April 24, 2010

Is Bolivia taking the right steps?

By Soumya Dutta, Cochabamba, 22 April 2010
On this Earth Day at the historic People's Conference on Climate Change and Rights of Mother Earth, standing at the Estadio Felix Capriles de Cochabamba (Felix Capriles Stadium of Cochabamba) full of enthusiastic crowd of climate justice activists, peasants movements, anti-mining groups, and all sorts of left-leaning social formations - numbering about 25,000 ad full of vibrant energy, it would probably not be right to have any negative thoughts about anything that is happening here in Bolivia. The spirit is all pervading - yes, we can reclaim the world from an exploitative system and get it back to the hands of its caring citizens.
Yet, the last five days at Cochabamba and Bolivia at large, gives rise to some questions, if not discomfort. The President of the self declared "Plurinational state" of Bolivia - Evo Morales Ayema has declared that people of this world will henceforth, determine the agenda of climate change discourse, and this unique World People's Conference is a bold step in that direction. But is Bolivia taking the right steps, turing in to the right path?
The city of Cochabamba has less than one million residents, and yet the number of cars - big and huge cars - on its roads is astounding. You can find single occupants in every third big car, and these are far in excess than the proportions seen even in the richest Indian city - and Bolivia is not a rich country - even by Latin American standards!!! Most cars run on gas - no doubt the cleanest of all the fossil carbon fuels, but the gas is very cheap - leading to large consumption, big driving around - even by the middle class. This also helps keep the taxi fares cheap, but just money was never the concern in the crisis of climate change. The sheer number of trips just the 9,00,000 odd Cochabambans do every year would be putting in a huge amount of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere - and so unnecessarily. Most of the buses are old and ramshackle, and there are share taxis in fixed routes, which people prefer again, a policy which cannot claim to be climate friendly.
The so-typical glass-concrete-aluminium buildings seen in any other capitalist metropolis is seen here in abundance also. The spread of glittering shopping malls is still not visible in a scale being seen in big Indian metros, but innumerable shops selling imported and unnecessary consumer goods in a great variety - again an American consumerist trait - is an eyesore. Evo is an icon in the struggle against the capitalist system but Coca Cola does unhindered business, even copied by local bottlers with "Coca Cola" selling from hand carts all around the market places.
Whild the many market places, including the mind-bogglingly large "La Cancha" near the centre of Cochabamba are full of small shops run by small shop-keepers, the rule of dollars is seen everywhere. The goods bear an uncanny resemblance to things American - whether original or copies and the people feel so comfortable in "dealing in dollars".
The food consumption is glaringly dominated by very large amounts of meat that too mostly beef (and pork). Both are known to be the worst food items in terms of their climate change impacts - whether for energy consumption for producing the meat, for destruction of rich forest lands for industrial scale cattle farming, and for the huge water consumption and pollution from the cattle farming. Yet, there was no sign that these are even on the radar of the Bolivian climate movement leaders.
Being a favourite tourist destination of Europeans and Amricans, who come attracted by the Andean mountains, the unique Altiplano and the rich indigenous cultures, Bolivia has adopted all the evils of the consumerist, wasteful global north. Bottled water is staple drink - along with bottled fruit juices. Even the poor seem to follow this strange economic logic, though the juice presses are still seen in some numbers in peripheral areas. The markets are flooded with American-company names, whether these came from those US companies or are local copies is the less important question - the cultural preferences is very clear.
There are other questions about the mining policy, about the old tin mining that damaged the lake-planes, and the newly targeted Lithium mines. There are doubts about the Bolivian stand about market mechanisms as part of climate solutions - and one sincerely hopes that these doubts prove unfounded.
A beginning on a concept level has been made by the visionary leadership of Evo. But a nation runs on its peoples cultural lives, and unless the new revolution being visualised comes down to the people on the ground in letter and spirit, it is hard to see any real breakthrough. Great visions are those that transcend the rhetorical and can inspire spontaneous actions. That is yet to be seen in the fertile Bolivian grounds - which inspiringly, were the last battle ground of Che.
Let's hope that the dream and the vision quickly overcome the harsh realities, and this test will prove Evo to be history maker - or another one to try and wither away.

