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I will be covering the 20th Anniversary of the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro starting next week. Stay tuned!
As you can see I mostly use this blog for when I am traveling and covering global events. My apology to those of you who often check The Well of Light. I want to first of all direct you to my regular site at www.AreWeListening.net
The MOST IMPORTANT SHOW I HAVE EVER DONE!
November 9th Bill McKibben: Making a life on a tough new planet
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Thanks so much for your on going partnership and participation in this planetary transformation…
The Big Event: Please mark your calendars
Mysterium All Souls Weekend with Maniko
Saturday, October 30th, 9:30am – 5pm /Sunday October 31st 11am – 9:30pm
Please join us for a magical, shamanic journey where we move with intimacy and awareness into the innermost truth of that which never dies. As the exponential effects of our collective ways of living on earth are felt more and more acutely, growing awareness and courageous participation become essential to restore balance to life on this precious little planet and within ourselves. The power of attuning the heart to the flow of love in our ancestral stream brings a spirit of belonging that even death cannot destroy. The fear of death is the mother fear of all fears (also known as survival fears), and to recognize the eternal through the timeless dimensions of love is the antidote to so much that ails us. Embodying the stream of undying love is the ultimate empowerment to live fully, here and now. Come celebrate, honor and enter the Mysterium of these hallowed (lit. means to honor as holy) days and nights.
By way of love, by way of connection with the undying spirit that lives and breathes and moves in all that is, past/present/future, this weekend is devoted to venturing with full awareness into the meeting of the visible and invisible worlds – dissolving the veils of separation.
Through dance invocations, tonal incantations, song, awareness practices, writing and full-bodied prayer we will cross over again and again – offering our bodies and voices as vehicles to honor our rich heritage in the unbreakable stream of life of and death and rebirth – all the way to communion with ‘that which never dies’ – the full Mysterium.
Wishing you love and happiness, now. ~ Maniko
As this historic Cochabamba Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth, attended by over 35,000 participants, comes to a close on this Earth Day there is a great deal of hope and possibility in the air. President Evo Morales welcomed representatives of 90 governments including several heads of state to present the findings from the 17 groups working on issues such as Mother Earth Rights, Creating a Climate Tribunal, Climate Debt, Just Finance, Agricultural Reform and other related topics. Four representatives, from Australia, USA, Malaysia, and Bolivia gathered the findings and presented them to this auspicious gathering.
While the Copenhagen accord set a non-binding agreement to hold climate temperature rise to 2 degrees C the finding of these working groups felt the target should be 1-1.5 degrees and holding CO2 emissions to 300ppm to save the island states and many others already heavily impacted by climate change. Another major issue was Eco Debt which people felt very strongly needed to be addressed in the upcoming COP 16 UN conference on climate change. There was strong agreement that the development model offered by Western (capitalist) society was severely flawed and that a new global model that was based in honoring the rights of Mother Nature had to be created. How can a system built on continuous growth (hyper-consumerism) continue with finite resources?
It was suggested that at it’s heart this is a spiritual issue. How can we stand by and protect our privileged way of life, while so many of our brothers and sisters around the world are suffering. The World Health Organization estimates that one-third of the world is well-fed, one-third is under-fed and one-third is starving. Perhaps we think this doesn’t impact us, but in reality it makes the world less safe, more unstable, leads to hording, greater separation, denial and spiritual disharmony. The working groups put Mother Earth rights first, because human rights and all the other issues are a subset of it.
Another critical issue that was addressed was agricultural reform, food is a primary example of our lack of honoring the rights of Mother Nature. Factory farms, fast food, Genetically modified crops, privatization, pesticides and toxic chemicals, the patenting of seeds and our disregard for the preciousness of our water were examples of being out of touch with nature. Indigenous wisdom was called on to find solutions to help us return to balance with the needs of our Mother. It was felt that the capitalist system has used nature as a slave instead of a live being that supports all life on this planet. They suggested that this is why the rights of nature must come first and it is the duty of all people to fight for her rights.
