“We are interconnected within complex systems. Our incidence on the climate makes natural disasters unpredictable”

José Ramón Calvo, full academician and president of the Interdisciplinary Research Institute of the Royal European Academy of Doctors-Barcelona 1914 (RAED), has been part of the organizing committee of the second Green Economy Summit, held in the Argentine city of Córdoba the past 5 and 6 October. Calvo moderated two of the sessions of the meeting, which was also attended by Nobel laureates of economics and honorary academicians of the RAED Edmund Phelps and Eric Maskin, as well as Cecilia Kindelán, a member of the Institute of Interdisciplinary Research. Under the direction of Calvo, the session “International cooperation towards a new production model” was attended by Luis Porto, Uruguay’s ex-deputy minister and current chief advisor on Organizational Development of the Organization of American States, and Ignacio Jiménez, Director of Conservation of the Tompkins Foundation. Both highlighted the fragility of the environment in a global world and the effects of any regional action or decision on the entire planet.Porto spoke about the role of international organizations in the sustainable economy. “We are interconnected within complex systems, something that happens on a site can have a big impact in other parts of the world. And all major natural disasters are unpredictable if the conditions in which we move change. Will be the effect caused by the human species because the changes he has produced in the climate over the next 20 years”, he said.

“Leading this reality is complicated with the economic and political institutions we have -he continued-, and the economic ones are mediated by the markets, which don’t seem able to regulate some of these uncertainties without changing their design”. As for the institutions, he considered that they are based on 19th century models and can not face the challenges of the 21st century. “It should not be forgotten that political institutions respond to a greater or lesser extent to the interest of lobbies and large corporations and the citizen has neither access nor control over that mechanism of power”. Faced with this reality, the lecturer sees only one way out: to strengthen civil society and to promote leadership actions.

For his part, Jiménez made a presentation titled “Los Parques Naturales como modelo ecoturístico” (The Natural Parks as an ecotourism model), in which he opted for a new model of conservation of biodiversity surpassing the traditional model and taking advantage of the interest generated by nature for the urban population. The example of the rapporteur was the creation of a foundation promoted by two entrepreneurs, Christian and Doug Tompkins, who decided to use their personal fortune in a foundation dedicated to buying private land, turning them into natural parks with a huge wealth of biodiversity and then donating them to the State to convert them into areas of public access and protect and create environments for species that were about to disappear.

This action has been implemented in Argentina and Chile and so far have 800,000 hectares that host five nature reserves. Its goal for the end of this decade is to reach the five million hectares in natural areas with a purely conservationist purpose. “There are those who believe that conservationism and economic development are contradictory terms and is false -he said-. This model has shown how totally complementary they are, since it has generated wealth in the form of jobs, restocking or maintenance of people in rural areas and, in short, a new economic model based on ecotourism”.