As I have mentioned before. About a year ago my interest for studying the history of international exchange was reignitiated as I prepared a recipe for a cooking club.
Since then, I´ve read a few books, magazines and everything that comes across describing the journeys and adventures of voyagers in their search for treasures around the world.
Still it results amazing to me the way by which many places were discovered or, better said, joined back (as now it is better indicated by many authors) as result from the great courage that people showed when launching themselves to unknown lands. When we live in our nearly pain free modern world it is hard to find any trace of the pungent suffering that our ancestors went through in their effort to build new nations. And it is even more difficult to imagine the great distress that the Earth itself went through.
The fact that we see tomatoes all over the world rarely makes us think about the environmental distress that their adaptation to other latitudes could have caused to entire ecosystems. Now we are used to enjoying so many things that we would probably feel strange if those things were not available anywhere we go: soft beds, mosquito free areas, tasty cakes, spicy meat, sweet vanilla icecream, fresh coconut water, crunchy potato chips, silk ties, cotton dresses…so many things that make our lives “enjoyable”.
Charles C. Mann describes very vividly the many deads caused by yellow fever and malaria across the world as result of interactions between different species. It was truly an encounter that did not prevent the potential losses in terms of human lifes and ecosystem damage. Morever, it was an encounter so insanely produced that still today is causing the lost of so many habitats. And our own existence, after many generations since then, is being threaten by the utilitarian approach through which nations back then decided to support their growth: the unlimited consumption of our limited natural resources.
Indeed, the rich and grandiose resources of our planet Earth have been enough to support the lives of men through centuries of insane exploitation. Sources of coopper, gold, silver, and even grains and cereals are so depleted that by now it results impossible to believe that what is left in many cases is no more than 10% of what existed four centuries ago. A simple look to amazonian deforastation exemplifies this:
And as painful as it results being stripped away of our surroundings it becomes even more amazing to learn how governments and enterprises still pretend to base their growth on the limited availability of these resources.
This is an indication to me of so much ignorance on part of the great majority of human beings. The weirdest part is that those that seem to be more ignorant are exactly the ones that have access to the best means of information and education. The best schools, colleges, universities, and technology that can make available the reality of our planet seem to be not enough to change the minds of human beings as a whole.