President of Bolivia’s Movement Towards Socialism, Evo Morales, issued a message on the anniversary of the International Day of Mother Earth, a date recognized by the United Nations following a motion proposed by Bolivia during Evo’s presidency in 2009. The statement was read live on Radio Kawsachun Coca. In this message, Evo proposes an international pact to protect the environment and grant rights to Mother Earth, on the basis of social justice and re-connecting with indigenous ancestral culture and knowledge.
Today, we must debate and discuss the rights of Mother Earth, because the 21st century is the century of the struggle to defend the environment and life. We have no more time. Climate change is already transforming natural cycles, raising temperatures and devastating Mother Earth. We cannot, nor should we want to, continue living with this capitalist system that separates us from our cultures, it enslaves us to unsustainable consumption and accumulation of material goods, it values human beings by what one has or doesn’t have, rather than who a person is.
Brothers and sisters, these are times of change. We have to rebuild communitarian culture, a consciousness for Mother Earth, and the culture of life. To talk about the rights of Mother Earth is to rebuild the ancestral-communitarian paradigm, it is to confirm our commitment to Mother Earth and to life. That paradigm is about ‘living well’ in harmony with Mother Earth, and in harmony with all those that live in it, only like that can we guarantee life.
The struggle for the rights of Mother Earth is an anti-capitalist and anti-imperialist struggle. It’s a struggle for social justice with cultural identity, to resolve the historic debt we have to our ancestors who passed us wisdom and the culture of life. Now we have to ask, what are we leaving to the future generations?
From the Plurinational State of Bolivia, we propose a life-long pact to defend the environment. The proposals are the following:
- Revive our ancestral spirituality and knowledge, to liberate us from the ideological and religious structure that we were submitted to during the colonial period and the republic.
- Rebuild our plurinational identity, because that is the cultural link to Mother Earth, and to the culture of life.
- Weave together a brotherhood between all peoples, indigenous communities, social movements, professionals and all those who hear the voice of Mother Earth, to rebuild the relationship of all with the environment.
- Reject the capitalist system, because it is the cancer that contaminates and destroys Mother Earth. We cannot be accomplices of those who murder our environment.
- Migrate from the culture of anthropocentrism, consumerism, and mercantilism, and embrace a consciousness for Mother Earth and for living well in harmony.
- Prosecute the governments, institutions and transnational corporations that fund conventional and biological wars, because they are the mercenaries of the culture of death.
- Build a communitarian economy, under the principle of redistribution, that doesn’t damage life.
- Build peace and social justice, natural resources such as water belong to Mother Earth. Land should be in the hands of people, for their families, not in the hands of the few, certainly not bought and sold on the stock exchange.
- End the practice of monocultures in agriculture, and replace it with polyculture and crop rotation, to guarantee fertility of soil, and to guarantee food supplies, with dignity and identity, without damaging Mother Earth.
- End technology monopolies and profiteering. We must share knowledge that can help defeat diseases and help us to live in harmony.
- In our communities, we are taught that Mother Earth is a mother to us, so her rights are the most important thing that can guarantee harmony and balance in life .
- The United Nations must bring together all countries to sign a pact for life that guarantees the rights of Mother Earth.
Either capitalism dies, or Mother Earth dies. We are all the children of Mother Earth. That’s why we are all brothers and sisters and that’s why we have a generational responsibility to protect her. As our Aymara brothers say, “don’t aim to leave land for your children, aim to leave good children for Mother Earth.” Thank you.