Sustainability challenges

eduardo-rojas-incendi
eduardo-rojas-incendi
© Miguel Lorenzo
 Macastre (Valencia) in early July 2012. Picture taken after the wildfires that affected many towns in the area.

«The need to use natural resources makes environmental sustainability sometimes impossible». Eduardo Rojas Briales— FAO’s Deputy Director-General— summed up sustainability’s problems with these words in a conference held in Valencia last February.

In the conference held under the title From Carlowitz to Rio+20 Conference: 300 years of evolution of the principle of sustainability, Rojas— head of the forestry department— made a review on the history of forest protection, from the origins of the term «sustainability» up until the FAO’s latest proposals regarding prevention and maintenance of the more sensitive areas to deforestation.

According to Rojas, the main danger for deforestation is the need for wood supplies, indispensable as a building material, as fuel and as a source of energy. However, he pointed out that in rural areas —those that depend basically on the natural resources around them— sustainability becomes an essential factor. In addition, he explained that the increase in population in areas close to forests or other environmental ecosystems results in a pressure increase that may end up in disaster.

While talking about society’s pressure on natural resources and its consequences, Eduardo Rojas pointed out that at some points in history deforestation was a common factor in many big cities. Ever since Roman times— the empire was surrounded by deforestation—, and also during the Renaissance— the monarchies were the ones trying to protect forests—, claimed the speaker. In WWII Berlin, Rojas remarked, «deforestation was even greater than nowadays is».

 

«We are not really aware of the dangers we are facing»

eduardo-rojas
© Eva Maria Javier
FAO’s Deputy Director-General, Eduardo Rojas, at the conference held in Valencia.

 

 

«The main danger for deforestation is the need for wood supplies, indispensable as a building material, as fuel and as a source of energy»

 

Full text available in Spanish and Catalan.

 

Eva Maria Javier. Student of Journalism at the University of Valencia.
© Mètode 2013.

  
© Mètode 2013

Journalism student at the University of Valencia.