INTERVIEW WITH METHUSELAH, THE OLDEST LIVING BEING IN THE WORLD
Methuselah germinated more than 3,000 meters above sea level,
in arid peaks hit by icy winds.
5,000 years ago, it was a tiny seed of Pinus longaeva
(from a cautious and old line of conifers).
Today is the oldest living being in the world.
Methuselah, climate change expert (because with ages comes wisdom), answers without any hurry a series of questions about environmental news made by our special envoy to the White Mountains (United States), where Methuselah lives protected and incognito among other trees of the same species.
Present yourself, please.
I’m so, so, so old that …
… I have breathed the same air as the Egyptian pharaohs Tutankhamun or Cleopatra.
… I drank from the same waters with which Aristotle or Plato thirst quenched.
… I have felt in my roots the vibrations of the earth that Buddha and Jesus Christ, Shakespeare and Mozart, Marie Curie, Rosa Parks and Jane Goodall walked.
And, currently, I am a contemporary of people as diverse as Donald Trump or Greta Thunberg.
Speaking of Trump, tell me, in the current circumstances, are denialists like the president of the US a danger?
Those who deny climate change are a danger, especially if they have political power, such as Bolsonaro or Trump, but, probably, the indifferent, the apathetic or the defeatists are even more dangerous.
What do you mean?
The indifferent and the defeatists are those who knowing or assuming what happens decide to look the other way. Perhaps because they think it’s not them, or because they have convinced themselves that it is too late to act.
And they are dangerous, in this case, because indifference, apathy and defeatism spread very quickly.
What would you say to denialists and defeatists?
I would not say much to the denialists: if they are able to pay attention to the scientists, they will listen even less to me. And it is no time to argue, argue and argue again to try to convince anyone about the benefit of protecting the environment and avoid predictable natural disasters.
Do you give up?
No, not at all, I affirm that it is not a time to argue or convince, it is time to choose our legislators among those who are willing to be brave and take the reins of change.
And we want leaders who legislate, who promote the most convenient measures and who prohibit and punish the most harmful activities and practices and who only favor or enrich some economic elites of the world.
economic elites of the world.
And to the indifferent and defeatists, what would you say?
That discouragement and indifference is pure selfishness or pure laziness; that their worthlessness will be paid by their sons and daughters.
Only education, training and the ability to analyze will set you free
Solutions, Mr. Methuselah?
In addition to laws and resources that promote renewable energy and foster a more circular economy …, we need education and training, now.
How is it possible, journalist friend, that in the elementary and secondary schools there is not yet a continuum of practical subjects that instruct the students on how to reduce, reuse and recycle?
How is it possible that there are no well-trained resources and teachers that explain to boys and girls how to proceed to live with minimal environmental impact?
How is it possible that there are not one nor ten subjects, with their work and exams, that allow children to know the composition and manufacturing process of, for example, milk cartons or piles or the synthetic fabrics of their clothes?
How is it possible that most children have never visited an extensive livestock farm?
Only education, information and analysis capacity will set you all free.
But today, there are young people very involved…
Yes, it is true, there are, but we need many more than that.
Although there are people like Greta Thunberg, a young woman, almost a girl, a wonderful example, a very powerful symbol …, which should serve as a stimulus for others to use part of our time to make things better.