The headline on the fake news site The Onion read, “Obama Increases Sense Of Urgency By Riding Last White Rhino On Earth Through Climate Talk”. While it was obviously satirical, it fit perfectly with the surreal circus atmosphere of the ongoing 2015 UN Paris Climate Conference known as COP21. COP stands for “Conference of Parties” and “21” stands for the 21 years these “world leaders” have gathered to discuss the increasingly drastic environmental crisis overtaking the planet. The 25,000 official delegates to the conference, including 150 heads of state, might as well been all riding extinct or almost extinct animals, because since the first COP meeting took place in Berlin in 1995, they have accomplished absolutely nothing beyond well orchestrated photo opportunities and a worsening climate crisis.
The Movement Grows Despite Them
Following the Paris terrorist attacks the French government originally promised that the massive peaceful mobilizations which were to occur outside of the COP21 meeting would be allowed to carry on as planned. A few days later they banned all marches altogether. Those in Paris who decided to affirm their right to freedom of assembly and march for climate justice were met by riot police, teargas and arrests.
Undeterred, the growing global climate movement continued its work. The coordinated Global Climate March broke records as the largest coordinated climate mobilization in history with over 785,000 people marching at 2,300 events in 175 countries on November 28 and 29. This came soon after the largest single climate march in history which happened in New York on September 21 of last year, with over 400,000 people joining the “Peoples Climate March” and over 270,000 more participating in 2000 coordinated actions in 166 countries across the globe.
So there's some obvious differences between those in the expensive suites discussing climate change inside the COP21 summit, and those outside acting to save the planet. There is a broad scientific consensus that we must limit the average global temperature rise to under 1.5°C - 2°C or face irreversible and catastrophic consequences which would literally jeopardize all life on this planet. Climate Action Tracker’s estimation, based on exhaustive research, concludes that the current level of ambition articulated by COP21 leaders would give us a 66 percent chance of staying under 3°C. Not good enough!
So there is an urgency and a necessity to look beyond these meetings for solutions.
Latin America – The Difference Engine
Luckily there are some world leaders who also use the opportunity of the attention focused on the summits to make important declarations and real proposals. One of the few is Bolivian President Evo Morales, who came to Paris with a simple message, "If we continue on the path laid by capitalism, we are doomed to disappear...We ask for an end to the irreversible destruction of the planet and remember that capitalism has developed an overwhelming and destructive life force, caused by the production of consumer goods that today destroy nature, with wars of conquest.”
Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa reaffirmed the call for a universal declaration of the rights of nature, something that Ecuador has already recognized, and for the creation of an International Court of Environmental Justice. The court would punish environmental crimes and oblige the payment of environmental debts.
These are not just hollow denunciations, Latin-American countries such as Cuba, Bolivia, Venezuela and Ecuador are leading the way by showing that it is possible to create social just and environmentally sustainable societies.
Bolivia's official national submission to COP21 contains very straightforward proposals which if implemented could actually save the planet!
1. Adoption of a new model of civilization in the world without consumerism, war-mongering, and mercantilism, a world without capitalism; build and consolidate a world order of Living Well that defends and promotes the integral rights of our peoples, undertaking the path of harmony with nature and respect for life.
2. Construction of a climate system based on responsibility to Mother Earth, the culture of life and the full realization of humanity in their holistic development, humanizing the economy, surpassing the simplistic approach to decarbonization of the economy.
3. Protection of the Rights of Mother Earth in an articulated and complementary manner to the rights of peoples to their development.
4. Defense of universal common goods such as the seas and oceans, water, atmospheric space, as well as the technological monopoly, promoting people's access to the common heritage.
5. Elimination of patents on technologies and recognition of the human right to science and technology of life.
6. Effective implementation by governments of the human right to water.
7. Establishment of the International Court of Justice Climate and Mother Earth to enable countries to fulfill their international commitments to climate change in a context of respect for the rights of peoples and of Mother Earth.
8. Allocate the resources of the military machinery of the imperial powers and the war-mongers to finance the activities of the peoples against climate change.
9. Eradication of commodification of nature and carbon markets promoting business climate millionaires, which do not solve the problem of the climate crisis.
10. Decolonize natural resources environmental colonial biased views that see the peoples of the South as forest rangers of Northern countries and communities as enemies of nature.
Concertizing the Struggle
In fact, progressive Latin American governments and social movements were so fed up with the inaction of the COP meetings, they created their own grassroots gathering to begin organizing an alternative. Meeting in Havana on December 14 of last year, the 13th summit of ALBA ( Bolivarian Alliance for the peoples of Our America – a regional cooperation organization created as a successful alternative to the Free Trade Agreement of the Americas (FTAA) the United States was trying to impose on Latin America) endorsed a Bolivian proposal to host an international assembly of social movements in 2015 to discuss and adopt a united strategy for fighting climate change.
The decision by ALBA coincided with release of the final agreement adopted by COP20 climate talks at Lima, Peru which was universally condemned for its continuation of the failure to take meaningful actions to prevent catastrophic climate warming.
The World Peoples' Conference on Climate Change and the Defense of Life
This meeting took place in Tiguipiya, Bolivia from October 10 to 12 and brought together thousands of organizers and actual world leaders from around the globe to discuss and implement real solutions to the climate crisis. The Final Declaration includes many important points and concrete proposals.
