August 2020

Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Seeds of change: Cancun summit is microcosm of the world

Love and unity is the message of solidarity at La Via Campesina, as the grassroots people are locked out of official negotiations

By Brenda Norrell
Copyright Censored News
Photos copyright Brenda Norrell: Photo 1: Bolivian at work at La Via Campesina Photo 2: Leonardo Boff (far left) speaking at La Via Campesina.
CANCUN, Mexico -- The power of love and unity, and the promise of hope, was the message at La Via Campesina. As speakers pointed out that the majority of the world's wealth is held by a few, the farmers and Indigenous Peoples here pointed out that the UN Conference on Climate Change, COP 16, is a microcosm of the world. The climate summit reflects the imbalance of the haves and have-nots, since most people here have been kept out of the official negotiations at the Moon Palace.

Leonardo Boff, human rights activist from Brazil, said three people have more money than 45 countries in the world. A few people have more money than the majority of the people in the world.
“We have to hope we can get past this crisis," Boff said, during his address to farmers and Indigenous Peoples at La Via Campesina on Wednesday night.
Boff said there are now 60 million climate refugees because of the loss of water, land and crops. This number is expected to increase to 100 to 150 million climate refugees due to water scarcity.
Boff said there must be solidarity from the most vulnerable. He said to bring about change there must be solidarity from the grassroots, combined with pressure and articulation, along with the peoples claims and declarations.
Civil society’s face must be shown on the global scale, he said.
“The People of the earth, not the rich, the tribes of the earth, must come together, and insist on another world where all can fit.”
Boff said the world must not continue where some have so much and others have nothing.
But he stressed the hope of light and life.
“Life is stronger than death. We have the seed, we have to believe in the power of this seed. We are the carriers of this seed.”
Boff said sustainability must be brought to our production systems.
“We need to live in a way that all can move forward and survive. That is the meaning of a human being.”
But, he said, consumers have deviated from this, developing a systematic war to exploit the earth, to accumulate with no sense of justice and with no perspective of solidarity with the generations that come later.
“We have to come from the earth. We have to unite. We have to join forces, hold hands to complete this mission to rescue the health of the earth. We have to do this.”
“I am really afraid, honestly afraid, our children and grandchildren will come back to us and curse us, and say to us, you knew the seriousness of the situation and you did nothing."
Boff said our children and grandchildren will look at the contaminated air, poisoned water and genetic foods.
“And they will criticize us harshly.”
“We don’t want them to curse us in the future.”
“We have the earth loaned to us for a while. When we die, the earth goes on. Our children and grandchildren have rights to live well on this earth."
Boff said our relationship with the Earth must be one based on love, the same love as we have with our mothers.
“We have to go back to the original people, the Andes and other places, who have always treated the Earth as a Pachamama, the Great Mother. We have to value this knowledge of the mothers and grandmothers."
“You all have to maintain this consciousness. This is the way of the future.”
Speaking during roars of applause under the canopy in downtown Cancun, Boff praised those gathered here from so many countries and stressed the necessity of the work.
“Economy has to be at the service of people and Mother Earth.”
Thousands of people marched on Tuesday, demanding climate justice, Indigenous rights and workers rights. Meanwhile, climate dialogues and workshops continued throughout Cancun.
The Indigenous Environmental Network, with Earthcycles webstreaming and a team of Native youth broadcasters, continued its two week live webstream:
As the official negotiations ready for the final two days of the climate summit, Bolivian President Evo Morales plans to speak at La Via Campesina on Thursday at 3 pm.

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