Who Really Leads on the Environment? The “Movement” Versus Evo Morales

Published September 30, 2011 on Bolivia Rising, Political Context and The Wrong Kind of Green.

by Cory Morningstar

Evo Morales is Bolivia’s first-ever Indigenous president. In his January 2006 inaugural speech, Morales’s focus was the years of discrimination against Indians, and he compared Bolivia to apartheid-era South Africa. Morales hailed the election as the end of the Colonial and Neo-Liberal Era. In October 2009, Morales was named “World Hero of Mother Earth” by the General Assembly of the United Nations.

In December 2009, the Morales government proved the most progressive of all states (in alliance with ALBA and the G77 nations) at the COP15 climate meeting in Copenhagen. This union, led by Bolivia, aggressively pursued the scientific targets necessary in order for the world to avoid complete ecological collapse and a global genocide of unparalleled proportions. Ironically (and most revealing), these progressive states led leaps and bounds ahead of the environmental movement itself.

The institutionalized environmental “movement” was united under an umbrella organization/campaign titled TckTckTck, a social media giant, contrived by some of the world’s most powerful corporations and marketing executives. [1] One such TckTckTck partner (there are 280 partners made public) was the Corporate Leaders Group on Climate Change consisting of corporations such as Shell, RBF and Coca-Cola. (When this information was uncovered and made public, TckTckTck removed them from their website and scrambled to recover from the PR nightmare.) The Bolivian government’s leadership was so incredibly dignified and courageous that it even put the more legitimate Climate Justice movement to shame.

To get a sense of exactly who the corporate greens really represent (hint – it is not you), consider this: Bolivia, ALBA and the G77 demanded that states not exceed a 1ºC global temperature rise. In stark contrast, the NGOs “demanded” that temperatures not exceed a +2ºC and further “demanded” that world emissions peak by 2019 (meaning that emissions would continue to increase, business as usual, until 2019 at which point we would begin an effort to decrease). TckTckTck includes over 200 international partners including Avaaz, Conservation International, Greenpeace International, World Wildlife Fund (and many more pro-REDD advocates and profiteers) as well as Climate Action Network International [2] who represents (and speaks on behalf of) over 700 NGOs.

Regarding the issue of human rights, the hundreds of corporate NGOs – by campaigning to get the public to accept the global average temperature further rising up to a 2ºC limit – thereby sanctioned/sanctions most all species on this planet to an unprecedented annihilation within decades. [Note: Consider that at under +1ºC, we are already committed to a minimum +2.4ºC not including feedbacks: Ramanathan and Feng 2008 paper. Further, note climate scientist James Hansen's warning that even 1ºC now looks like an unacceptably high risk.]

Considering that the corporate NGOs are leading us to certain species eradication, one must consider what constitutes criminal negligence. In the United States, the definition of criminal negligence is compelling: “Crimes Committed Negligently (Article 33.1) A crime shall be deemed to be committed with clear intent, if the man or woman was conscious of the social danger of his actions (inaction), foresaw the possibility or the inevitability of the onset of socially dangerous consequences, and willed such consequences to ensue.” “A crime shall be deemed to be committed with indirect intent, if the man or woman realized the social danger of his actions (inaction), foresaw the possibility of the onset of socially dangerous consequences, did not wish, but consciously allowed these consequences or treated them with indifference.” “A Crime Committed by Negligence (Article 33.1): A criminal deed committed thoughtlessly or due to negligence shall be recognized as a crime committed by negligence.” “A crime shall be deemed to be committed thoughtlessly, if the man or woman has foreseen the possibility of the onset of socially dangerous consequences of his actions (inaction), but expected without valid reasons that these consequences would be prevented.” “A crime shall be deemed to be committed due to negligence if the man or woman has not foreseen the possibility of the onset of socially dangerous consequences of his actions (inaction), although he or she could and should have foreseen these consequences with reasonable.”

After the massive failure/corruption of COP15 in 2009, in 2010 Bolivia organized and hosted the World People’s Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth, which produced The Cochabamba Accord (April 2010), specifically rejecting REDD: “We condemn market mechanisms such as REDD (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation) and its versions + and + +, which are violating the sovereignty of peoples and their right to prior, free and informed consent as well as the sovereignty of national States, the customs of Peoples, and the Rights of Nature.”

