Ecological conversion, an urgent and inevitable choice

The Earth needs an ecological conversion. We, humans, must do it without waiting for it to proceed without us: we are the ones responsible for its degradation, pursued against the rest of living things almost to the extreme. But we can reverse this trend by having as allies, on this backward path, all that life spontaneously produces. Ecological conversion is the only possible alternative to war and the war economy into which we are plunging (in fact we are already well into it), that is, the only perspective that has as its end, but also as its condition, peace.

We see this well as European citizens: the European Community was born to guarantee peace in Europe and in the world. For years we were told that the way to make the union a political entity was market, development, and economic convergence. The opposite has occurred: the political union has only receded. Now they claim that the right way is rearmament, the creation of a European armed force. It is an agenda that increasingly subordinates EU choices to NATO, now considered by many to be almost the same thing. This is transforming the EU into an appendage of the “military-industrial complex” that rules in Washington and that has in war, in wars, its raison d’être; an appendage in which one counts all the more one binds and subordinates oneself to it, introducing within it new divisions, a new hierarchy, defined by the degree of “loyalty” to the directives of those in command and, above all, the waning of the prospect of European reunification from the Atlantic to the Urals.

The truth is that a political union of Europe that paves the way for a similar perspective around the world can only be done on the basis of a common political program that is not there today because the market, competition and war divide. That program is ecological conversion taken seriously: entrusted to peoples, local communities and their institutions federated by negotiation based on replicability of what is undertaken, to be developed and updated day by day. Even knowledge of what ecological conversion is has been lost, or never wanted to be acquired, : we know that it is indispensable and inescapable: if we do not embark on it, it will be imposed on us, at an immensely greater cost, by the precipitating environmental conditions, in Europe and throughout the world.

But it is what provides the normative criterion that allows every informed person, because inserted in a context of sharing, to say yes and no: to understand what should be done and what should be blocked. Everything that moves us forward along the road to ecological conversion should be decided and done; everything that moves us away from it should be rejected and blocked. This criterion, so trivial, is enough to expose the huge misunderstanding of the National Recovery and Resilience Plan ( Piano Nazionale di Ripresa e Resilienza, Pnrr), the Italian translation of the NextgenarationEu program launched to “get the next generations to safety”. But what came of it?

Too much money, some now say; not sure how to spend it. True, there needed to be consistent and stringent guidelines, and the EU has lifted the only two stakes that were in place: those against gas and nuclear. Investments that are harmful to the environment and to life, but also “disposable,” will have to be suspended before even reaching completion, like many other “works” in construction under the Pnrr. Too quickly, others add: no one has such an efficient economy as to complete such major projects in such a short time. And the involvement of recipients takes time, especially when the ground has not been prepared. That is why a priority share of the funds should have been devoted to a major public debate, articulated territory by territory and sector by sector, something that has never been there and without which projects are doomed to failure right from their conception. Too much confusion between investment and current spending, some say: nonsense. Investments without running costs to make them work, to use them – community or healthcare homes without doctors and nurses, kindergartens without educators, information technology without ongoing training and review of procedures, railroads and highways without users, tunnels and bridges (which ones?) without connections, ski lifts without snow, desalinators and reservoirs with a network that disperses half the water – are lost funds, and the Pnrr is made up almost only of these things.

It is not enough to call a new highway sustainable mobility to transform it into a defense against climate change! But Draghi, who as a good banker has only financial accounts in mind, knowing full well how difficult it is to spend, has put in everything that, according to him, could be done quickly (and furiously). But what do stadiums – for example, and a thousand other “toys” in the hands of ministers and mayors, right down to the multiplication of roundabouts – have to do with the safety of future generations? All are financed, moreover, by debt: either from Italy or from the EU. Isn’t that a theft of their future? And then you repress them if they protest…

Guido Viale