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By Ricardo Natalichio
Scientists in general usually take as the starting point of the history of mankind about 65 million years ago, with the appearance of the first primates. Anyway, the last common ancestor between the human being and the chimpanzee, existed around 6 or 7 million years ago.
Although the limits are not exact, since different types of hominids have coexisted for a long time, the first species of the genus Homo appeared about 2.5 million years ago and gradually dispersed throughout Africa, Europe and Asia. In its first manifestations it is known as Homo habilis, it was robust, agile, walked upright and had developed the grasping capacity of its hands. He knew how to use fire, but not produce it, he made some tools and he protected himself in caves. He lived by collecting seeds, roots, fruits and occasionally ate meat.
The species that developed after this is called Homo erectus, 1.5 million years ago. He advanced to a new stage in tool-making called Achelense and learned to conserve fire. This species lasted ten times as long as modern humans have lived on earth.
One or more subspecies of Homo erectus evolved into Homo sapiens neanderthalis (Neanderthal man), the oldest remains of which are around 250 thousand years old. Neaderthal man disappeared abruptly, and his place was taken by modern men, some (barely) 50 thousand years ago.
So we could say that for at least a few million years of constant evolution, except for the use of some rudimentary tools and the handling of fire, human beings have had a behavior very similar to that of other animal species.
But in the last 35 to 50 thousand years, a short time in history, everything changed. This ability to create tools, resulted in the use of some of them as weapons, fire management also began to have new uses and then, little by little we stopped being nomads, fruit gatherers and hunters, to build the first settlements. , in which agriculture played a leading role.
It was probably at that stage that we began the path of mastery of nature, not only using the resources that it made available to us naturally, but also modifying it for our benefit. Not only adapting, but adapting it.
The settlements were growing, agriculture was added to livestock and barter or exchange was mutating into trade. Historically there have been many different types of money, from pigs to seashells. However, undoubtedly the most widespread throughout history has been gold, until about 2,700 years ago, the first coins began to be minted, also made of that metal and silver, and then the first banks appeared. Until then, the ambition for power certainly existed in the human being, but a new ambition appeared, the economic one.
After several million years of “natural evolution”, it could be said that with minimal environmental impact, we began to divorce ourselves from nature. And especially since the beginning of the industrial revolution, we have gone from use to abuse.
Less than three centuries have been enough to place our species, like so many others, at serious risk of extinction. The abuse that humans are doing to nature has been such that we have modified the climate of the entire planet. And that in just a few seconds in terms of the history of our species.
Economic ambition brought about the exacerbation of selfishness and individualism. These "new values" gave rise to the organization of society under economic systems, which have governed for a few hundred years and until today, the destiny of every living being on the planet.
We are immersed, socially and culturally, in a way of life that is centered on possession, on private property, on money. A way of life in conflict with nature, which degrades it by leaps and bounds and which is greatly reducing the chances of survival for the next generations.
We are running out of time to change course, we are about to crash and we can hardly avoid it. There are no more options left, since a radical change in our way of life, especially of 20 or 30% of the planet's population, which is the one that is consuming 80% of the resources.
Most of the people who belong to that 20 or 30% of which we speak, are moderately aware that we are facing an environmental crisis that can be terminal. But just being aware of the problem is obviously not enough. And that is because on the one hand they can fully satisfy all your needs, which offers them a comfort that hardly anyone would decide to leave on their own. And on the other hand, because our societies are constituted in such a way that there are very few concrete possibilities to live in a more harmonious way with nature, without this meaning exposing ourselves to risks of all kinds.
There are practically no options to try to keep ourselves protected under the alleged (and false) security that the system offers us. There are practically no plans from the governments of the world to modify this tendency to remain inert in the face of the coming disaster. They do not arise from below, or they are not given enough space, or economic or political support to truly revolutionary proposals and projects that generate a profound modification of current paradigms.
So, put between a rock and a hard place, sooner rather than later, we will have to choose. The time to sit still, waiting for magic solutions is over. A new era must begin very soon, founded on the reconciliation of the human being with nature and a radical change in the values that this system exacerbates, towards cooperation, solidarity, ethics and so many others that we have postponed as a species.
A new era must prevail, if we really decide to avoid extinction.