An earth storm in Franca made me ashamed to be from the interior of São Paulo

I would really like to prevent this column from turning into a monothematic space of self-harm, weeping and gnashing of teeth, but the real doesn’t leave the world. ; sorry for the infamous and bitter pun) of the dust storm engulfing Franca (SP) last week made me ashamed to have been born and raised in the interior of São Paulo.

This is an unprecedented emotion , at least in my case. I spent a decade and a half in the capital, but I made a point of returning here as soon as I could. I wanted to raise my children on hillbilly soil. And I always puffed up my chest, full of pride, when I said that I was from the interior of So Paulo.

It is human nature to love what poets called maternal torro, but I used to love this one ground was quite justifiable to find.

I loved the fact that we have built a semblance of knowledge society in this purple land, with some of the greatest universities in Brazil and Latin America planted here (and two of them alone in my hometown!): UFSCar, USP, Unicamp, Unesp.

I loved the ability to transform this knowledge into economic growth: the strength of industries, our role in the creation of renewable fuels made in Brazil , the agricultural advances brought by Embrapa.

I still love the retroflex R that we emit between vowels and consonants, the fact that cities with thousand or 300 a thousand inhabitants still have the warmth and warmth of much smaller communities.

But the wind that poured over Franca It was from the fertile soil of the surroundings showed, without disguise, what I had been intuiting for some time. We rednecks spend our ecosystem overdraft like there’s no tomorrow and it’s time to pay the interest. Spoiler: if we don’t create shame in our faces, and quickly, we’ll have to pawn up our pants.

When the winds tore the scales from our eyes, some things became clear.

It was clear that the strength of our agribusiness is nothing but greed and folly; that the abundant water that waters our gardens and fills our pools is pure waste. The recklessness with which we deal with the very foundations of what guarantees us what to drink and what to eat should be able to make a nation of savages blush, but that doesn’t even cross our minds.

Children, you live in a desert. I’ll tell you how they were disinherited, says the prophetic voice of historian Warren Dean (1932-1994) in his classic The Iron and Fire, in which he documents the saga of the destruction of the Atlantic forest. The interior of So Paulo played and continues to try to play an inglorious role in this process, and this phrase, as Dean proposes, should be the first to come out of the mouth of teachers in the first history class of schools in this state.

Desert, by the way, technically the exact term. In the accurate report by our colleague Phillippe Watanabe about the cloud, we found out that it is a haboob (in Arabic, something like a burst). Something is common… in the Sahara and in the Sudo. In other words, only an indescribable environmental degradation would be able to produce this in this once green and pleasant land.

It would be funny, if not infuriating, to read some for this absurd justification. A representative of the sugarcane producers told BBC Brasil that the sector has the best experts, the best consultants in the soil and that it was something above normal.

Another spoiler: the above-than-normal years are getting making the rule. It’s called the climate crisis. We need the forests back.

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