We had a very cold winter here in the heart of Texas and plenty of rain in early spring. Now the drought is broken and the leaves are almost day-glo green. Almost enough to give you hope for the future.
One thing that gives me hope is to hear of the World People’s Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth in Bolivia. They’re calling it the Woodstock of climate change conferences. Well, yeah, if Woodstock means 15,000 people from worldwide indigenous movements and grassroots organizations, and presidents, scientists, activists and observers from 128 different countries.
The president of Bolivia, Evo Morales, who is himself an indigenous Ayumara, has stated that since the meeting of the head of governments in Copenhagen was a total failure, he has called a conference of the people to (1) draft a proposal to send to the next UN meeting in Mexico later this year and (2) to announce a referendum in which 2 billion people will be asked to vote on ways out of the climate crisis.
“The only way to get climate negotiations back on track, not just for Bolivia or other countries, but for all of life, biodiversity, our Mother Earth, is to put civil society back into the process. The only thing that can save mankind from a [climate] tragedy is the exercise of global democracy,” said Bolivia’s UN ambassador, Pablo Solon.
“There will be no secret discussions behind closed doors. The debate and the proposals will be led by communities on the frontlines of climate change and by organisations and individuals from civil society dedicated to tackling the climate crisis,” he added
“What is behind all this discussion is that we have broken the harmony with Mother Earth, with nature, and because we have broken that harmony we are now suffering the consequences of climate change,” said Solon.
I love what is happening in Bolivia. I love it that they write a bill of rights for Pachamama (Mother Earth) and all living things – rocks, trees, frogs, fishes, elephants! – into their new constitution. Can you imagine how our lives would change if everyone did that?
There are good people working all over the world trying to stop the destruction and find a better way for people to live on this planet. We don’t hear so much about them. You have to go looking for the people who want to pass on the good news. There’s plenty of doom and gloom, scarey stuff and downright horror stories. If we’re honest with ourselves, we all know how bad it is.
But then there’s the 15,000 people going to Cochabamba to try to find ways to solve our problems who believe all living things have the right to be here. The worldwide movement of grassroots activists, rural peasants and farmers, Via Campesina http://www.viacampesina.org/ with 148 member organizations from 69 countries in Asia, Africa, Europe, and the Americas will be in Cochabamba, too.
Here’s more good news:
Transition Towns http://www.transitionnetwork.org/ is a global movement that began in Kinsale, Ireland a few years ago. Geologist Colin Campbell, godfather of the peak oil movement and local resident, spoke in 2005 to a group of Kinsale students, and the class resolved to transition their region away from fossil fuels. The name and idea has spread rapidly — there are now 274 Transition Towns across the world, in countries like Japan, the USA, Chile, Germany, the UK, Australia, New Zealand, Canada and Finland.
Brian Kaller, a former American journalist living in Ireland, has a wonderful blog http://restoringmayberry.blogspot.com/ about his work with Transition Towns in Ireland and learning to live post-peak oil.
You can also see an intro to an award winning documentary about urban food growing in Havana, Cuba, during the time when Russian oil imports were suddenly cut off due to the collapse of the Soviet Union and the US blockade at: http://www.powerofcommunity.org/cm/index.php. I’ve seen the whole movie. It’s a beautiful work of art in addition to being a powerful documentary.
Here in the US Nukefree http://nukefree.org/ is working to end the construction of new atomic reactors and close those now in use. Does it occur to any one (like Whole Earth’s Stewart Brand) that using nuclear power plants to generate electricity also makes the refined uranium needed for weapons available? While I applaud Obama’s stand on nuclear proliferation, why is it not combined with similar action to reduce the raw material (as in not even mining it)? Perhaps this says it best:
Pass it on . . . .
Happy Earth Day!