Just over 500 years ago it was unthinkable to believe that the earth was round. It seems incredible that 270 years ago we survived without electricity. Impressive is that 157 years ago a person had a price as a slave. And it seems even ridiculous to me that just 76 years ago, Mexican women, because we were women, did not have the right to elect our rulers.
These historical references have deeply marked the way we live today. They constitute evolutionary watersheds; development paradigms. Unfortunately, to achieve this development we have proclaimed ourselves owners and lords of the material and natural resources of the planet. We have taken what it offers us to transform it, take advantage of it and exploit it for our service and comfort.
This unbridled consumption has led us to a new turning point. We are facing one of the most complex challenges as humanity, but we are too lazy to face it: the environmental crisis.
Why don’t we face this crisis? Because we feel owners of the world and we believe that there is a long time to go before we suffer its absence. Because we live under the incessant need to produce more to earn more, and to earn more to consume more. This is the true origin of our environmental crisis and is the mirror of our internal crisis; the one that seeks to fill internal voids with external goods.
And just as we are surprised by the way they survived in the past, today we should be shocked by the way we live in the present. It really seems incredible to me that in every minute that passes, more than a million first-use plastic bottles are bought, which translate into pollution of the seas, which end up being food for species that are part of our daily diet (UN, Cambio Climate and Environment 2018).
It should also be unbelievable that at this minute 23 hectares of land are being lost to drought and desertification, which translates into the loss of 20 million tons of grain (UN, 202). This is very serious because 1 in 9 people does not have anything to eat (FAO, 2015; Iberdrola, 2021; National Geographic, 2020).
Climate change is the greatest threat to humanity. Its impacts are already damaging health through air pollution, disease, extreme weather events, forced displacement, food insecurity, and pressures on mental health. And all this, moreover, affects groups that are already vulnerable to a greater extent. As an example, according to recent data from the United Nations Environment Program, 80% of people displaced by climate change are women.
We’re killing each other.
It should distress us to imagine how we are going to survive in the future, because if we continue in this direction, in just eight years we will be passing our death sentence; and, in just 18 years, we will reach the peak of the environmental crisis (ONU, 2020). Within 20 years, about 5,000 million people will live in cities with insufficient water (WMO, 2021). By 2040 we will have a planet 2 degrees Celsius warmer and with this, forest fires and catastrophic natural phenomena related to rain and water will automatically increase. (UN, 2021).
We are at a crucial moment in which companies, organizations, public institutions, and in general, all people must reflect and act in favor of the environment.
The Judicial Power of the Federation has assumed the institutional commitment to promote actions aimed at the efficient use of water (today 21% less water is consumed than 4 years ago), the saving and rational use of energy, and the responsible consumption of materials (15% less paper), as well as promoting proper waste management and recycling (we now have an ecological management of 228.7 tons of waste per year).
Additionally, an institutional community transportation program was implemented with which, as of September 19 of this year, nearly 6,000 workers residing in CDMX and the metropolitan area will be mobilized, from points close to their homes to the door of their work address. . With this, it seeks to significantly reduce CO 2 emissions. Best of all, the community transportation program is paid for with the savings generated by the same consumption savings mentioned above.
It is evident that the Federal Judiciary cannot fully fix the country’s environmental health, much less the world’s, but what can be done, and has been done, is to pay for some solutions from within its jurisdiction.
I am aware that a large part of Mexicans live in precarious conditions and must think mainly about how to survive from day to day. Demanding that they, with whom we owe a historic debt, deal rigorously with the environmental crisis would be visibly unfair. And, nevertheless, it is important to highlight that many of the environmental organizations in our country arise from indigenous populations that are in a situation of extreme poverty and that face with enormous courage, not only a precarious life, but also the mafias that do not protect and weaken their ancestral territories. In this regard, we cannot fail to highlight that Mexico is the country with the most murders of environmental defenders in the world (Global Witness, 2022).
Thus, those of us whose basic needs are covered, and even more than covered, must change our mentality and deal with the problem. We must react and act; and we must, because we can, but also because we are running out of remedy. Enough of indifference; stop feeling untouchable because we have privileges. Making problems visible is a way of dealing with them; to put them on the public agenda and to begin to support remedies. Let’s add. Let’s add all and all; let’s make a difference What do you help with?
We need solutions, we ran out of time.
The author is secretary general of the presidency of the Supreme Court of Justice of the Nation.