain is simply overwhelming.
Then, and in the name of profitability, as same as the fight against hunger and other populist “flags”, the destruction of the Sacred Temple of Nature is happening. And the slow collective suicide too. The word “sustainable”, strategically placed here or there, serves to mask, hide, justify and reassure the ignorant on the subject.
These toxic inputs will, over time, kill all life in the soil. Earthworms, protozoa, nematodes, algae, fungi and bacteria, among others, are gradually reduced, until the soil loses its biodiversity and needs more and more toxic inputs to be able to continue producing. In addition to destroying the stage of life, it makes food more expensive and intoxicates people. But it is offered to us as "the only viable way to produce food on a large scale".
Joseph, the driver, destroyed a temple built by men. But we can no longer let people continue to destroy our soils and rivers. Some are anonymous shareholders, simply rooting for the appreciation of the shares of these companies, at any cost. And their myopia prevents them from seeing that they are compromising the lives of their own heirs!
Fortunately, the awareness that we all need this sacred temple, the Earth, seems to be growing, especially among young people. May it grow fast, so as not to permanently compromise the lives of those who will come.
And so that the Divine Temple is no longer desecrated in this way, the most hypocritical in the world: in the name of hunger, in the name of science, and in the name of God!
Antonio N. S. Teixeira
Executive Director - IBA