Tag Archives: pablo solon

Video: Pablo Solon on what’s next after Rio+20

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Filed under Climate Change, Corporate Globalization, Ending the Era of Extreme Energy, Green Economy, Greenwashing, Rio+20

Rio+20: Impressions from the Peoples’ Summit: forging a global social movement

By Avery Pittman, for Climate Connections

Henry Saragih, General Coordinator for La Via Campesina, and Alberto Gomez, from La Via Campesina Mexico listen as former Bolivian Ambassador to the United Nations and director of Focus on the Global South talks about the need for a unified social movement strategy to challenge the green economy. Photo: Will Bennington for GJEP

June 21, 2012 – Rio de Janeiro – On the second day of UN Rio+20 “Earth Summit” negotiations, an hour away at the People’s Summit in downtown Rio, a crowd gathered to discuss moving forward as a global movement against the forces of the green economy. A mic was passed around the listening crowd, sitting in a ring of chairs three rows deep. There were bleachers and a stage at the venue, but the organizers of the event insisted that everyone be able to see each other and sit as equals. To the audience, Pablo Solon of Focus on the Global South posed the question “what can we do together, as social movements, after the Peoples Summit?”

Leaders and members from various social movements sat among the inner ring of chairs. The gathering was intimate and diverse, but the message was clear: together, social movements must deepen an analysis of the interconnections of oppression and create a road map to effectively and intentionally counter the logic of capitalism that commercializes nature.
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Filed under Climate Change, Rights, Resilience, and Restoration, Rio+20

Rio+20 Peoples’ Summit: Grassroots groups confront the mastermind of the green economy

By Christy Rodgers for Climate Connections

18 June 2012 – Rio de Janeiro. The Peoples’ Summit opened this weekend with what is likely to be the highest level UN visit all week: by Achim Steiner, head of the UN Environment Program (UNEP). Steiner is perhaps the single person most responsible for the “green economy” model being touted as the best path to global sustainability. He was invited to speak – or rather listen – to the concerns of a broad array of social movement organizations that have been highly critical of this market-dependent strategy and what it means for the world’s people and ecosystems.

The mainstream US press, when it pays any attention at all to the official UN “Earth Summit,” seems to fret mostly about bureaucracy and obstructionism by poor countries. The concerns of hundreds, if not thousands of organizations and networks of peasant farmers, trade union workers, corporate watchdogs, indigenous peoples, and many other groups worldwide are quite different. They see the main problem is that the UN, like many member states, appears to have been functionally captured by the private sector. In the lead-up to the summit, major corporations positioning themselves to benefit from the market mechanisms being promoted have launched a greenwashing onslaught beyond anything the movement groups have seen before—which is considerable.
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Pablo Solón: It’s the time for the Rights of Mother Earth

by Pablo Solón

Cross-Posted from Pablo Solón’s blog

Pablo Solon of the Plurinational State of Bolivia on 7 December 2010 in Cancun, Mexico during the UN climate negotiations. Photo: Langelle/GJEP-GFC (This photo did not appear on the original blog post)

Victor Hugo, the author of Les Misérables, once wrote: “How sad to think that nature speaks and mankind doesn’t listen.”

Although we often forget it, human beings are a force in nature. In reality, we are all a product of the same Big Bang that created the universe, although some only see wood for the fire when they walk through the forest.

Nature is not a thing, a source of resources. Nature is a system, a home, and a community of living and interdependent beings.

Nature has rules that govern its integrity, interrelationships, reproduction and transformation.

States and society are not recognizing, respecting and making sure that the rules of nature prevail.

The philosopher Francis Bacon said that we cannot command nature except by obeying her. The time for superheroes and superpowers is coming to an end. Nature cannot be submitted to the wills of the laboratory. Science and technology are capable of everything including destroying the world itself.

It is time to stop and reaffirm the precautionary principle in the face of geo-engineering and all artificial manipulation of the climate. All new technologies should be evaluated to gauge their environmental, social and economic impacts. The answer for the future lies not in scientific inventions but in our capacity to listen to nature.

Green Economy is an attempt to put a price on the free services that plants, animals and ecosystems offer humanity: the purification of water, the pollination of plants by bees, the protection of coral reefs and climatic regulation.

For Green Economy, we have to identify the specific functions of ecosystems and biodiversity that can be made subject to a monetary value, evaluate their current state, define the limits of those services, and set out in economic terms the cost of their conservation to develop a market for environmental services.

