By Alejandra Garcia on April 25, 2021
“Mother Earth does not belong to us, we are part of her. Savage capitalism has turned life into a big market and has destroyed the essential balance that must exist between nature and human beings,” Bolivia’s President Luis Arce said in commemoration of International Earth Day.
Arce pronounced these words during the event that took place in La Paz to mark the date and was attended by government authorities, representatives of social organizations, and Latin American political leaders. They were united by a common purpose: to implement the solution of the peoples of the South to the environmental and climate crisis, which involves recognizing and applying the rights of Mother Earth.
At the important meeting, the political figures insisted on the importance of a change in the socio-political model to confront climate change. “We are living in a time of multiple crises around the world. A microscopic creature of nature has brought humanity almost to its knees,” Arce said.
As never before in the history of humanity, countries have the industrial capacity to produce vaccines in a short time and immunize the world’s entire population.
“However, the values of capitalism in which merchandise and profit take precedence over humanity and life, our peoples are in the grip, and our governments are struggling to get vaccines and remedies for our populations. That is the incongruence of the system, that is the incongruence in which we live today,” Vice President David Choquehuanca added.
During the ‘To Re-encounter with Mother Earth’ meeting, Bolivia called on the Latin American countries to create spaces for political dialogue and asked them to advance in the construction of common guidelines towards an environmentally friendly world.
The meeting was attended by Ecuador’s Constituent Assembly former President Alberto Acosta; Argentina’s International Tribunal for the Rights of Nature Representative Enrique Viale, and United Nations (UN) Harmony with Nature Program Coordinator María Sánchez.
“We assume the commitment to lead a global action on this matter in coordination with all the peoples of the South,” Choquehuanca said and requested the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to urgently convene an Earth Assembly to “continue developing the non-anthropocentric paradigm within the framework of multilateralism.”
Choquehuanca also took the opportunity to motivate other countries to apply the Bolivian paradigm of ‘Well Living’, a philosophy of life that imposes respect for the ‘Pachamama’ or Mother Earth. “For us, the earth is a living and sacred being, based on the knowledge and wisdom of the Indigenous peoples’ millenary cultures,” he commented.
Bolivia’s Foreign Affairs Minister Rogelio Mayta also agreed that “human beings distanced themselves from nature, especially during the development of capitalism. In that transit, humanity rose as the superior species and claimed for itself everything that exists on Earth, including nature.”
“That is why economy and capitalism are destroying our planet. The multiple crises we face on a global scale in the environmental, climate, water, food, and health fields cannot be overcome with the paradigm of green capitalism. The COVID-19 crisis shows us that human beings are walking in the wrong direction,” he warned.
Representing Venezuela, Foreign Affairs Minister Jorge Arreaza insisted that “we must give up the capitalist system and decide to undertake another political path, in which human relations, production systems, and interaction with Mother Earth would be profoundly different. It is up to us to undertake that hard battle.”
“Today is a day of sadness, but also hope and courage. We have in our hands the possibility of changing the fatal course of our world. The day of change is here,” Arreaza said.