The need for a new system
1. The model of capitalist development is a threat to life because it prioritizes consumerism and the generation of profits over common well-being and the satisfaction of basic needs, denying the interconnection that exists between human life and nature. This anthropocentric model based on the private accumulation of wealth and maximization of economic growth generates inequality, poverty, exclusion, and environmental destruction. It is a model that destroys communities as well as nature.
Principles of a new system
2. Given that capitalism is a threat to life itself, it is necessary to forge a new system that reestablishes harmony with nature and among human beings based on the principles of: equilibrium among all and with all things, complementarity, solidarity, equity, justice, collective consciousness, and respect for diversity and spirituality.
3. A new system should recognize that human beings are part of nature, that nature does not belong to us, and that we are interdependent with nature. In this sense, we must view respect for human rights and the Rights of Mother Earth as articulated, complementary, and reciprocal processes.
4. To achieve harmony with nature requires the recuperation and revalorization of the various forms of knowledge, ancestral technologies, and local systems of production, distribution, and consumption that promote the maintenance of the regenerative capacity of nature, as well as the fundamental principle of equality and peace between diverse peoples and living things based on the notion of Mother Earth as an integral entity.
5. Harmony with nature is not possible if equality does not exist between human beings, between communities, nations, and the environment. This means leaving aside capitalism, imperialism, colonialism, interventionism, and the predatory practices that have brought us to a situation in which one percent of the possibility controls 50% of wealth, and 20 percent of the population consumes 80% of the total resources.
Unlimited development versus harmony with nature
6. The division of the globe into “developed” and “developing” or even “under-developed” countries reflects paradigms that have now been relegated to history. Today, in the face of climate change and the persistent degradation of the environment, our principal need is to strengthen communities and recognize human beings for what they are, not what they have. This should occur in the context of the recuperation and revalorization of the history of humanity and our indigenous roots.
7. To achieve harmony with nature, peoples and their governments must demonstrate sufficient capacity, conscience, and political will to govern with a non-anthropocentric mindset that emphasizes life, thus eliminating predatory practices and replacing them with a vision of life in communion with nature. To achieve this, it is necessary to promote unity among the peoples of the planet so that all might watch over Mother Earth and life in harmony with nature.
8. Governments must generate investment and support for new and existing sustainable technologies and the recuperation of ancestral technologies, which transform the processes leading to the satisfaction of real human needs, adapting them to a framework of harmony with nature at a global level, and especially at the local level, in which environmental problems and the impacts of climate change primarily affect the most vulnerable populations. To achieve this, it is important to recognize the plurality of forms of knowledge and ancestral practices, and transform scientific paradigms based on control over nature toward paradigms oriented toward equilibrium with nature.
9. Because the Mother Earth is a living entity and subject to rights, Living Well requires the protection and restoration of the integrity of the ecosystems in order to Live Well, as well of the recognition of the existence of universal natural patrimonies such as the atmosphere, water, biodiversity, soil, subsoil, and the land, which should be respected and used appropriately, rather than seen as objects of merchandise. Living Well depends also on the satisfaction of basic, fundamental needs through equitable access to basic services such as water, sanitation, housing and knowledge, which should be under the control of society and never be privatized, with constant attention to equilibrium and respect for nature.
10. A new system requires action; a change of mindset and the consumerist practices of human beings, as well as the construction of a collective, critical consciousness based on a continual questioning of daily actions so that there may be adequate, balanced, and respectful use of the spaces and the universal natural patrimonies that belong to us all. For this to occur, we must sensitize, educate and teach everyone using new educational systems and new media that are based on the principle of harmony with nature to Live Well and the need to care for the spaces in which we live, including communities, countries, and the planet.
11. The construction of new paradigms such as Living Well and new forms of harmony with nature requires the examination of different forms of wisdom and experiences, and a collective evaluation of current realities using new indicators that allow us to measure the impact of human activity on the planet. These indicators should permit not just knowledge of the present situation, but also serve as a basis for the application of new laws that permit the application of environmental and climate justice. These indicators may include the ecological footprint and the Human Development Index (HDI), as well as others based on ethical principles and Living Well.
12. Faced with the reality that the Earth’s regenerative capacity has now been exceeded by more than 30% and that the current rate of over-exploitation, if continued, would require the resources of two planets by the year 2030, it is essential to generate a new model that is not one of unlimited and destructive development. Recognizing that countries require a certain level of development to satisfy the fundamental necessities of their populations, and that this should involve the use of Earth-friendly technologies, alternatives based on ancestral practices, and endogenous development, a new model of harmony with nature can in no way be achieved if countries sustain the predatory capitalist paradigm that has caused the richest nations to have an ecological footprint five times larger than what the planet is capable of supporting. This situation jeopardizes the existence of Mother Earth and the survival and well-being of all peoples.
Cochabamba, Bolivia, April 21, 2010