The ‘buen vivir‘ (“good life”) ideology, also enshrined into Bolivia’s constitution, was yet another visionary philosophy that secured Bolivia as the conscience of the world on climate change and moral principles. The buen vivir philosophy was presented by the Bolivia delegation at the United Nations in April 2010. In December 2010, the revolutionary “Law of the Rights of Mother Earth” (“Ley de Derechos de la Madre Tierra”) was passed by Bolivia’s Plurinational Legislative Assembly. Bolivia’s ideas, positions and beliefs under the leadership of Morales, were in fact, so advanced both intellectually and philosophically – that most often Bolivia stood alone in the International arena while those lacking courage, ethics, or both, were left behind within the flocks of sheep. In a world where compromise of human life has become status quo – Bolivia, under Morales,  has consistently refused to abandon their principled positions. This from a country that emits approximately one quarter of the CO2 emissions than that of green-house gas leading obstructionist states such as United States and Canada.

History repeated itself in 2010 when, at the 16th Conference of the Parties (COP16), which took place in Cancún, Mexico, Bolivia again stood alone in the International arena as the only one of the UN’s 192 member countries to vote against a deal which effectively sanctioned a global suicide pact. The suffering and devastation that will result from the greatest heist in history is unparalleled desperation, starvation and death on a massive scale.

Compare the Morales Leadership to NGO Avaaz, Which has Launched an International Campaign Against Morales

Avaaz is a member of The Climate Group.

The Climate Group is pushing REDD: http://www.theclimategroup.org/_assets/files/Reducing-Emissions-from-Deforestation.pdf

The Rockefeller Brothers Fund also acts as an incubator for in-house projects that later evolve into free-standing institutions – a case in point being The Climate Group, launched in London in 2004. The Climate Group coalition includes more than 50 of the world’s largest corporations and sub-national governments, including big polluters such as energy giants BP and Duke Energy, as well as several partner organizations, such as NGO Avaaz. The Climate Group are advocates of unproven carbon capture and storage technology (CCS), nuclear power and biomass as crucial technologies for a low-carbon economy. The Climate Group works closely with other business lobby groups, including the International Emissions Trading Association (IETA), which works consistently to sabotage climate action. The Climate Group also works on other initiatives, such as the Voluntary Carbon Standard, a new global standard for voluntary offset projects. One marketing strategist company labeled the Climate Group’s campaign “Together” as “the best inoculation against greenwash.” The Climate Group has operations in Australia, China, Europe, India, and North America. It was a partner to the Copenhagen Climate Council.

http://www.theclimategroup.org/about-us/our-partners/

The U.S. backed Avaaz NGO (Soros funding) has never endorsed the People’s Agreement of Cochabamba. Neither has any other corporate green group.

The environmental movement?  It’s a movement, all right. A movement to protect the world’s wealthiest families and corporations who fund the movement via tax-exempt foundations.

Morales’s Position on REDD

Morales produced a statement on REDD (September 2010) explaining in more detail his opposition to REDD (available here in Spanish, pdf file – 734.6 KB).

NATURE, FORESTS AND INDIGENOUS PEOPLES ARE NOT FOR SALE
Indigenous brothers of the world:

I am deeply concerned because some pretend to use leaders and indigenous groups to promote the commoditization of nature and in particular of forest through the establishment of the REDD mechanism (Reduction Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation) and its versions REDD+ REDD++.

Every day an extension of forests and rainforest equivalent to 36,000 football fields disappears in the world. Each year 13 million hectares of forest and rain forest are lost. At this rate, the forests will disappear by the end of the century.

The forests and rainforest are the largest source of biodiversity. If deforestation continues, thousands of species, animals and plants will be lost forever. More than three quarters of accessible fresh water zones come from uptake zones in forests, hence the worsening of water quality when the forest condition deteriorates. Forests provide protection from flooding, erosion and natural disasters. They provide non-timber goods as well as timber goods. Forests are a source of natural medicines and healing elements not yet discovered. Forests and the rainforest are the lungs of the atmosphere. 18% of all emissions of greenhouse gases occurring in the world are caused by deforestation.

It is essential to stop the destruction of our Mother Earth.

