Social responsibility today involves a commitment to organic agriculture and eco-solidarity, because the defense of the human person, of its health and its dignity, is inseparable from the defense of nature and the environment and a healthy diet. The Agroecologist Giuseppe Altieri, a scientist, is convinced, in line with what is said by Pope Francis in the Encyclical Letter “Laudato si’ “. And it is for this reason, “for the highly social, cultural and professional of his commitment in the field of agroecology,” which was awarded the International Prize “Padre Pio” 2016. The ceremony, Saturday, November 12 , in the country of Padre Pio.
The recognition of the “Friends of Father Pio – Relief Volunteers Onlus, is awarded annually to “people who were able to give, through the mission of their profession and their work, those concrete signs of human testimony, cultural and Christian”. Among the winners in last editions, the director Franco Zeffirelli, the sociologist Francesco Alberoni, the singer Albano Carrisi. This year, the award is Altieri, a name not very famous to the general public until now, but well known in science, as in the institutional, for his courage and determination in the thirty-year agro-ecology commitment- the science that studies and uses traditional and innovative techniques for the exploitation of natural agricultural resources, respecting the environment and natural cycles and the defense and promotion of biodiversity – and in contrast to the use of pesticides, severely damaging to human health and nature, and also – he said – for the economy. Altieri, professor of biotechnology, plant pathology, entomology, organic farming and agro-ecology applied to the Agricultural Institute of Todi, responsible for AGERNOVA, Agency of Advanced services for agroecology and research, he had been interviewed by In Terris a year ago – “Here as GMOs starve the world “http://www.interris.it/2015/11/11/77732/senza-categoria/ecco-come-logm-affama-il-mondo.html – on the occasion of a conference organized in Rome, in the Basilica of St. Lawrence outside the walls, by AGERNOVA EcoFoodfertility together with the association and the Movement Eudonna – Women for Europe. And he had given testimony, in occasion of a way to do “science with a conscience”, worthy of appreciation for the quality of research as well as on the level of service of faith and promotion of Christian anthropology, in respect of God’s plan in the “Created”.
For years, he fights for the application of the “precautionary principle” in agriculture and health care. A legal and scientific principle that reflects the moral prudence. Regulated in article 191 of the Treaty on European Union and in the constitutions, it states that, where there is the suspicion that a product, an element, an event may constitute a danger and where the risk can not be measured with sufficient certainty, it should be avoided. But – said Altieri – this rule remains unenforced in farming and food security. A slap to the rights of the human person and nature. For example, regarding the use of glyphosate, a pesticide that has been shown to be seriously harmful to human health, but it continues to be used in large quantity.”The glyphosate it replaces the amino acids in our body, causing a biological chaos and severe damage of the same genetic modification,” Altieri said. “Since 2008, by law they are prohibited chemicals which interfere with the endocrine system, yet they continue to be used.” And then, said: “We spend a billion euro for pesticides and more than 200 billion to treat degenerative diseases, which are largely caused by the use of pesticides. If we we spent 12 billion euro for organic crops we would save billions in health care and we would all be healthier and wealthier. There are laws and there are financing, we have to change bad habits. ” Ecology means, in fact, also “good economy.”
“Organic agriculture is competitive in the market,” Altieri said. “We should move from conflict to convergence of interests, in good organic farming practice, which shows that economy and ecology both have as its purpose the proper management of the ‘common home’. In fact, we begin to talk about ‘econologia’ “. So, the winner of the Padre Pio of Pietralcina Prize in this sixteenth edition talks about the project “Eat as you speak”, financed by the Ministry of Agriculture: crops 100% Italian, biological, without GMO. He cites an example of good administration to follow: “The mayor of Petrosino, in the province of Trapani, has issued an order for the prohibition of pesticides on Giovanna Nastasi petition a citizen suffering from multiple chemical sensitivity to herbicides, also thanks to the intervention of the Bishop. ”
“This prize is a gift for me. Recognition for three decades of commitment and a spark to take a path in defense of human health and the planet. Just as the ecological encyclical of Pope Francis was a gift to all who are at the service of life against a culture of death, ” Altieri said. “We all live in the world as one common home. We have a duty, respect it. In the North Pole there are toxic residues coming from the planet. Polar bears do not recognize anymore females. Healthy agriculture and food have a duty of responsibility towards ourselves, future generations and our children. “