“Go and multiply, fill the Earth, and subdue it!” Uncoincidentally, civilization began with this Biblical mandate. The way man exploits nature reflects his behavior as a species, and the way he builds, his moral and cultural imagination. To analyze how we treat Earth today, to warn of the economic and social consequences thereof, and to propose alternatives are the objectives of the socio-ecologist Ramón Folch in Ambiente, emoción y ética (Environment, Emotion and Ethics), published now in an edition that expands the 1998 original.
The rationale of this version is unquestionable, not only because its propagandistic but subtle manner of addressing themes – matters that in fifteen years have hardly changed, such as the human condition (we behave not like a species, but like a plague), the relationship between technology, economics and energy (with substantial remarks on architecture) – continues to be pertinent, but especially because the book’s main conclusion – sustainability is a question not of technique, but of morals – remains a challenge.
A lot has happened since 1998, but neither the economic nor the energy crisis has changed our consumerist society. The challenge is not so much to be able to analyze the facts of reality, but to construct the values that will enable us to transform it. Hence Folch’s subordination of economics and technology to an environmentalist ethic that is as on target as it is hard to execute. As the Greeks said, men do not like facts, but opinions about facts.