Transformando ecológicamente la política (I): del proceso judicial al natural. (Versión en español aquí)
In the last post we tried to contextualize, more or less, what ecological restoration is, and to explain its extrapolation to the political ambit. We saw that there are differences between the conventional way of doing things and the ecological way, but we only could scratch the surface. It is a convoluted topic, in a convoluted science, which we want to apply to such a convoluted world like the politics. And it is in this juicy simile where we can achieve the convergence between these two worlds. Due to the fact that both of them are complex systems, the same study method could work. The exit path is not the same for two different labyrinths, but the useful tricks for one of them (use a rope, turn left always, etc.) are equally applicable to the other.
So now, at this point, I start to explain the basic tricks of the ecological restoration labyrinth. There are in total 6 guidelines for this ecological way of working: processes, holistic view, memory, scales, reference and adaptive management. In this post I will write only about the first, in order to explain as well as possible all the size of this iceberg and don’t suffer any Titanic in this restoration and political Lost in translation.
If someone asks us to describe, with only one word, what ecological restoration is, that word will be surely processes. Nowadays, if we attend to the news, we can see that, in the political world, the word of processes appears so much, but unfortunately for us (the citizens), they are no restorers and their processes are most often accompanied by another adjective: judicial. Otherwise, if we look up “processes” in the dictionary, one of the meanings appearing is “Set of successive stages of a natural phenomenon or an artificial operation”. This is closer to the restorer view. We (the restorers) pay attention to the natural processes, the energy that flows through all ecosystem elements, connecting them and keeping them alive. This essential fact for the restoration was explained to us (during the M. Sc.) with one interesting example. I am going to explain it also in this post, despite its distance from the politics, because it is a really beautiful case. I promise not to deviate so much from the subject in the future.
The situation is as follows: In 1990, Irak invades Kuwait. Thousands of people are forced to flee their home and they moved away to refugee camps. This migration affects a shrubs and bushes area which, due to the overgrazing, is fully degraded. No vegetation stills there
The place doesn’t recover, despite the end of the overgrazing. Some years later, the UN decides to give funds to Kuwait in order to restore this land and Steve Whisenant, a great ecological restorer, is sent there as counsellor. Whisenant looks the landscape, crouches down and takes some soil. He has already thought the strategy to invert the huge project funding: he tells the locals to ask the young people for help and load a track with rocks. Later, they have to come back there and spread those rocks randomly. And then, repeat this several times.
A few years later after this disconcerting solution, the ecosystem had almost recovered.
And this recovering has been achieved… just throwing some stones! No megaprojects neither thousand millions dollar costs. What Whisenant saw when he crouched down was that the soil had already seeds. But these seeds couldn’t sprout, so there was something blocking their development. Germination was the blocked process. Throwing the rocks he achieved to hold the soil and microshadows were generated, and so the plants could sprout again. The important are the processes, rather than the structural elements. This is similar to what happens when a washing machine breaks, for example. You check all its pieces, change them, buy new ones… but the problem is in the water valve, which is locked. You have to pay attention to what makes work the rest of pieces.
But, finally, putting ecosystems and washing machines aside, how is it possible to extrapolate this to the way of doing politics? Moving away from the easy comparative and in order to avoid demagogies (more appropriates for political campaigns), the most important things that an ecological politician must notice is that the society is another ecosystem, where all its elements are interconnected and, when you pull from one string, six more are moved too; that the great political art is not to pull from a lot of string but pull from the right one; that you don’t have to impose a manufactured home on any surface, but support the building project, giving solid foundations and the suitable material and tools. It doesn’t matter the building shape while it still plays its role and is safe. The ecological politics must be to stimulate the germination of the seeds that already are, not to open the soil and put trees into it. Because there are a lot of seeds waiting in society. The politician only has to crouch down and take a handful of soil to see it.
To conclude this post, I would like to share one thought which has come to me while I was writing: how nice could be if the rulers think in the ecological restoration of the economy, in spite of the recovery of the economy. Thanks a lot again to #estotambiénespolítica and for all the people who stop to read this gentle chaos.