April 23, 2010

City of eternal spring carries the expectation of the world

by Ajay K Jha, PAIRVI.

The city of epic struggle against water privatization, Cochabamba carries the expectation of the world for a just and equitable climate deal. Besides the warmth of the people from Cochabamba, one can definitely feel and poise and expectation in the air. More than 7 million people stranded at airports of northern Europe, many thousands among them definitely destined to the small tropical town and third largest city of Bolivia, has failed to dampen the spirit and enthusiasm of Bolivia to play a crucial leadership role in arriving at a just deal. A visit to the accreditation counter at Tiqipayya, a small village on the suburbs of Cochabamba, and Univalle (where the side events and plenaries take place when the Conference on the climate change and rights of the mother earth begin on Monday 19th April) are swarmed by local people, students and people from neighboring Latin American countries gives enough hint to the aspiration of people, many of them have also children accompanying them. Though language remains a major handicap in conversation, the communication is clear-we must take a resolute step to ensure the rights of the mother earth and more than 4.5 million people living in the developing countries. The developed countries must understand that this is not a struggle between the rich and the poor neither between extreme deprivation and lavish consumptive lifestyle, it s a call of the mother earth. Its not only 15000 people from all over the world and 70 governments who are taking that call, but there are overwhelming sentiments for the rights of the mother earth world over. This includes millions of people on whom climate and economic injustice has been perpetrated historically and who cannot afford to come down the city of happening, but are very hooked on to happenings in the Bolivian city and expect all the fortunate ones who are here to send a strong, irrepressible and undeniable verdict against the impunity of the developed countries to have polluted and to continue to pollute the air, water, and the mother earth.

The peoples climate change conference has the huge task of bringing the ethics, justice, and equity in the climate change negotiations. Though seemingly unsurmountable, however, Copenhagen has already showed us how David can tame the Goliath. The Conference has the support of countries in Africa, Asia, AOSIS, Latin America, however, that needs to be expressed in unequivocal support and solidarity. The official website www.cmpcc.org, states that more than 70 governments have confirmed participation, it actually remains a question of fact how many of them really turn up to lend their support. Solidarity of latin American countries esp. Brazil, Argentina, Venezuela will be crucial for success of the conference. The participation of big developing countries like India, SA, S Korea, China, could have lend enormous strength but that seems highly unlikely. It is unfortunate that these countries have not responded to the peoples congress very enthusiastically. The clear signal emerging from their non participation is that these governments does not believe much in peoples, tribal and indigenous communities, civil societies capacity to participate in international negotiations. Jairam Ramesh, Minister of Environment and Forests, was quite blunt in his remarks at Copenhagen, when responding to a delegation requests to keep certain facts in consideration in putting forward India’s stand in negotiations, when he said that negotiation was task of the government and civil society organizations should limit them to working on education and adaptation aspects at home. Disregard for civil societies capacity to understand esoteric aspects of international negotiations is too obvious in China. As for the response in other parts of the world especially North America the climate congress is being dubbed as “Clown’s Congress.” It is important for people in developed countries to understand that 20, 0000 people coming to participate in far off parts of the world are not fools. It is a more a matter of looking at people who might be individually poor but collectively hold most of resources, which the developed countries have appropriated in huge disregard to rule of nature, justice and equity.

In 2009 more than 1 billion people fell below the hunger line, and 600 million more are expected to join them in the losing battle against hunger by the end of the century. its not a question only of availability and access of food, it raises larger questions of ethics of development, where some have obviously more food, water, energy, and resources than they can consume, and majority does not have even a fraction of what is their right. In the circumstances, the centrality of agriculture especially small holders agriculture in providing answer to both the issues of providing food to growing population as well as preserving the planet. President Evo Morales has the huge responsibility of responding strongly to the false solutions provided at the Copenhagen in this context. Much more than that, he has the huge responsibility of reinstating the power of people and civil society from not so well off parts of the world in global politics on climate change, and sustaining the enthusiasm of poor people in all parts of the world. UN backed the proposal of Evo Morales to observe 22nd April as International day for the Rights of Mother Earth. On this day we must commit that all of us belong to her.

