On Buenos Aires it would be better to write a book than a blogpost. There were the manifestations against the FMI, against the economic policy of president Macri – as I briefly mentioned in the post on Rosario – and there was the joy of winning some games of the World Championship Football, and eventually losing a crucial one.
With all these events on the background and foreground, depending on the perspective, I wandered around wondering how the city works on sustainability.
Even this topic deserves a book and cannot be seen without the complex history and resulting political position of Buenos Aires. The capital of Argentina has a special political and economic status in the country, it has more autonomy and definitely a specific culture, due to its international scene, economic power, and political centre. Argentina can be seen as Buenos Aires and ‘the others’.
Against the Flow
However, in my quest which I will comment in separated articles, rather than in this blog, I met very inspiring people, and learned something I cannot share in those articles.
It is about will, engagement, and enthusiasm; more than theories and vain words.
One night after walking an entire day from neighbourhood to neighbourhood, being confronted with the differences and maybe even gaps between the various places one can live or even be born in the same city, I end up at the biggest public University of Buenos Aires.
While the students are leaving the building, I enter the building against the flow. Rising the stairs takes me along the history of this university and of the country. There are reminders of the dictatorship, the injustice, and the disappeared students.
Eventually the small room where I’ll meet my contacts is still empty and cold, I got used to it, living the entire time in my winter jacket, scarf and all sweaters I can get. Heating systems are not burning, not consuming or wasting energy, it can be a sustainability measure, but one of poverty as well.
Argentina is known for its severe energy crises, caused by various factors, such as corruption, mismanagement, technical errors, the rising energy consumption and even climate change which increases the energy demand even more; for cooling in the summer when temperatures can rise up to 40 degrees; and for heating in the winter. Climate changes evokes extremes.
It will take us hours and hours to talk about the topic, the evening passes as in a second, a mind blowing second. The couple I’m talking to was already dedicated to sustainability even before the term existed, they have decades of experience in the field of architecture and moreover sustainable architecture. They lack a lot of means, financial and technological, but they find their way, even without it. For every problem, there is a solution, must have been their motto over time, since they found incredible innovative and creative solutions for every problem they met; without the means.
They taught me a lot, about passion, enthusiasm, will, and eagerness; about being creative and cooperative, about looking and finding; but you don’t find if you don’t look. And they kept looking, still. The sparkle in their eyes warns me that they will not stop, not even after all these decades.
This is what we need, what the world needs; eagerness, will, enthusiasm, working together and yet never give up looking for a solution with the means you’ve got, in the situation you’re at, and with thrust in the future. I know there are many people out there as them, we need them, and we need you, to adopt this attitude and step up for the better. Even if it is a small step. Together we can walk a thousand miles.