Currently, during climate change negotiations everyone recognizes that it is essential to avoid the deforestation and degradation of the forest. However, to achieve this, some propose to commoditize forests on the false argument that only what has a price and owner is worth taking care of.

Their proposal is to consider only one of the functions of forests, which is its ability to absorb carbon dioxide, and issue “certificates”, “credits” or “Carbon rights” to be commercialized in a carbon market. This way, companies of the North have the choice of reducing their emissions or buy “REDD certificates” in the South according to their economic convenience. For example, if a company has to invest USD40 or USD50 to reduce the emission of one ton of C02 in a “developed country”, they would prefer to buy a “REDD certificate” for USD10 or USD20 in a “developing country”, so they can they say they have fulfilled to reduce the emissions of the mentioned ton of CO2.

Through this mechanism, developed countries will have handed their obligation to reduce their emissions to developing countries, and the South will once again fund the North and that same northern company will have saved a lot of money by buying “certified” carbon from the Southern forests. However, they will not only have cheated their commitments to reduce emissions, but they will have also begun the commoditization of nature, with the forests

The forests will start to be priced by the CO2 tonnage they are able to absorb. The “credit” or “carbon right” which certifies that absorptive capacity will be bought and sold like any commodity worldwide. To ensure that no one affects the ownership of “REDD certificates” buyers, a series of restrictions will be put into place, which will eventually affect the sovereign right of countries and indigenous peoples over their forests and rainforests. So begins a new stage of privatization of nature never seen before which will extend to water, biodiversity and what they call “environmental services”.

While we assert that capitalism is the cause of global warming and the destruction of forests, rainforests and Mother Earth, they seek to expand capitalism to the commoditization of nature with the word “green economy”.

To get support for this proposal of commoditization of nature, some financial institutions, governments, NGOs, foundations, “experts” and trading companies are offering a percentage of the “benefits” of this commoditization of nature to indigenous peoples and communities living in native forests and the rainforest.

Nature, forests and indigenous peoples are not for sale.

For centuries, Indigenous peoples have lived conserving and preserving natural forests and rainforest. For us the forest and rainforest are not objects, are not things you can price and privatize. We do not accept that native forests and rainforest be reduced to a simple measurable quantity of carbon. Nor do we accept that native forests be confused with simple plantations of a single or two tree species. The forest is our home, a big house where plants, animals, water, soil, pure air and human beings coexist.

It is essential that all countries of the world work together to prevent forest and rainforest deforestation and degradation. It is an obligation of developed countries, and it is part of its climate and environmental debt, to contribute financially to the preservation of forests, but NOT through its commoditization. There are many ways of supporting and financing developing countries, indigenous peoples and local communities that contribute to the preservation of forests.

Developed countries spend tens of times more public resources on defense, security and war than in climate change. Even during the financial crisis many have maintained and increased their military spending. It is inadmissible that by using the needs communities have and the ambitions of some leaders and indigenous “experts”, indigenous peoples are expected to be involved with the commoditization of nature.

All forests and rainforests protection mechanisms should guarantee indigenous rights and participation, but not because indigenous participation is achieved in REDD, we can accept that a price for forests and rainforests is set and negotiated in a global carbon market.

Indigenous brothers, let us not be confused. Some tell us that the carbon market mechanism in REDD will be voluntary. That is to say that whoever wants to sell and buy, will be able, and whoever does not want to, will be able to stand aside. We cannot accept that, with our consent, a mechanism is created where one voluntarily sells Mother Earth while others look crossed handed

Faced with the reductionist views of forests and rainforest commoditization, indigenous peoples with peasants and social movements of the world must fight for the proposals that emerged of the World People’s Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth:

1.     Integrated management of native forests and rainforest not only considering its mitigation function as CO2 sink but all its functions and potentiality, whilst avoiding confusing them with simple plantations.

2.     Respect the sovereignty of developing countries in their integral management of forests.

3.     Full compliance with the Rights of Indigenous Peoples established by the United Nations Declaration on Rights of Indigenous Peoples, Convention No. 169 of the ILO and other international instruments; recognition and respect to their territories; revalorization and implementation of indigenous knowledge for the preservation of forests; indigenous peoples participation and indigenous management of forest and rainforest.

