I only heard about it Monday as I tuned in to Democracy Now and they were broadcasting all week from Bolivia at the World People’s Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth. Bolivian President Evo Morales came up with the idea (from what I understand) after the Copenhagen Conference brought no solution to the critical issues of climate change. I heard him interviewed this morning, you can see it on the Democracy Now website on the April 23rd show. One of the things that President Morales said is that Copenhagen was not concerned with the causes of climate change but rather just the effects-and I will add that this was not even addressed satisfactorily.
The objectives for the conference were the following:
1. Analyze the structural and systemic causes of climate change and propose substantive measures that facilitate the well-being of all mankind in harmony with nature.
2. Discuss and agree the draft Universal Declaration of rights of Mother Earth.
3. To agree on proposals for new commitments to the Kyoto Protocol and projects for a COP Decision under the United Nations Framework for Climate Change that will guide future actions in those countries that are engaged with life during climate change negotiation
4. Work on the organization of a people’s world referendum on climate change.
5. Analyze and draw up a plan of action to advance the establishment of a Climate Justice Tribunal;
6. Define strategies for action and mobilization in defense of life against climate change and for mother earth rights.
This is the web site for the conference if you want to read more about it. I find it so interesting that what is happening is the people most affected by climate change are really mobilizing and taking action, as if their life depends upon it… because it does. For most of us in the US and Europe we really do not have a direct experience with the changes occurring as a result of climate change so it is easy to not get very stirred up about what is happening to the Earth…but it is happening nonetheless.
Historically here in the US we don’t take to the streets and demand change and then see that our actions can make a difference…but they can. A great example of this is the election of Barack Obama. Many said that he could never defeat the powerful Clinton political machine but the grass roots efforts were what made the difference. So take this as an example of what motivated, driven and active people can do, even here in the US.
The location in Bolivia of this conference is very significant. It was held in Cochabamba, which is where ten years ago the people united against the privatization of water and drove Bechtel, operating under a “friendly” local name-Aguas del Tunari, out of the country-at least as far as the water company was concerned. Imagine as the water was privatized they even wanted to charge people for collecting rainwater and from using water from wells that had existed for decades. It is an amazing story and Bolivian President Evo Morales was a driving force in the protest…and today he is the first indigenous President of Bolivia. You can hear Amy Goodman speak about the Water Wars on this podcast. It is an inspiring story about how the people made a difference against their government, the World Bank and one of the largest multi-national corporations Bechtel. This is a lesson that we Americans should pay attention to.
We shall see what comes out of this People’s Climate Change Conference but to me what is really significant is that this is a movement that will not be stopped because in many ways the future of humanity is at stake…not meaning to sound dramatic but it seems to be the truth. Many of the people leading this are already facing the realities of climate change. In a time when so many people are barely surviving, 3 billion people live on less than $2 a day, when we look into the future if things continue as they are with water and food shortages, the oceans becoming more polluted and fish being depleted we are facing some serious issues.
I see this as an amazing time and opportunity for all of us to unite recognizing that we all depend on the Earth for everything that we eat, drink and each drop of air that we breathe, and to take action to take care of this beautiful planet that we are lucky to live upon. There are more than enough resources for all of us to live and to not cause any more damage and allow the healing of the planet to begin.
What can you do today to make a difference?
Just learning more and caring more is a big step.