There is a growing conviction that we can no longer trust the destiny of life and of the Earth to the heads of State, who are prisoners of their capitalistic dogmas, writes Leonardo Boff.
As is well known, in December, 2009 the World Conference of the States on the climate took place in Copenhagen. No consensus was reached in that Conference because it was dominated by the logic of capital and not by the logic of ecology. This means that the delegates and heads of State present were more concerned with their own economic interests than with the real or global interests of their peoples. The question for them was: how much will it affect my earnings if I accept ecologic precepts that seek to purify the planet, thus guaranteeing the conditions for the continuity of life. It was not the whole, life and the Earth, but the particular interests of each country, that was taken into consideration.
The logic of ecology sees the collective interests, because it seeks equilibrium between humans and nature, between production, consumption and the Earth’s capacity to replenish its resources and capabilities. By disrupting this equation, which the capitalist mode of production has been doing for centuries, undesired effects, called, «externalities», appear: devastation of nature, grave social injustices, lack of concern for the needs of future generations, and the irreversible effect of global warming that, in the end, can ruin everything.
In Cochabamba (Bolivia) exactly the opposite was seen: the triumph of the logic of ecology and of life. From April 19th to the 23rd, The World Summit of The Peoples on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth was celebrated. There were 35,500 representatives of the peoples of the Earth, from 142 countries. The Earth occupied the central position, considered as Pachamama, Grand Mother, her dignity and rights, life in all its immense diversity (overcoming all anthropocentrism), our common responsibility to guarantee the ecological, social and spiritual conditions that may allow us to live without threatening this planet.
The 17 work tables, contrary to what happened in Copenhagen, reached an extraordinary consensus, because all had in their mind and heart the love for life and for Pacha Mama «with whom all of us have an indivisible, interdependent, complimentary and spiritual relation», as the final document states.
Instead of competitive capitalism, of progress and of boundless growth, hostile to an equilibrium with nature, «the good living», category central to Andean cosmology, was offered as a true alternative for humanity. It consists of living in harmony with oneself, with the others, with Pachamama, with the energies of nature, of the air, of the ground, of the waters, of the mountains, of the animals and of the plants and in harmony with the spirits and with the Divine, sustained by an economy based on what is sufficient and decent for everyone, including all the other beings.
A Declaration of The Rights of Mother Earth was drafted, that foresees, among other things: her right to life and to exist; her right to be respected; her right to continue her vital cycles and processes free from human alterations; her right to maintain her identity and integrity with her different and inter-related beings; her right to water as source of life; her right to clean air; her right to integral health; her right to be free from contamination and pollution, of toxic and radioactive refuse; her right to immediate and full reversal of the injuries inflicted by human activities.
Also foreseen was the creation of an International Tribunal of Climatic and Environmental Justice, with the juridical and binding capacity of preventing, judging and sanction the States, enterprises and persons for actions or omissions that contaminate or provoke climate changes, and that commit grave offenses against the ecosystems that guarantee «the good living».
It was resolved to take the results of this Summit of The Peoples to the UN, so that its contents may be considered in the forthcoming World Conference that will take place in November/December of this year in Cancun, Mexico.
The most profound meaning of this summit is the conviction, growing among the peoples, that we can no longer trust the destiny of life and of the Earth to the heads of State, who are prisoners of their capitalistic dogmas. Sadly, Brazil did not send a single representative, because the present government seems to be more concerned about the «acceleration of growth» than guaranteeing the future of life. This Summit of The Peoples showed with certain clarity the path leading to a bio-civilization in equilibrium of all with all and with everything.
Leonardo Boff is a theologian attached to the Earthcharter Commission
Free translation from the Spanish by Servicios Koinonia, http://www.servicioskoinonia.org.
Done at Refugio del Rio Grande, Texas, EE.UU.