There’s been a lot of buzz surrounding Bolivia’s new law that, when passed, will grant Nature all and equal rights granted to humans. This news is not new as Bolivia’s President Evo Morales, the first indeginous President of Latin America, announced December 2009 at the U.N. Climate Summit they were creating a Mother Earth Ministry. Days prior to the summit President Morales hosted the World People’s Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth in Bolivia.
During President Morales’ speech in 2009 he stated: “The budget for the United States is $687 billion for defense. And for climate change, to save life, to save humanity. They only put up $10 billion. This is shameful.” Yeah, I don’t even want to go back and look up the numbers for education and healthcare.
The law is said to establish 11 new laws for Nature which include:
- the right to life and to exist;
- the right to continue vital cycles and processes free from human alteration;
- the right to pure water and clean air;
- the right to balance;
- the right not to be polluted;
- the right to not be affected by mega-infrastructure and development projects that affect the balance of ecosystems and the local inhabitant communities;
- the right to not have cellular structure modified or genetically altered
(I know that’s not all 11, pero I’m having a hard time finding them in English or Spanish, if you know of a link with all of them please share and I’ll update the post!)
As the Guardian’s UK John Vidal reports,
The law, which is part of a complete restructuring of the Bolivian legal system following a change of constitution in 2009, has been heavily influenced by a resurgent indigenous Andean spiritual world view which places the environment and the earth deity known as the Pachamama at the centre of all life. Humans are considered equal to all other entities.
Foreign Minister David Choquehuanca said Bolivia’s traditional indigenous respect for the Pachamama was vital to prevent climate change. “Our grandparents taught us that we belong to a big family of plants and animals. We believe that everything in the planet forms part of a big family. We indigenous people can contribute to solving the energy, climate, food and financial crises with our values,” he said.
Little opposition is expected to the law being passed because President Evo Morales’s ruling party, the Movement Towards Socialism, enjoys a comfortable majority in both houses of parliament.
A really good video accompanies Vidal’s article of his trip to La Paz discussing current experiences of survival after the February 2011 mudslide. I was also pleased to discover Vidal speaks and understands Spanish so there is no need for voiceover translation, instead English translation is provided on the screen.
Go check out Mala’s article on Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez’s speech at the Copenhagan Accord. I’d also encourage VL readers to check out Oliver Stone’s documentary “South Of The Border” where he speaks with President Morales, tries some coca leaves, and basically gets schooled on indigenous rights in Bolivia. He also interviews Presidents Hugo Chavez (Venezuela), Christina Kirchner (Argentina), Lula da Silva (Brazil), Rafael Correa (Ecuador). Fernando Lugo (Paraguay), and Raul Castro (Cuba).