“Humanity confronts a great dilemma: to continue on the path of capitalism, depredation, and death, or to choose the path of harmony with nature and respect for life.”
These are the words of the final declaration of the World People's Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth, which took place in Cochabamba, Bolivia in April. The Cochabamba Peoples Conference was in stark contrast with the shameful comedy we witnessed during the Copenhagen Summit in December 2009. 20 – 40.000 delegates, the adoption of a ‘People’s Agreement’ on the basis of discussions in 17 workshops and a plan for further actions: those were the results of Bolivian President Evo Morales' initiative in Cochabamba.
The People’s Agreement made several proposals for a Global People’s Movement for Mother Earth.
The text states clearly that the cause of the climate crisis resides with the capitalist system, the domination of nature, the transformation of everything into commodities, the military industry and the imperialist system of colonization. The text rejects the ‘Copenhagen Accord’, the carbon emissions markets and the commodification of the world's forests trough the UN led REDD project.
The declaration rejects also the policies of the agribusiness system undermining food sovereignty, the private ownership of knowledge, the new “green” technology market and the destruction of ecosystems through mining and other extractive industries and through mega infrastructure projects.
The People’s Agreement proposes a Universal Declaration of the Rights of Mother Earth as a tool for protecting the natural environment and raising consciousness.
The proposal for the institution of an International Climate and Environmental Justice Tribunal was agreed on by all participants as well as the organisation of a Global Referendum or Popular Consultation on Climate Change. Despite having vague formulations and depending too much on faith in the United Nations, the outcome of the Peoples' Conference points towards a global movement, ready to make the necessary breaks with the capitalist logic to fight climate change.
The Cochabamba Conference calls for (…) “the building of a Global People’s Movement for Mother Earth, (…) constituting a broad and democratic space for coordination and joint worldwide actions.”
A second world people’s conference on climate change will be organised in 2011 to react to the outcome of the Climate Change Conference at the end of the year in Cancún, Mexico.
The International Insitute for Research and Education, 29 April 2010.