Respect Our Mother Earth
By Evo Morales
26 September, 2007
Letter from President
Evo Morales to the member representatives of the United Nations on the
issue of the environment.
and brother Presidents and Heads of States of the United Nations: The
world is suffering from a fever due to climate change, and the disease
is the capitalist development model. Whilst over 10,000 years the variation
in carbon dioxide (CO2) levels on the planet was approximately 10%,
during the last 200 years of industrial development, carbon emissions
have increased by 30%. Since 1860, Europe and North America have contributed
70% of the emissions of CO2. 2005 was the hottest year in the last one
thousand years on this planet.
have demonstrated that out of the 40,170 living species that have been
studied, 16,119 are in danger of extinction. One out of eight birds
could disappear forever. One out of four mammals is under threat. One
out of every three reptiles could cease to exist. Eight out of ten crustaceans
and three out of four insects are at risk of extinction. We are living
through the sixth crisis of the extinction of living species in the
history of the planet and, on this occasion, the rate of extinction
is 100 times more accelerated than in geological times.
Faced with this bleak future,
transnational interests are proposing to continue as before, and paint
the machine green, which is to say, continue with growth and irrational
consumerism and inequality, generating more and more profits, without
realising that we are currently consuming in one year what the planet
produces in one year and three months. Faced with this reality, the
solution can not be an environmental make over.
I read in the World Bank
report that in order to mitigate the impacts of climate change we need
to end subsidies on hydrocarbons, put a price on water and promote private
investment in the clean energy sector. Once again they want to apply
market recipes and privatisation in order to carry out business as usual,
and with it, the same illnesses that these policies produce. The same
occurs in the case of biofuels, given that to produce one litre of ethanol
you require 12 litres of water. In the same way, to process one ton
of agrifuels you need, on average, one hectare of land.
Faced with this situation,
we – the indigenous peoples and humble and honest inhabitants
of this planet – believe that the time has come to put a stop
to this, in order to rediscover our roots, with respect for Mother Earth;
with the Pachamama as we call it in the Andes. Today, the indigenous
peoples of Latin America and the world have been called upon by history
to convert ourselves into the vanguard of the struggle to defend nature
I am convinced that the United
Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, recently approved
after so many years of struggle, needs to pass from paper to reality
so that our knowledge and our participation can help to construct a
new future of hope for all. Who else but the indigenous people, can
point out the path for humanity in order to preserve nature, natural
resources and the territories that we have inhabited from ancient times.
We need a profound change
of direction, at the world wide level, so as to stop being the condemned
of the earth. The countries of the north need to reduce their carbon
emissions by between 60% and 80% if we want to avoid a temperature rise
of more than 2º in what is left of this century, which would provoke
global warming of catastrophic proportions for life and nature.
We need to create a World
Environment Organisation which is binding, and which can discipline
the World Trade Organisation, which is propelling as towards barbarism.
We can no longer continue to talk of growth in Gross National Product
without taking into consideration the destruction and wastage of natural
resources. We need to adopt an indicator that allows us to consider,
in a combined way, the Human Development Index and the Ecological Footprint
in order to measure our environmental situation.
We need to apply harsh taxes
on the super concentration of wealth, and adopt effective mechanisms
for its equitable redistribution. It is not possible that three families
can have an income superior to the combined GDP of the 48 poorest countries.
We can not talk of equity and social justice whilst this situation continues.
The United States and Europe
consume, on average, 8.4 times more that the world average. It is necessary
for them to reduce their level of consumption and recognise that all
of us are guests on this same land; of the same Pachamama.
I know that change is not
easy when an extremely powerful sector has to renounce their extraordinary
profits for the planet to survive. In my own country I suffer, with
my head held high, this permanent sabotage because we are ending privileges
so that everyone can "Live Well" and not better than our counterparts.
I know that change in the world is much more difficult than in my country,
but I have absolute confidence in human beings, in their capacity to
reason, to learn from mistakes, to recuperate their roots, and to change
in order to forge a just, diverse, inclusive, equilibrated world in
harmony with nature
Evo Morales Ayma
President of the Republic de Bolivia
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