Working Group 1: Structural Causes of Climate Change

Background

Since time immemorial, development of Western culture and domination of nature began with the destruction of communities and peoples’ lifestyles as well as their production, socio-economic and cultural systems. The balance and harmony of Mother Earth and Living Well imposed a logic of man’s domination over land, where man logic is above all (first me, then me and always me) and the domination and exploitation of man by man.

To us, everything has life and is interrelated. In contrast, the West does not take into account life, for them neither mountains nor rivers have life, the only thing that has life is human being, or everything that moves. Before community interests, capitalist system take precedence over individual, personal and individuals interests, leaving aside the essence of living in close relationship and the understanding between beings and energies in order to harmonize the interaction between human beings and Mother Earth.

Mother Earth is getting into a climate crisis with extreme disorders along with an increasing wild aggression to natural Harmony converging into a profound crisis of western civilization, which overlaps with catastrophic consequences of energy, financial, climate, food, water and coexistence crisis.

Developed countries that initiate their aggressive industrialization process of natural resources since the industrial revolution in the nineteenth century, based their development in the capitalist model and they have so far 80% responsibility in the emission of polluting gases and only represent 20% of the world’s population; the 80% of the population (who are the least developed countries) is responsible for the 20% of these greenhouse gases emissions.

Therefore, we can say that the basic feature of capitalist development model is responsible for the World’s climate crisis, by:

1. The capitalist development model.

- It is the major destroyer of Mother Earth.

- Industrialized countries have excessively over-exploited and devastated natural resources; these countries pollute with their high-polluting industrial activity, emitting toxic gases, hazardous waste and assets to the atmosphere and the environment.

- Companies and Transnational Corporations have plundered natural resources and the life of communities as part of the capitalist system.

- This industrial activity of the capitalist development model has raised the temperature to such extent that the consequences we now live such as floods, droughts and other extreme events, leave behind them famine and diseases in the World’s population. In this sense capitalist countries are responsible for the problems we live in our communities.

* The implementation of this development model, profoundly affects families (mostly women, children and elderly) stopping them from being the basis of societies.

- As part of the capitalist development logic, an armament, expansionism and competence industry (through technology aimed to control natural and energy resources, power and others) is boosted.

2. The development capitalist model is driven by the pursuit of maximum profit of companies (and individuals)

- For capitalism there is nothing sacred in nature and life, everything is considered as a commodity (everything can be bought and sold) to generate profit (money).

-Knowledge, peoples’ knowledge, natural resources turn into commodities and are extracted, processed and consumed, breaking the spiritual relationship of peoples with nature.

3. The logic of unlimited consumption triggers the overexploitation of natural resources by the capitalist system.

- Countries that base their development in the capitalist system, through companies and transnational corporations are the primary “merchandisers of life” and have led to (humanity), peoples and nations into a spiral of consumption and loss of cultural identity, where peoples are replacing and changing their lifestyles, culture, customs and knowledge.

- More important than individuals is the capital, societies and individuals are important because they consume; this persons’ identity is encouraged by an aggressive media in the service of permanent marketing.

- The identity of human being is consumption, where the one who has the most is the one who worth more and is better; the logic of life is competition.

4. Unlimited production is based on overexploitation and privatization of natural resources and men’s knowledge, to generate profit through the transformation of land, water, forests, jungle, biodioversity, seed, labor and knowledge of human beings into commodities.

- The irrational exploitation of natural resources leads us to a lack of reciprocity and care of Mother Earth. This logic of unlimited production is based on the privatization of natural resources and life. The big capitalists (through companies and transnational corporations) are those that threaten Mother Earth.

- Furthermore, by implementing a policy of privatization and plundering of natural resources and biodiversity, many of these events promoted and supported from international agencies are part of the capitalist system as the International Monetary Fund, World Bank and others.

- The excessive demand of energy to produce and react to the consumerism of societies, is causing the over exploitation of natural resources, mainly affecting indigenous peoples and countries.

5. Climate change is not a problem caused by technology improvement. The climate crisis is actually a problem of a capitalist production system.

-Technology is not the only solution for climate change.

- The first destroyers of Mother Earth are industrialized countries; technology and knowledge have been used for this purpose, and even have been accomplices of damaging our planet.

- The creation of technology aims to generate additional sources of investment and technological innovation that, by not questioning the basic assumptions of capitalist development model, can only deepen the problems we face.

- Technological solutions do not solve the climate crisis; those only perpetuate the problem that seek the implementation of “false solutions” such as agro-biofuels that take away food from people and expand the agricultural border at the expense of ecosystems and life forms (under the pretext that we need to produce clean energy.)

6. The capitalist system deepens inequality relationships between countries (instituting dominated and dominant ones).

- This development view places interest over equity, the reason why is not possible to achieve a balance with nature if there is not a balance between human beings; while industrialized countries have financial and technological resources to protect the consequences of climate change, the rest of the World is not ready.

Conclusion

As indigenous communities and Bolivian people, we are aware that we are not responsible for climate crisis and we propose “to change the capitalist system, and not the climate,” in order to tackle climate change because climate crisis is the result of the development model.

Which ways do we propose to face the Capitalist Development Model?

Capitalism, as a system of destruction and overexploitation of Mother Earth, forces us to impose a new and own communitarian production system with an identity that includes and expands “living well” through:

• A peoples’ world referendum that consolidates a final agreement with industrialized countries and thus making them to take responsibility.

• Monitoring and control through international mechanisms that prohibit and punish those who cause harm to Mother Earth, with the participation of indigenous peoples.

• International agreements that plan a balanced production between sister nations.

• Recovery, empowerment and respect for ancestral wisdom and knowledge.

Therefore, after being quiet for al long time, as servants of nature and children of Mother Earth, we believe that the precise moment has come to sow the seed in order to eradicate men’s domination over nature (to live better), and to rebuild complementarity and balance within the community, between spiritual and harmonious relationship of earth with life, between man and nature as well as with peoples’ knowledge; Living Well within the limits permitted by health and resources of planet Earth must also be rebuilt.

Organization of Group 1:
Chair – Zuna Irineo Ramirez – CSUTCB
Recording Secretary – Maribel Moreno – CNMCIOB-BS
Rapporteur – Alberto Miranda – CSCIB

March 30, 2010.