April 22, 2010

Voice of Civil Society Loud and Clear in Cochabamba

by Daniela Estrada - Tierramerica

The success of the climate change conference taking place in the central Bolivian city of Cochabamba will depend on how unified civil society ultimately is in its efforts to influence the United Nations Climate summit in Mexico, say Latin American Activists.
The bulk of the debate in People's Conference will be led by civil society, which tends to oppose the market-based mechanisms proposed by most of the governments to fight climate change, and this is fuelling doubts about just how much impact the Bolivian forum will have on the official climate talks taking place within the United Nations.
Itelvina Massioli, of the Brazilian Movement of Landless Rural Workers (MST-Movimento dos Trabalhadores Rurais Sem Terra) and Via Compesina International, said in an interview with Tierramerica that the conference will not be a "trade fail" but rather "an important space for information, reflection, dialogue and coordination among peoples."
Mexico, which will host the COP 16 in December - an effort to reverse the failure of the Copenhagen meet, is represented in Cochabamba by delegates from at least seven environmental groups.
"Our general proposal is to say 'no' to the false solutions aganist climate change offered by nearly all governments, such as market mechanisms that do not have mitigating effects, "Miguel Valencia, an organiser of Klimaforum 2009, told Tierramerica.
"Cochabamba can be a democratic space for developing organisational capacity to build accord within civil society, " said Claudia Gomez, of the non-governmental Mexican Centre for Environmental Law.
Courtesy: pwccc.wordpress.com

Conflicts within Bolivia - even with the government of Evo Morales

The "Plurinational State" of Bolivia has convened the World People's Conference on Climate Change and Rights of Mother Earth in the city of Cochabamba. The policies of this government are quite progressive in many terms, particularly when compared to many of the developing countries in our part of the world. The HISTORIC PEOPLES REBELLION AGAINST WATER PRIVATISATION, the toal and forceful rejection of the crooked Copenhagen accord, the recognition that the earth herself has rights and that has to get primacy - many such visionary advances in the state policy are coming out from this government lead by an indigenous (tribal) president who is a beacon of light to the dispossessed fighting against capitalist industrial system.
But even here in Bolivia, there are large scale conflicts continuing where the government is not always with the people most affected. One clear example is the mining industry, which gives good revenue to the state. Bolivia has large Lithium deposits, and Lithium is sometimes termed the green energy mineral of the future as it is used in making Lithium-ion batteries, which are in great demand in modern generation of electrically operated gadgets and in very large scale soon - for longer range electric vehicles that the western societies are proposing as a "solution" to the climate crisis, inspite of the fact that battery operated vehicles do not really cut down the emissions of GHGs, in fact they increase this - unless almost the entire electricity for charging those batteries come from zero-GHG sources, including the embedded energies involved.
But none of those serious questions have been given any negative voting power by the worlds profit crazy industries, nor by the revenue hungry governments. Though one would expect the present Bolivian government of Evo Morales Ayma to be an exception, that do not seem the clear case.
Large scale mining operations around Lago Poopo (Lake Popoo) and Lago Oruro have brought devastations to local communities. The government is helping the people by instructing the companies to follow all environmental regulations, but the primary questions of the development pathway or paradigm is not addressed. Neither is the question of whether a state can at will mine or extract or give encouragement for that for whatever it feels can give it revenue?
Whether that violates mother earths rights to what is hers - is also a big question for a "Plurinational State" and its president. In years to come, Bolivia and Evo Morales Ayma have to answer these questions.
Tin is another mineral that Bolivia has historically depended on for generation of foreign exchange through exports. But in the high altitude planes full of lakes, where the tin is also found in large amounts, its mining is causing enormous environmental damage as well as large health impacts on the people. The communities leaders voices do not always match the ordinary people at the ground. Many are affected very badly, like os the case back in India, but the "leaders" of these movements are not always demanding halts to these destructive projects. How these seeming disparities are to be handled - whether a government can overcome the trappings of state power and state control - are questions looming large in the horizon.
But for present, Evo Morales Ayma, the inspiring presiden of the poor Latin American State of Bolivia - have shown a way to the people of the world, who are struggling to break the shackles of the globalised industrial capitalist exploitation net, and facing the crises created by its dumped rubbish - including the greatest threat of them all, the climate crisis.