4.     Funding of developed countries to developing countries and indigenous peoples for integral management of forest as part of their climate and environmental debt. No establishment of any mechanism of carbon markets or “incentives” that may lead to the commoditization of forests and rainforest.

5.     Recognition of the rights of Mother Earth, which includes forests, rainforest and all its components. In order to restore harmony with Mother Earth, putting a price on nature is not the way but to recognize that not only human beings have the right to life and to reproduce, but nature also has a right to life and to regenerate, and that without Mother Earth Humans cannot live.

Indigenous brothers, together with our peasant brothers and social movements of the world, we must mobilize so that the conclusions of Cochabamba are assumed in Cancun and to impulse a mechanism of RELATED ACTIONS TO THE FORESTS based on these five principles, while always maintaining high the unity of indigenous peoples and the principles of respect for Mother Earth, which for centuries we have preserved and inherited from our ancestors.

EVO MORALES AYMA
President of the Plurinational State of Bolivia

+++

WHAT MAINSTREAM MEDIA AND NGOs ARE NOT REPORTING:

VIDEO: Sept. 30th, 2011: TIPNIS: Indigenous of Western Bolivia support Government (english subs)

“… political opportunists who have infiltrated this mobilization … they took advantage of it in order to discriminate and criticize the changing process … we will tell these political rascals in their presence … here is the people! Here are the real ones who have struggled to defend the changing process! … 20 or 30 years from now … Bolivia will be truly independent … without the intrusion of neo-liberal parties …”

From the article: Bolivia: Amazon protest — development before environment? by Fred Fuentes:

US interference

As the uprising against neoliberalism grew in strength, overthrowing a neoliberal president in 2003, US imperialism sought to use money to increase divisions within the indigenous movements.

In late 2005, investigative journalist Reed Lindsay published an article in NACLA that used declassified US documents to expose how US government-funded agency USAID was used to this effect.

USAID was already planning by 2002 to “help build moderate, pro-democracy political parties that can serve as a counterweight to the radical MAS or its successors”.

The downfall in 2003 of president Gonzalo Sanchez de Lozada triggered a step-up in this subversive activity.

A particular target was CIDOB.

The group was in a crisis after Fabricano was accused of profiting from illegal logging and he accepted the post of vice-minister of Indigenous Affairs under Sanchez de Lozada.

Through USAID funding to the Brecha Foundation, an NGO established by CIDOB leaders, the US hoped to further mould the organisation to its own ends.

Referring to comments made by Brecha director Victor Hugo Vela, Lindsay notes that during this time, “CIDOB leaders allied with Fabricano have condemned the cultivation of coca, helped the business elite in the department of Santa Cruz to push for region autonomy and opposed a proposal to require petroleum companies to consult with indigenous communities before drilling on their lands”.

The CSUTCB (divided between followers of Morales and radical Aymara leader Felipe Quispe), CSCB, FNMCB-BS and organisations such as the neighbourhood councils of El Alto (Fejuve), and to a less extent worker and miner organisations, were at the forefront of constant street battles and insurrections.

CIDOB, however, took an approach marked by negotiation and moderation.

It was not until July 2005 that CIDOB renewed its leadership, in turn breaking relations with Brecha.

CIDOB was not the only target for infiltration.

With close to $200,000 in US government funds, the Land and Liberty Movement (MTL) was set up in 2004 by Walter Reynaga.

As well as splitting the Movement of Landless Peasant’s (MST), one wing of which operated out of his La Paz office, Lindsay said Reynaga, like Vega, tried to win control of the “MAS-aligned” CONAMAQ.

Demands

And it is also true that the demands of the Sub Central of TIPNIS, and in particular CIDOB, are far removed from any notion of communitarianism.

Although initially focused on opposition to the highway, protesters presented the government with an original list of 13 demands, then extended to 16, on the day the march began.

Among those were calls for indigenous peoples to be able to directly receive compensation payment for offsetting carbon emissions.

This policy, known as REDD+, has been denounced as the privatisation of the forests by many environmental activists and the Peoples’ Summit of Climate Change organised in Bolivia in 2010.

It has also been promoted as a mechanism to allow developed countries to continue to pollute while undermining the right underdeveloped to develop their economies.