For Green Economy, capitalism’s mistake is not having fully incorporated nature as part of capital. That is why its central proposal is to create “environmentally friendly business” and in that way limit environmental degradation by bringing the laws of capitalism to bear on nature.

Green Economy is absolutely wrong and bad because it thinks that the transfusion of the rules of market will save nature.

Humanity finds itself at a crossroads: Why should we only respect the laws of human beings and not those of nature? Why do we call the person who kills his neighbor a criminal, but not he who extinguishes a species or contaminates a river? Why do we judge the life of human beings with parameters different from those that guide the life of the system as a whole if all of us, absolutely all of us, rely on the life of the Earth System?

Is there no contradiction in recognizing only the rights of the human part of this system while all the rest of the system is reduced to a source of resources and raw materials – in other words, a business opportunity?

To speak of equilibrium is to speak of rights for all parts of the system. It could be that these rights are not identical for all things, since not all things are equal. But to think that only humans should enjoy privileges while other living things are simply objects is the worst mistake humanity has ever made. Decades ago, to talk about slaves as having the same rights as everyone else seemed like the same heresy that it is now to talk about glaciers or rivers or trees as having rights.

Nature is ruthless when it goes ignored.

It is incredible that it is easier to imagine the destruction of nature than to dream about overthrowing capitalism.

Albert Einstein said, “The world is a dangerous place, not because of those who do evil, but because of those who look on and do nothing.” We can’t watch the destruction of Mother Earth and our selves. This is the time to begin to recognize the intrinsic laws of Nature. This is the time to respect and promote the rights of Mother Earth.

[1] Based and my speech as Permanent Representative of the Plurinational State of Bolivia to the United Nations, on the Occasion of the General Assembly Interactive Dialogue on Harmony with Nature, New York, April 20th, 2011.

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Pablo Solon on the International Campaign Against the Commodification of Nature

A bottom-up international campaign against the commodification and financialization of Nature

By Pablo Solon

Cross-Posted from No Green Economy

The draft zero for Rio + 20 Conference of the United Nations -entitled The Future We Want– was published in January 2012. Its main purpose is to promote a “Green Economy”. In draft zero, this concept of the Green Economy is left deliberately vague: there is no clear definition provided and no clarity on the usage of this term. In reality, however, it aims to promote the further commodification and financialization of nature by introducing new market mechanisms such as carbon markets that were first introduced a decade ago through the Kyoto Protocol and REDD (Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation) programs which put a monetary price on carbon storage in forests.

The concept of “Green Economy” is developed in the Green Economy Report published by the UNEP (United Nations Environment Program). The report concludes that the energy crisis and the climate crisis amount to “the failed allocation of capital” and the solution to these crises is to give a monetary value, a price, to the elements and processes of nature. Indeed, this “Green Economy” agenda attempts to solve the current multiple crises by ushering in a new, more aggressive, stage of capitalism  to recover lost growth and profits!

If we act quickly, there is still time to block this takeover of Rio+20 by their Green Economy. We can succeed if we join the concrete actions of the movements against extractionism, genetically modified organisms, tar sands, forest destruction, climate change, privatization of water and many others. The key to stopping this new attack on our “Mother Earth” is to build a campaign with the social movements, indigenous peoples, women, youth, peasants, the Occupy Movement, the “Indignados” and more.

We also need to ensure that those countries that do not want to put a price on nature, or are against the development of markets of ecosystem services, maintain their position against the “Green Economy”. In many ways, we now face a challenge similar to that of the MAI (Multilateral International Agreement) which was stopped in 1998 by the first global Internet campaign or the FTAA (Free Trade Area of the Americas) which was defeated by the mobilization of the movements of the Americas.

The No to the “Green Economy” campaign will target the process of negotiation of the “zero draft” and the Rio + 20 Conference (20 – 22 June 2012). Instead of trying to impose the rules of the market on nature we must respect nature’s vital cycles through the recognition of the rights of nature. Our common future depends on it!

Nature is not for sale.

The commons must not be privatized.

Life does not have a price.

Porto Alegre, Brazil January 28th, 2012

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Negotiators are “Committing Ecocide” – says Pablo Solon in Durban Climate March

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Filed under Carbon Trading, Climate Change, False Solutions to Climate Change, Indigenous Peoples, Land Grabs, Latin America-Caribbean, REDD, UNFCCC