How to understand climate change from the Andean worldview?

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Difficult times we face today. The ecological debacle that is sighted on our horizon is already a reality. And, in fact, the human factor has been decisive in the unleashing of a process of destruction of nature that seems to be irreversible. Climate change caused by global warming – and this, by the emission of greenhouse gases – is mainly caused by human activity.

The latest report from the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has been considered a kind of “last call” to save the Earth from impending catastrophe. In the document – aimed at those who make decisions in the world – it is proposed to make the greatest efforts to limit global warming to 1.5 ° C this century. Otherwise, we will endanger every form of life on the planet.

If global emissions continue at the current rate, the world will easily reach a 2 ° C or more temperature rise by the end of the century. This would affect the great diversity of our agriculture, and the fishing of anchovy and other species in the Peruvian sea. The damage will not only be ecological, but, above all, economic.

What to do about this? Answering this crucial question is imperative. One way out could be the proposal of Andean thought to recover philosophical principles that support an ontology through the notion of pacha – source of all existence – and, also, to an axiology whose organizing center is the notion of allin kawsay or ‘good living’, which promotes a harmonious coexistence between man and nature, in other words, the rejection of actions that imply environmental impacts or biotic or abiotic nature manipulations. It is an approach within the framework of which we intend to show that modern man is the cause of the environmental and social crisis in which the world is currently debating.


Andean thought, oblivious to dominating nature, fosters a harmonious coexistence with it and, on this basis, Andean man establishes a reciprocal bond with his environment, in which he does not postulate himself as a superior being, but as an integral part of this.

It is clear that looking back at our millennial past in search of answers to face a global ecological crisis reveals its potential fertility, if what it is about is to achieve the healthy development of attitudes that would serve to face the desire for domination and the desire predator that has its remote origins in one of the strongest currents of modern thought, that characterized by the faith in progress and the dogmatic exaltation of scientific knowledge, and that is clearly projected from the times of Francis Bacon, René Descartes and Galileo Galilei.

Faced with this unsettling state of affairs, however, it is modern man himself who, exercising a critical capacity, has realized that the environment and the same existential and spiritual dynamics are at stake. Yes, it has been modern philosophers and scientists themselves who have denounced and warned humanity about the coming debacle, promoting, for example, the search for technological alternatives that reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Thinkers like Max Horkheimer, Martin Heidegger and Max Weber are there. And even a physicist like Ernesto Sábato, in his penetrating essays, sounded the alarm about the material and existential bankruptcy to which the world was exposed with increasing persistence. Let us even think of Friedrich Nietzsche, who, moving forward almost a century, foresaw – one might say prophetically – the mess that we are now experiencing. Postmodern thought itself, as posited by Gianni Vattimo, for example, struggles to find a way out of the crossroads in which modern man finds himself.

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