Fire This Time is also printing the introduction to the Declaration as yet another example of the kind of vision necessary to save the planet and humanity. This is the approach the COP summits have failed to achieve over the last 2 decades. Those who tell us that it is not pragmatic or possible to create a sustainable world are the same ones who are able to create the most sophisticated weapons of war and coordinate their continued use to kill millions around the world. They can drill sideways hundreds of meters underground for oil. They can split atoms. Yet it's not possible not live sustainably? Latin-
American countries are proving them wrong time and time again, and the more attention the global climate movement pays to them the closer we will be to saving the planet and humanity.
“INTRODUCTION TO THE DECLARATION OF THE WORLD PEOPLES’ CONFERENCE ON CLIMATE CHANGE AND THE DEFENSE OF LIFE TIQUIPAYA – BOLIVIA
The peoples of the world gathered in Tiquipaya, Bolivia from 10 to 12 October 2015, we worked on a agreed proposal to be presented to the international community and governments around the world to preserve the life and combat climate change; as an urgent response to a failed capitalist system and civilization model that are the structural causes of the climate crisis in the world.
This Declaration brings together our thinking and feeling, and our proposal for international negotiations of the Conference of Parties of the United Nations on climate change, environment, sustainable development and other relevant scenarios, as well as the permanent agenda of the peoples for the defense of the life.
The transition to civilization model of Living Well The world is being battered by multiple global crisis that manifests itself in a climate, financial, food, energy, institutional, cultural, ethical and spiritual crisis and a state of permanent war. This tells us that we are living an integral crisis of capitalism and a society model. To survive, humanity must break free of capitalism that is leading humanity towards a horizon of destruction that sentence of death nature and life itself. The western civilization model articulated the capitalist worldwide system were expanded by the imperial powers and Northern countries with crimes against humanity, looting and subjugation of our peoples; wars have been the instrument of subjugation and domination that imperialism has used to impose their political and economic will. Wars have also been used by transnational corporations to wrest the sea from peoples attempting against its right to the sea.
Colonialism of the Northern powers exercised oppression and domination over humanity, causing peoples to lose their identity and recreate foreign models, where nature and the human being himself are capital to be exploited. The colonial order has intended to impose an economic, social, cultural and political to all Southern countries homogenization. Currently the imperial powers permanently still violate the sovereignty of the States, using bombings, invasions, civil wars, espionage and destabilization of democratic governments to subdue the governments and peoples of the world. It is not just the arms and war model which destroys life on the planet, they are also the economic models and the international financial architecture which strangle the economies of the countries trying to be sovereign and dignified. Therefore, the restructuring of the governance of the multilateral financial institutions should be a transparent, consultative and inclusive process to move forward with a process of reforming the international financial and monetary system.
We have to put a new civilization model that values the culture of life and culture of peace that is the Living Well. The world needs to move towards the holistic vision of Living Well, deepening the complementarity between the peoples rights and the Mother Earth rights, which involves building a balanced relationship between human beings and nature to restore harmony with Mother Earth. Living Well in harmony with Mother Earth is the new model of civilization to preserve community life, where Mother Earth is a living being sacred, and not an object for the exploitation of human beings. Today, the peoples of the world, we rise up against a capitalist system that promotes environmental business, the commercialization and privatization of environmental functions of nature, which are and must remain a common good of the peoples.
We rise up against capitalism that is the structural causes of climate change and intends to submit the life cycles of Mother Earth to the market rules under the domination of capitalist technology. Science, knowledge and technology must be instruments that foster peace, non- violence, harmony, full life and living well; they should be aimed at eradicating the imbalance of the human being with himself and with Mother Earth. The struggle of the peoples in this century is the struggle for the defense of common goods and the common heritage. In capitalism the common goods are privatized, are plundered and exploited for the benefit of a few individuals, businesses and corporations. The overall harmony of Mother Earth is the basis of our common heritage and the atmospheric space has become the most important common heritage of society.
Atmospheric colonization with emission of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, because of excessive and irrational industrialization of developed countries, has broken the balance on Mother Earth. If the temperature is increased beyond 1.5 degrees Celsius, we will be living a planetary catastrophe. Given the impunity of the crimes against Mother Earth countries, is an immediate need to have an international judicial system that punishes countries that do not fulfill its international commitments to protect the integrity of Mother Earth. Capitalism has incurred multiple debts with humanity and Mother Earth, such as climate debt, social debt and ecological debt. The capitalists and developed countries have deepened the gap between rich and poor in the world, have promoted expropriation and usurpation of natural resources of peoples and Southern countries, and have accumulated wealth at the expense of the welfare of our peoples, impairing their spiritual and moral richness.
The world is losing community life and family life. Few peoples are practicing solidarity and complementarity among persons and between them and nature. Religions and spiritualities of the world are the moral safeguard society on building a culture of peace and culture of life, of dialogue to solve the climate crisis and social crisis that destroys life and our community values, and make imbalances and conflicts in societies, impoverishing people, especially the most vulnerable, children, adolescents, victims of war, human trafficking and discrimination. Because of capitalism, not only Mother Earth is sick but also humanity. Humanity must not live without values and without ethical principles. Humanity cannot live enduring the imposition of only one economic model, political, social and cultural. Humanity must not live in separate classes divided by political elites and under religions and beliefs imposed by force, under visions that separate humans from nature and break the balance between living beings. We have to heal humanity to save Mother Earth. In a scenario where our Mother Earth is more hurt and the future of humanity is in greater danger, the peoples of the world must continue dialogue and defending life. “
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