Climate Justice and debt were big topics of this conference. It was decided that a new organization needed to be formed to regulate abuses to Mother Earth with a Tribunal to enforce the standards of living in harmony with the natural world. Many of the developed nations are calling for the cancellation of the Kyoto Accord, but this group will be calling for a commitment to adopting the protocol for the years from 2013-2017. They are looking for a 50% reduction from 1990 emission levels with no offsets or voluntary compliance. The consensus is that there must be legally binding commitments that can punish polluters and be upheld in a court of law.
The working groups also rejected REDD, the United Nations Collaborative Program on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation in Developing Countries, considered by the many in the group to be simply a way of making money from pollution through carbon trading. Twenty percent of the planet’s yearly greenhouse gas emissions come from deforestation, more than the entire global transportation sector and second only to the energy sector. The group feels that this proposal takes the attention away from the real issue of respecting nature. The suggested solution is education and a global tree planting campaign. Of course that needs to be part of a larger plan that includes getting away from our dependency on oil. As my friend Nnimmo Bassey, president of Friends of the Earth, says “Leave the oil in the soil, leave the coal in the hole, and leave the tar sand in the land.”
After a gruelingly long and bombastic speech by Hugo Chavez, that put most of the people asleep, Evo Morales gave his closing remarks. He said that the corporate mass media turns things around to make people working for true democracy into the enemy and that it was up to us to get the word out and raise awareness of these important issues. In the end the future of the planet is in the hands of the people!
All in all it was a very inspiring day. More tomorrow.
The Day Started with an early press conference with Bolivian president Evo Morales. In contrast to yesterday’s rock concert atmosphere, today was much more focused on what needs to be done and how we can bring about change. Evo, as everyone here calls him, spoke without any notes and his comments were very heart-felt.
He began his talk by saying that social movements need to organize to produce concrete results in defending the rights of Mother Earth and that we need to focus on the real causes and not the effects. If we look beyond the the pollution, destruction and disharmony we see that our social and political systems are broken. You cannot have continuous growth and exploitation with finite resources. It is not about capitalism, communism or socialism, it is about protecting Mother Earth!
Morales said that we need to create a new grass roots global organization that represents Mother Earth. This organization must have a tribunal that is responsible for enforcing the agreements. If there is no punitive action, he asserted, there will be no compliance. Who will obey? This is the problem with the Copenhagen Accord, it has no teeth. An international Tribunal must deal with countries that do not obey or don’t want to participate. This can be done with peaceful sanctions and restricting trade…
Evo also talked about Human rights vs. Earth rights. The focus he said needed to be on the rights of the earth, if we focus on that we will have to deal with human rights. It made me think about the whole issue of human rights and how it is an outgrowth of our holding ourselves above and separate from nature. But, in reality we are a subset and if we respect natures rights then all life will be respected. Perhaps it sounds overly idealistic to some that we could actually give rights to nature, but it has already been done. Ecuador was the first country to grant rights to trees, rivers and mountains in their new constitution, which has been a huge inspiration to activists around the world. Other countries are looking at how to follow in their footsteps.
Here in Bolivia most of us feel strongly that something is emerging — a global revolution of epic proportion is taking place — a new story of our human earth relationship is being defined and people around the planet are waking up to a new possibility…
Hot, loud and colorful! That was the order of the day at the Tiquipaya Stadium and the opening ceremony for the People’s Conference on Climate Change and Mother Earth Rights in Bolivia. Quite a contrast to the UN conference in Copenhagen last December. It was more like attending a rock concert than a group gathering to ignite a global people’s revolution to save the planet…
We arrived at 8am on a hot fall day and managed to find seats close to the front. I guess most people knew that there would be several hours of painfully loud music and people yelling slogans like “Fatherland or Death” and chants to stimulate and activate the crowd. I won’t forget my earplugs next time. But, with all the hype and noise it was also refreshing to be with people from all over the world — regular people, indigenous people, concerned people — gone were the somber suits and oh so perfect structures of Denmark. This was pure South American chaos at its best…
About a third of the roughly 20,000 attendees were from indigenous tribes and fully decked out in their traditional clothing. This was not a hype, as they always wear them. However the opening itself seemed short of content and long on typical political rhetoric! There were speakers from indigenous people’s of Alaska, Bolivia, New Zealand, Spain, Africa and India that shared their invitation to connect with mother earth and learn from their culture, experience and tradition. They burned incense, danced and blessed Pachamama (the earth, the sky and all time) in thanksgiving. While the smoke was pungent and choking, their sincerity and warmth was touching and a highlight of the morning.