By Soumya Dutta (SADED), a delegate of Beyond Copenhagen Collective

Evo Morales’ message to grassroots climate talks – planet or death

Bolivia's President opened the inaugural international 'People's Conference' at Cochabamba, with delegates from 125 nations.

"Planet or Death!" chanted Bolivia's leftwing president, Evo Morales, to a crowd of 20,000 people. "We will be victorious!" the crowds answered back, waving rainbow-coloured, chequered Andean indigenous flags.
Morales was officially inaugurating the first international "people's conference" on climate change - the grassrotts alternative to last year's failed United Nations talks in Copenhagen.
The meeting in the city of Cochabamba has attracted people from more than 125 countries, although many delegated from Africa, Europe and India were unable to come because of the travel chaos caused by the Icelandic volcano. The meeting has no direct bearing on the UN climate talks, which continue this year, but is billed as a venue for the grassroots movements to put pressure on governments to act on climate change.
"The positive thing here is that people have a space. Until now, the voice, the lead, was always given to governments. And now it is the turn of the people because the governments, particularly some governments from developed countries, did not understand that we are in the verge of a catastrophe and they are not assuming responsibility," said Juan Pablo Ramos, Bolivia's deputy environment minister.
His president will have raised some eyebrows though with bizarre comments in his opening address that baldness is the consequence of genetically modified chickens and potatoes and that Coca-Cola is "poison and sewage water". Bolivia's first indigenous president, a former Ilama herder and coca grower, added: "Either capitalism dies, or it will be Mother Earth."
Later this week, Morales and other Latin American leaders are expected to call for the establishment an international climate court, demanding compensation from rich countries to assist poor nations, and urging countries to open their borders to future waves of climate refugees.
"We are not part of the problem, we are part of the solution, we the indigenous peoples, the peasant communities, so let us offer you the solution because we are the ones suffering, "said Justo Cruz, an Aymara indigenous leader. "Ordinary people are never allowed to talk, [yet] we are the ones paying the price for what the rich are doing to our planet, to our Mother Earth."
The UN, which organised the Copenhagen talks is not popular here. The UN representative in Bolivia struggles to make her voice heard over a chorus of booing and during a presentation, the former president of the general assembly, Nicaraguan Catholic priest Miguel D'Escoto, declared that the "fraud, lie and dictatorship" that is the UN should be "re-invented".
"It is not that it wasn't important what governments were discussing in Copenhagen but the problem is that it was discussed from a corporate perspective and here we are dicussing it from an indigenous perspective we have a great deal of respoect for Mother Earth, we have a direct accountbility to her, something that developed nations seem not to have", says Vanessa Inarunekia, a Taino indigenous woman from Puerto Rico. "Human beings cannot survive without Mother Earth; Mother Earth can survive without us," she said.
Domingo Lechon, climate justice co-ordinator from Friends of the Earth Mexico, said: "Cochabamba represents a unique opportunity for popular demands to be adopted by governments. We will use this new people's agenda as a rallying call to mobilise movements of affected peoples, indigenous peoples, peasant farmers, trade unions and women to dismantle corporate power and force our governments into action."
Courtesy: Guardian News and Media Limited 2010 (http://www.guardian.co.uk/)

April 21, 2010

Inauguration of the Cochabamba Conference

by Soumya Dutta, SADED, a Delegate of Beyond Copenhagen Collective

Today on the 20th here in Cochabamba, Bolivia standing under the mighty Andes mountains, the conference was inaugurated by the Bolivian President Evo Morales Ayma, which was preceeded by presentations by people´s representatives from different continents.

