More and more people are becoming concerned about this economic ideology that we could baptize with the name of the condom culture: buy it, use it for a few brief moments, throw it away and restart the anxious attempt to attain a new futile and unproductive frenzy. This environment consists of the busy and continuous search for ephemeral and circumstantial merchandise that originates from the tendency to live from hand to mouth, minute by minute, trying to drain the present pleasure to the maximum without responsibility and without worrying in the least beyond that. I do not refer to the transcendent but to beyond this, to what is beyond the day after tomorrow in this life, to what is beyond today and now: to the future. 

This culture, which prevails in a large part of the developed western world, contrasts with the growing concern in wider and wider scientific circles, that meditates on ecology and the future situation of the natural environment that concerns us all. Also being interested in these questions I had the opportunity last December to attend the 5th National Congress of Economics in Seville where the monograph theme was: economic and environmental development. 

In many of these sessions, that concern for the future and for future generations appeared as a constant background refrain. It is not necessary to know very much nor have many technical studies to understand the serious environmental problem with which we find ourselves if the rules of conduct and consumption, typical of those countries which are most developed, are imported and spread throughout Third World countries. We can imagine the situation of planetary repercussions of the comparison of countries like China and India with the way of life and consumption of an average Spaniard today. Just think of those millions of Chinese or Magreb citizens with the same number of automobiles per inhabitant as in our country. I am going to rent out a shack in the Amazon right away!

Given the strong exemplary impact of the «demonstration effect» that is transmitted from the developed world through more and more sophisticated media to the underdeveloped countries, the only alternative consists of rectifying and reorienting the prevailing culture in the West towards ways of life that are more human and responsible with the natural ecosystem. The World Commission for the Environment and Development has proposed, on several occasions, the use of the concept of sustainable development, understood as the necessity of  «assuring the necessities of the present without compromising the capacity of coming generations to satisfy these.” If we do not change then the human and ecological deterioration could end up being irreversible. 

In one of the sessions which I was able to attend, there was also concern for the future and those coming generations. Not only were interesting theoretical studies presented but concrete, daring and in a sense revolutionary proposals were also contributed with imagination, which implemented that general concern. The professor Joan Pasqual commented on the convenience of articulating a system of representation of the interests of coming generations, creating institutions with effective power like the one that could be called “Defender of future generations.” He also proposed the creation of a Bank of Natural Resources in each nation that would be coordinated by means of a World Bank. In the debate of that same session it occurred to me to suggest the possibility of giving greater political representation to minors by means of a democratic system with adult weighted vote by parents or tutors according to the number of children. For the parents the future is very abstract, general and not very convincing when it is speculated, but it becomes concrete and stimulating when that future is contemplated alive in their children. 

Ending up at the beginning, we claim what is natural, ecology, in everything. The pressure against that is so great that we shall also have to end up defending the right to the ecological married act. Using a condom is like degrading and abruptly interrupting the contemplative ecstasy of the most beautiful landscape in  Doñana, putting a concrete  Pirulí in the centre. The truth is that I cannot imagine the panther, tiger or lion of the African jungle, using those laboratory useless pieces of junk for the realization of something so splendid and natural. I would not like to be the one who tries to put them on. 

JJ Franch Meneu