Just before President Morales came on stage a representative from the United Nations was booed (actually whistled) off the stage. While what she was saying was really about working together and partnership, this crowd was clearly not interested in what the UN or Capitalist Governments had to offer. The people here do not think that the 20% of the world that produces 80% of the pollution and damage to the earth have much to offer them. Their is also a great deal of anger over the issue of what they consider the environmental debt that the rich colonial empires own the poorer developing countries. They just wanted to hear Evo!
By the time we finally got to hear Evo Morales’ speech we were all fairly well fried by the high mountain sun and deaf from the loud music and shouting, but that in no way dampened the crowd’s enthusiasm. When Evo came in the crowd rose and screamed as if Elvis had just come on stage.
Evo as most people call him, has a very soft, folksy, down home style. He said that he called this conference because the UN had not figured it out — if they had respected the Kyoto Accord, we would not be here — that the people, all people, need to be heard. He talked about what we could expect if we did not take action on reducing greenhouse gases immediately. He said that from 1997 and 2007 CO2 in our atmosphere had increased by 11% and that Capitalism was the enemy of the earth and needed to be stopped. In his folksy style he gave examples of our food and how it is big, bright and beautiful, but lacked the nutrition for good health. His examples were often humorous like the perils of Coca Cola and how you could unstop drains with it. He suggested that the reason men “Turned” was because of the hormones in our food and that even baldness was a product of industrialized agriculture. He offered himself, with his very full head of hair as an example of good living.
While his speech was short on solutions, he proposed that the papers the working groups were preparing would be presented to the UN climate change conference being held in Cancun, Mexico this coming December. He has managed to make a ripple in the fabric of global complacency and perhaps his charm, charisma and commitment will be the beginning of a new revolution as we meet increasing challenges brought on by our separation from Pachamama? Stay tuned!
I arrived in La Paz this morning at 6 am, just in time to catch a most luminous and hopeful sunrise on this 14,000ft high mountain plateau surrounded by sun lit peaks and thin air. From there I flew to Cochabamba where the First People’s Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth is being held.
As I flew over these dry and barren mountain peaks I wondered if the nearly 20,000 participants from 129 countries would be able to find common ground and construct an agreement that might be proposed as an alternative to the non-binding agreement from Copenhagen at this December’s UN conference on climate change being held in Mexico.
I am hopeful that something substantial will come out of this gathering — that the little voices of the multitude will swell into a unified front that stands united, not against something, but for the rights of mother earth and the commons — knowing that we are strong as an aligned force, but powerless divided. The Machine is too big, the issues too pressing and time too short to come away with anything less than a document that addresses all life on this planet. We need to get beyond blame and finger pointing and find out how we can provide clean air, water, enough food to eat, education, shelter, health care so that everyone can live a life of dignity and self respect. It is time to recognize that we are all connected and that the future of life on this planet depends on our coming together in common unity.
From my vantage point the success of this conference will be dependent on our willingness to listen compassionately, to drop our personal agendas, our anger and opposition and focus on our common needs holding a vision of a world that works for all life with no one and nothing left out. This could be the start of a peaceful global revolution where the 2 million organizations that Paul Hawkin has called Blessed Unrest stand together as a unified force for good.
So we have gathered here to bring our light, our listening and our prayers to this conference which starts tomorrow morning when President Evo Morales gives the opening address. Robin Milam, our team and I will be bringing you up to the minute reports through our blog and the evening news on KVMR (to listen go to KVMR.org) Stay tuned…
Bless us all,
I apologize for not keeping up on daily quotes. Life if rich and full and sometimes we just don’t get to all we would like to accomplish.
Lovers, you who are for a while
You touch one another so reverently’
Rainer Maria Rilke