Over 14-15 thousand people from all across the globe came in their colourful atires, with the lively & colourful Latin American people in large majority. The traditional Andean mountain community welcome was performed with a ring of fire and water, representing mother earth. The spirit here is high, sky-high, though not many governments of the world have responded with high enough priority, people were in no mood to regret that. calls for a new dawn, of a change in human values & culture reverberated throughout the Tiquipaya municipal stadium which was spilling over with people .

About the Cochabamba Climate Conference

by Soumya Dutta, SADED, a delegate of Beyond Copenhagen Collective

People from around the world are attending the Peoples' Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth in Cochabamba, Bolivia this week as a follow up to the failed UN Climate Talks in Copenhagen, Denmark last December.

Social movements have converged in Cochabamba to rally opposition to the push by the world's leading carbon emitters to promote unjust and false solutions to climate change such as carbon offsets, and to make a collective push for stricter binding carbon reductions, reparations for industrial-driven environmental destruction, and a human rights approach to climate policies.

Working Group 17: Agriculture and Food Sovereignty

Courtesy: http://pwccc.wordpress.com

a. We declare and denounce that agribusiness and the inherent logic of production of foods oriented towards the market and not for the right to food, is one of the main causes of climate change through changes in the use of land (deforestation and the expansion of the agricultural frontier), monocrops, the excessive use of products derived from the petrochemical industry, food processing, and all the logistic involved in the transportation of food towards the consumer and also through the model of society, economy and culture of production and consumption.

b. Denounce that climate change, through the migration generated in rural areas, represents a threat to indigenous, peasant and farmer peoples around the world who are the most affected when their livelihoods and ancestral agricultural practices are destroyed, and, in this sense, their identity.

c. To question all practices and logic of production of foods in conventional agropecuaria that generates climate change making Mother Earth loose capacity of productivity against erosion, salinization, acidification, soil compactation and the destruction of natural and biological diversity.

d. Prohibit the technologies that provoke and accelerate climate change as are: agrofuels, Genetically Modified Organisms, nanotechnology and all those that under the supposition of helping climate change, in fact undermine food sovereignty.

e. Promote state policies that control agricultural production to avoid harming Mother Earth.

f. We demand that governments commit themselves to uphold the model of agriculture of peasant farmers and indigenous/originary practices, and other ecological models and practices that contribute to solving the problem of climate change and ensure food sovereignty, understood as the right of peoples to control their own seeds, lands, water and the production of food, ensuring, through agro-ecological, local, and culturally appropriate production, the peoples access to sufficient, varied and nutritious foods complementary to the Mother Earth emphasizing autonomous (participative, communitarian and shared) production of all nations and people.

g. That intensive conventional agriculture progressively implement agro-ecological production, bearing in mind the production of food for all, considering local knowledge and the innovation of technology complementary to Mother Earth.

h. Agriculture must focus on improving their productive practices in complementation with indigenous communities and peasant farming.

i. States and peoples shall control, regulate and plan the efficient and rational use of water in food production systems in terms of mitigation and adaptation to climate change.

j. Emphasize that Food Sovereignty is a way towards climate change adaptation and mitigation, while generating resilience in communities.

k. We must recognize that part of the solution to climate change lies not only in changing the logic of production oriented to satisfy the market and profit, but also changing the philosophical view that assumes that land is a resource or right only for the satisfaction of humanity.

l. We must censor any political-military strategy that undermines food sovereignty of peoples, making humanity as a whole vulnerable to climate change.

m. Condemn any commercial strategy or mechanism (FTAs, partnerships) that threatens food sovereignty and encourages climate change.

n. To call upon industrialized countries to stop the unlawful practice of illegal subsidies to their agricultural sectors and dumping which distorts food prices affecting the food sovereignty and making undeveloped countries vulnerable to climate change.

o. We must implement social safety nets based on food sovereignty with financial resources from those who produce climate change.

p. We declare that the impacts of climate change on food sovereignty should be inserted within the framework of negotiations on climate change.

