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Ignacio López-Goñi, Dean of the School of Sciences, University of Navarra

For a new culture of life

Wed, 08 Jun 2011 09:20:36 +0000 Published in Navarra Newspaper

We have just celebrated Environment Day. The message is clear: to build a better society we have to be respectful of the planet that hosts us. As biologists, who are passionate about life, this means contributing our professional work and knowledge to defend and protect nature, of which we are all an integral part. Our destiny is closely linked to biodiversity, to the great variety of other animals and plants, and to the place where they live. We share the planet with several million different species: an incredible natural wealth, a priceless treasure that forms the fundamental basis of human well-being. A species, whether animal or plant, that disappears is a great loss to future generations. Safeguarding this natural wealth and reducing its loss is vital to our present and future well-being. That is why we must work to protect biodiversity, our forests and our ecosystems.

But an essential part of that biodiversity and those ecosystems is ourselves: the human race, probably the most predatory species of all and at the same time the weakest. plenary session of the Executive Council Today, in the 21st century, we still need a commitment to solidarity to build a better society: a society that is once again proud to be human, that has a passion for life and defends it from its beginning to its end.

Today we know that at the very moment of fertilization, this new cell has its own individual endowment Genetics that makes it different from the mother that shelters it. An exciting and perfectly controlled and regulated development begins, without interruption. At the very beginning of fertilization, the point of entrance of the spermatozoon in the ovum generates a signal Chemistry that will determine the cellular symmetry of the embryo. In this sense, it has been said that we keep report from our first day of life. Already from that first instant, we know that this cell is one of our own, of our species. In those first stages of our development we are not a jumble of cells, we are not a wart or a tumor that comes out of the mother, we are already ourselves, in a continuous development until adulthood. There is no biological fact that allows us to say that there is a pre-human stage in our development embryonic. The word pre-embryo is not a scientific term, it is a juridical-political invention to justify the destruction of human lives. No life is a useless life. From those first moments to old age. In the words of Cecily Saunders, the first promoter of palliative care: "You matter to me because you are you, you matter until the last moment of your life, and we will do everything in our power, not only to help you die in peace but also to live until the day you die".

Today more than ever it is necessary to work for a new culture of life that drowns and puts an end to this other oil slick, this culture of death that permeates our society. All of us as a whole, the political powers in particular, should work to carry forward this commitment to build a more just, more humane society: a society that protects the weak is a stronger society. Abortion is not the solution to the tragedy of an unwanted pregnancy. A commitment is needed so that Education and information reach everyone, because knowledge is also a right. A commitment so that the pregnant woman is never alone, and does not see death as the only solution. History will judge our passivity or our commitment in solidarity with the weak, with an authentic culture of life, which will make us more human. We can still change things today.