Another demand calls for the replacement of functionaries within the Authority for Control and Monitoring of Forests and Lands (ABT).

This demand dovetails with the allegations made by Morales against CIDOB leaders, and never refuted, that they want to control this state institution.

Much focus has been made of the potential environmental destruction caused by a highway that would open the path to future “coloniser” settlements.

But these arguments have only focused on one side of the equation.

Much has been made of a study by Bolivian Strategic Research Program that concluded that 64.5% of TIPNIS would be lost to deforestation by 2030 as a result of the highway.

Few, though, have noted that the same study found that even without the highway 43% of TIPNIS would be lost if the current rate of deforestation continues.

The biggest cause of this is the illegal logging that continues to occur, in some cases with the complicity of some local indigenous leaders and communities.

An environmental impact studies by the Bolivian Highway Authority have found the direct impact of the highway on TIPNIS to be 0.03%.

But this has to weighed up with the fact that the highway would provide the state with access to areas currently out of its reach.

This would enable not only access to services, but a greater ability to tackle illegal logging and potential narcotrafficking in the area.

At the same time, the government has asked the indigenous communities of TIPNIS to help in drafting legislation that would impose jail terms of 10 to 20 years on those found to be illegally settling, growing coca or logging in TIPNIS.

The manipulation by NGOs and corporations is clear in this interview (below) with Pirakuma Yawalapiti, the Xingu spokesperson speaking on the issue of carbon trading. This dialogue was filmed by Rebecca Sommer of EARTHPEOPLES, a global network for and by Indigenous Peoples. The interview is just one of hundreds that give documented testament to the deliberate manipulation of the threatened people most vulnerable to climate change. To view more videos and further understand the exploitation of Indigenous Peoples in pursuit of the profits behind REDD, please visit SommerFilms.

[In the interview, the NGOs/agencies who Yawalapiti speaks of (that are pressuring the Indigenous communities of Alto Xingu to agree to REDD projects they do not want) are FUNAI – National Indian Foundation Brazil / Fundação Nacional do Índio and IBAMA – Brazilian Institute of Environment and Renewable Resources / Instituto Brasileiro do Meio Ambiente e dos Recursos Naturais Renováveis.]

[1] TckTckTck’s partners include Galeries Lafayette, Virgin Group, Yahoo! Music, iTunes, Google, Pernod Ricard, EDF, Microsoft,  Zune, YouTube, USA Today, National Magazines, HSBC, M&S, Uniqlo, Lloyds Bank, MySpace, MTV, Bo Concept Japan K.K., Volvo, Kipa Turkey, Claro Argentina, Peugeot, NTV, Universal, Tesco, Sina.com, GDF Suez, Centrica, Oxfam, New Zealand Wine Company, 350.orgHandbag.comAvaaz.org, Lesinrockuptibles, Harper’s Bazaar, Esquire, Cosmopolitan, EMap, Greenpeace, Commensal, The Atlantic, Fast Company, News Limited, Tesla, Wired Magazine, and RFM Radio.

[2] The founding of the Climate Action Network (CAN) in 1988 can be traced back to the early players in the ENGO community, including Michael Oppenheimer of the corporate NGO, Environmental Defense Fund. CAN is a global network of over 700 nongovernmental organizations (NGOs). The stated goal of CAN is to promote government and individual action to limit human-induced climate change to ecologically sustainable levels. This goal is severely problematic in (at minimum) 2 fundamental ways: 1) There is no such thing as “ecologically sustainable levels” of climate change, and 2) as opposed to states having to respond to approximately 700 groups demanding action on climate change, states instead bask in the comfort of having to deal with only one (that of CAN), which essentially demands little to nothing. CAN has seven regional coordinating offices that coordinate these efforts in Africa, Central and Eastern Europe, Europe, Latin America, North America, South Asia, and Southeast Asia. Members include organizations from around the globe, including the largest corporate greens such as World Wildlife Fund [WWF], Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth.

http://wrongkindofgreen.org/2011/09/30/who-really-leads-on-the-environment-bolivia-versus-the-movement-the-facts-speak-for-themselves/

http://boliviarising.blogspot.com/2011/10/who-really-leads-on-environment-evo.html

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