For Media Persons

Historic First World People’s Summit on Climate Change in Cochabamba, Bolivia, called by President Evo Morales after the failure of UN Climate talks in Copenhagen, has attracted more than 130 countries and more than 12,000 delegates. It is likely that the North American mainstream media will ignore it. However, the Summit can be followed live on internet TV, on alternative media rabble.ca and Democracy Now and in European media Guardian UK.

Bolivia pushes for climate crimes tribunal


Diplomats from the 17 largest economies are meeting behind closed doors for a second day today in Washington D.C. to work out their differences on climate change. As the name suggests–the Major Economies Forum–all the major players are there: the U.S., the European Union, Japan, China, India, Brazil, South Africa…

But 4,000 miles to the south, as many as 15,000 people are expected to gather at the municipal coliseum in Tiquipaya, Bolivia, to open the World People’s Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth. Many who have been excluded from the major forums will be there–not just less influential nations, but also indigenous peoples, activist groups, non-governmental organizations.

“Everybody is invited: individuals, scientific, civil society, NGOs, 192 countries. Everybody. Everybody can come to Bolivia, give their view, debate,” said Bolivian Ambassador Angelica Navarro. ”We think democracy is key. The wisdom is in the people, the wisdom is in those that are suffering or that are willing to help.

“We hope that together, those of us that were excluded can have a stronger say in the formal setting and come back and say (to governments), this is what civil society is asking. Can you deliver or not?”

April 19, 2010

Bringing Agriculture to the centre of Climate Change Negotiations

by Soumya Dutta. SADED, a Delegate of Beyond Copenhagen collective.

The Climate Change talks in COP 15 conference at Copenhagen could not reach much of the desired goals, but no doubt it had paved the way for more and more Climate talks. Now the time has come to look beyond Copenhagen conference. After making its presence felt in the COP 15, PAIRVI, CECOEDECON and SADAD (Representative of Beyond Copenhagen Coalition) once again has joined hands to promote and to highlight the adverse affect of climate change on agriculture, in the World People's Conference on Climate Change in Bolivia as agriculture is the least debated issue and it is important to focus on agriculture in the Climate Change Negotiation.

The 'Beyond Copenhagen' coalition is organizing a side event in Cochabamba on
Bringing Agriculture to the centre of Climate Change Negotiations
on 19th April 2010 from 18:30 to 20:30 at
Sala Informatica, Sala Idiomas, Univalle, Cochabamba.

Curtain Raiser – Cochabamba Conference: World People’s Conference on Climate Change & Mother Earth’s Rights

by Soumya Dutta – South Asian Dialogues on Ecological Democracy (SADED), 'a delegate of Beynd Copenhagen Collective’.

The by now ill famous climate summit in Copenhagen – COP 15, held from 7th to 19th December last year in the Danish capital became the butt of ridicule by the people of the world, instead of taking bold steps to address one of the greatest crises that humanity has ever faced – that of a human induced climate change and the resulting upheavals. The 190 odd governments who gathered in Copenhagen in the cold north-European winter, failed not only to ‘seal the deal, the mother of all Deals’ – to save the Earth’s living environment from being violently disturbed by the ruthless attacks of the all-destructing capitalist industrial economic culture, but they also miserably failed their own people. The very nature of the relationship between people and their governments, of being trustees and the trust givers – though in question since long – was ruthlessly violated by the actions of most of the governments, who chose to accept a few ‘silvers’ for their betrayal. Only a handful of governments stood out from this crowd of betrayers and trust sellers, and the so-called “Pluri-national” state of Bolivia was unquestionably one of the boldest and most visionary amongst these.

