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
http://www.bsnorrell.blogspot.com
Photos copyright Brenda Norrell: Photo 1: Bolivian at work at La Via Campesina Photo 2: Leonardo Boff (far left) speaking at La Via Campesina.
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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: http://www.redroadcancun.com
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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Cancun Photos: Indigenous Peoples Struggle for Climate Change




Photos copyright Brenda Norrell
Indigenous Peoples from Bolivia (top photo) have joined with Native people from around the globe at the United Nations Climate Change Conference, COP 16. Photo 2: Outside the Climate Dialogue at the Casa Cultural. Photo 3: Ofelia Rivas, O'odham from the US/Mexico border, offers a water song at La Via Campesina where farmers, Indigenous Peoples and workers are gathered. Indigenous Peoples are carrying forward the standards of the Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth in Cochabamba, Bolivia. Bolivian President Evo Morales will speak at La Via Campesina on Thursday at 3 pm.

Sarah James in Cancun: Protecting the caribou and Gwich'in homelands

Sarah James
Board Member/Spokesperson
Neet’sai Gwich’in, Arctic Village
Photo: Sarah James in Cancun. Photo copyright Brenda Norrell.
Listen to Sarah James, live from Cancun, where the UN Climate Change Conference, COP 16, is underway. Sarah James is here for the protection of the Gwich'in and caribou homelands.
"We are the Ones Who Have Everything to Lose"
Maybe there are too few of us to matter. Maybe people think Indians are not important enough to consider in making their energy decisions. But it’s my people who are threatened by this development. We are the ones who have everything to lose.
The oil companies keep saying that all their roads and pipelines aren’t going to bother the caribou. But we know the caribou. We know they don’t like all that stuff, especially when they are having their calves. We are concerned about all the salt and chemicals they put on their roads. It can drain onto the tundra, get into the water, and be unhealthy for the young caribou. A report from the Canadian government tells us that the caribou have already been disturbed around the oil fields. If we lose the caribou there will be no more forever." --Sarah James, Gwich'in Steering Committee



Listen to internet radio with Brenda Norrell on Blog Talk Radio

In Cancun, Sarah James shared these facts about how climate change impacts the Gwich'in:
--Petroleum development is a major contributor of greenhouse gases on Alaska's North Slope.
--Warming conditions in the North are three times the mean global estimate.
--The forage habitat of caribou is shrinking with increased forest fires and shifting tundra.
--Melting permafrost compounds climate change by further releasing additional CO2 and methane (greenhouse gases) into the air. This impacts migrating wildlife.
--Warming events have altered the route and time of migration for the Porcupine Caribou Herd, and therefore impacted the subsistence lifestyle of Gwich'in Athabascans.
--Lakes and ponds are drying up as a result of warmer temperatures.
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High level negotiations begin in Cancun
http://www.indypendent.org/2010/12/08/high-level-negotiations-kick-off-in-cancun