Pilar Sampietro he has one of those warm and educated voices for the radio, increasingly difficult to find in the audiovisual media. As it happens to us in ‘El Asombrario’, also for this radio journalist culture and the environment go hand in hand and, for years, he has lent that militant voice to the program ‘True Life’, on Ràdio 4, which he presents and directs, as well as its Spanish version, ‘Green life’, in RNE. He also directs the program ‘Mediterranean’, on Radio 3, collaborates with various media and is the author of several books, the latest, ‘The Edible City’ (Walrus, 2018), where he explores experiences and proposals to make cities greener. Arrive today at our ‘Circular Interview’
To what extent can environmental communication change society?
It’s fundamental. Without the right to be informed, a society is asleep and cannot form its own criteria that encourages it to act accordingly. Now more than ever it is necessary to openly inform about the crucial and special moments that we are experiencing. We have had to be part of a generation of human beings with direct responsibility for the future of the planet; what happens in a while, even if we no longer see it, will be the effect of what we decide to do now. I, as a journalist, feel obliged to communicate what scientists, researchers, and also people who have been working on environmental and social issues for a long time, transmit to me.
You have been in charge of an environmental program on the radio for many years. What do you think has changed since the beginning?
Evidence of the effects that our human pressure exerts on life on Earth has accelerated. What when I started with emissions was just a proposal for a healthier life, more in line with natural cycles, now it becomes an urgency, an emergency to find formulas that help us maintain ecosystems, biodiversity, health and the fertility of the soil that gives us food, the air we breathe… I’m glad that scientists are finally talking openly about their experiences and research; At the beginning they were very involved in their academic shell, in their specialized magazines, in their reports published years after corroborating a hypothesis, that made the entire communication process very slow and it was very difficult to reach them. Now everything is much easier and they have assumed the part of action and communication that corresponds to them; It is a very good opportunity to take advantage of all your knowledge in the new forms of social and environmental management that are emerging.
What is the circular economy for you?
Since I got to know Christian Felber’s theory on the “economy for the common good”, a huge window opened up for me towards another formula of consumption that had nothing to do with the concepts of economy that were being offered to us. I remember that it was very difficult to make my fellow journalists, specialized in economics, understand that not everything was based on the responses of the Stock Market, on the international markets, on the rise or fall of products in the GDP, notice that now we are still governed thus. But this other type of economic vision includes social dignity, helps us overcome the stage of capitalism in which they have made us live and encourages us to find other formulas for post-growth which do not mean a setback, but quite the opposite, a return to good living, to what really matters to us: fair healthcare, the right to decent housing, real food and a salary that helps us maintain all of this. Call it whatever you want, if that definition works for you and encourages humanity to reinvent itself economically, the formula is welcome. But there are key elements that must always be present and must govern all aspects of this economy: environmental justice requires social justice.
What do you think is the main environmental challenge right now? The one that worries you the most?
I worry about everything, that’s the problem. I would talk to you about the energy urgency that must happen yes or yes by local management, anchored in the territory to self-supply energy and without macro-installations. I would talk to you about our mobility, about the diesel fiasco, about the non-solution of changing gasoline cars for electric cars, about how badly we manage our public transport network. I would talk to you about water, about the drought in which we live, about how we waste it, about why we have not advanced enough in the systems of its use in all senses. But I will talk to you about the soil, the earth, its wear and tear, it is something that now keeps me awake and expecting. The agro-industrial model is destroying the little fertile land that we have left and the urgency is to think that if we do not return the quality and the CO2 that we have extracted, what are we going to eat? That parody of the pills of the future that would feed humanity has ended in what we know as processed food and its effects on our body we are already beginning to know. For me, now, at this moment, it is totally necessary to return that fertility to the earth and it involves composting absolutely all the vegetable and food remains that we throw away in order to turn them back into life, into fertilizer that fertilizes the soil that will give us food. So my urgency is to value the work of peasant women and men, of ranchers and ranchers and give them the help they need to get us out of this.
What environmental practices do you implement in your day to day?
I have constant moments and contradictions, but I feel consistent with what I know, with what I report, with what I say. They make everything very difficult for us, it is true and I am constantly angry with the decisions that are made in my immediate environment, but I resist. I learn to cultivate a piece of land that was very degraded, I live in a small house, but fair and comfortable, I try to consume according to daily needs and I help what I can and I get involved in the actions around me. I try not to harm the other nearby beings too much and I enjoy from the window watching the birds that now in winter, finally, come to the place where I offer them water and some food. When I lived in the city I used the bike as a means of transportation, that is what I miss the most, but I walk and it gives me another vision of the territory in which I now live. And I learn every day, I never cease to amaze myself.
Who has inspired/instilled in you environmental values?
I was born into the anti-nuclear generation, at the time the first report on the effect of the industrial revolution on the planet was published. Read articles in the Magazine White garlic formed me as what I am, also a stage of the Comprehensive Magazine it was crucial for me. But one day the book came into my hands Radical Simplicity, Jim Merkel, and that’s where it all started. I committed myself to my ecological footprint, I understood that everything I thought about, what I read, what I heard about it had to do with the consumption model and that there were real and effective solutions. And that’s where we are, it’s not always easy.
A movie or book that you would recommend.
There are so many good, important, inspiring books… and many are by authors from our area, indispensable. I prefer to name them, choose the title, read them and approach what they say is already a journey in itself: María Sánchez, Pilar Codony, Gustavo Duch, Gabi Martínez and all the authors in the Liternatura environment that does nothing more than grow up. The publishers Errata Naturae and La Fertility of the Earth and their commitment. And in movies, of course, I’ve seen alcarrás of Carla Simón several times, but she is also What burns by Oliver Laxe; very necessary, with so little they say so much, that is the magic of cinema and of verifying that in our geography we have great creators.