April 19, 2010

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


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