Amidst the ruins of Copenhagen, the indigenous President of Bolivia, Evo Morales Ayma, gave the call for a paradigm change in human – nature relationship, to follow up on his bold demand of reparations by the rich polluter states,who for over the two-centuries has plundred and privatized the global common atmosphere. He not only forcefully put forward the concept of adaptation debt that the rich polluters owe to the poor in addition to the historical climate debt for centuries long forceful occupation and dumping in the global atmosphere, but introduced what indigenous people all over the world has known & practiced for millennia – that the Earth is the Mother of us all, and we cannot take from her as we wish, the mother has to be placed at the centre of the cycle of life. It is only proper that it took a President of a Nation who is from the indigenous communities, to bring this realization, this wisdom of ages gone by – to the world stage. Standing in front of the conniving leaders of many governments of the world in Copenhagen – Morales gave the call for people to reclaim their sovereignty from these crafty, scheming, dishonest and courage-less actors who took control of the ‘fate’ of the earth till now.

It is this reclaiming of our people’s rightful sovereignty that this world people’s conference being organized in Cochabamba in the eastern parts of the climate impacted Andean mountains in Bolivia – is all about. We now know and understand that we cannot just put the affairs of the earth in the hands of a select few who conspire & connive to ‘mine’ the earth dead, for their quick capitalist profits of a few ‘silvers’ (or a few trillion dollars / euros / Yuans/ Reals / Yens /Rupees/ Roubles / Krones /….. ). This knowledge and understanding now has to be reflected in how the human world lives in harmony with all other elements within nature. This is about reasserting that this sovereign people fully recognizes and respects that the Mother Earth has the first rights over all that we have on this planet, that the blinding greed that brands everything and even all life on this earth – as “resources” (mineral resource, biological resource, human resource, …) to be plundered , cannot be tolerated or continued any longer. It is about taking power back from the hands and minds of the profit hungry corporate and their dictat-following, subservient governments – not by the ‘barrel of the gun” but by un-wavering reassertion of the truth that earth is the only mother and cradle and sustenance that we all have, that it is not only the single species of humans, the HomoSapiens who has the basic rights for a dignified survival & ‘humane progress’, and that time is not only running out – but has already reached the edge of the abyss, and there will be no second chance, no other Planet B, for us to “exploit & experiment with”. This conference is about a capital change – that of the fundamentally flawed, corrupt, greed driven system of the capitalist industrial empire that is consuming the very mother on whose sustenance all life lives.

The World People’s Conference in Cochabamba is starting on the 19th of April – hence forth to be marked in the calendars of the world as a red-letter day, and will continue till what is now largely practiced as mostly a ritual – The Earth day on April 22nd. In this four days, a seemingly small but vanguard section of the mother-Earth’s human children will push for – under the bold leadership of the President of the Pluri-National state of Bolivia - Evo Morales Ayma – the restoration of sense, of natural-order, of real humanity. It is upon this band of pioneers – who nonetheless represents the overwhelming majority of the dispossessed, deprived and suffering humanity – to initiate this process of change, and let mother-Earth restore the living environment with equitable care and concern for all that is on this earth.

On the part of earth’s human children, all of us will work towards these goals, by initiating work on the four directions that this conference aims to address –

1) To come out with a Universal Declaration of Mother Earth’s Rights ,

2) To demand that all nations & people return to the collective plat form of the United

Nations, to re-commit themselves to real & drastic reductions of GHG-emissions with

A time-table dictated by honest science;

3) To start the process of setting up a world Climate Justice tribunal, and

4) To strengthen the demand for justice & equity, and ensure that the historical polluters

Pay-up for the non-polluting sufferers to cope with the crisis, and also to address the

Long historical injustices,

No one here is under the illusion that the road ahead is short or easy. No one is suffering from the megalomania – so typical of the capitalist-industrial-technological ‘civilization’ – that what they are doing here is the ultimate. But all share the common understanding, the all-pervading sense that these few days and months have all the potential of turning out to be the beginning of new history. In the entire history of life on this shared planet of ours, there were a few ‘occasions’ when one or more life form(s) have ‘created’ conducive living conditions for other species – the cyano-bacteria releasing enormous amounts of oxygen and thus ‘creating’ an oxygen atmosphere on the earth billions of years ago, and the first plants / trees hundreds of millions years ago – are examples. But at no time in the history of the earth before this, any life form(s) or species has consciously attempted to understand and improve the living condition of all other life, of mother nature herself. Just on that recognition, a new dawn seems to be on the horizon