Science must respond to the needs of the country in an open discussion

Since the beginning of modernity, a large part of science has become an ally of the capitalist model with the aim of helping in the “development and progress of the world”. However, over time, evidence began to warn of the need to implement sustainability programs to counter climate change.

In this way, Tonetti referred to the effects of the extractive model, which in the case of Paraguay, after exhausting the agricultural frontiers of the eastern region, advances in the Chaco. Although he sees a return difficult, he sees a return to sustainable forms of consumption and production as an option.

His stance coincides with the latest report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which warns that global warming at 1.5°C can be overcome in the coming decades. If so, extreme heat events will often reach critical tolerance thresholds for agriculture and health.

Read more: Paraguay is at very high risk due to the impact of climate change, warns WWF

In this sense, the researcher in Cordovan highlights the role of science in facing this problem, and for this purpose he proposes the internationalization of education from a regional perspective, using knowledge networks that address their own priorities and respect the differences between the various actors.

He stressed that “there should be research plans in line with the needs of the region and the country, especially with an open discussion of what the problems and facts are.”

This position was presented as a guest at the opening of the 15th edition of the Young Researchers Conference at the National University of Asuncion in the first week of August.

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The event was streamed via Facebook, but the video was removed and then other audiovisual material was posted where Tuninetti no longer appears.

His field of study is the humanities, and he is the director of the Department of Languages, Literature and Linguistics at West Virginia University in the United States. His interest covers higher education and how science is developing in these places. On this point, he has conducted research in Paraguay, where he also collaborates with the Heñói Study Center.

Related note: Science already acknowledges the irreversible effects of climate change on the planet

“There is talk of neo-academic extractivism in which universities produce research in Latin American countries, but these investigations are directed by laboratories from the Global North and a model is produced in which a Latin American researcher gains scholarly standing through his publications in internationally indexed journals, but These investigations are from a larger project centered around a northern university and it is clear that the interests of this investigation respond to those interests,” he cautioned about some of his findings.

Contribution to the economy

The agricultural sector is presented as a major player in Paraguay’s economy. According to Paraguay’s central bank, it generated more than $5,000 million in foreign exchange earnings in the first year of the pandemic and helped mitigate the impact of the health crisis.

Agricultural exporters talk of an indirect impact on the entire economy, but Toninetti is skeptical because it is therefore possible that 42% of those surveyed by the Strategic Geopolitical Center for Latin America had to borrow to cover basic expenses such as food, education or health.

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