Is the Earth alive and the ‘Mother’ or just a collection of minerals and chemicals which human beings can exploit at will?
Are the resources on Earth a Blessing for present and future generations to be maximized locally by those who have lived on the land, or an opportunity to create wealth that will enrich shareholders far from where environmental and community exploitation may be taking place?
Fundamentally, these two views represent core differences between a large scale mining company versus indigenous people. They also represent, to some degree, the difference between the members of Fair Jewelry Action, who are deeply sympathetic to indigenous people, and large scale operations who have a long history of destruction and exploitation which continues even today.
Evo Moralas, President of Bolivia, Latin America’s first Indigenous President, has put forth proposals that recognize Earth as a living entity. He has already done this in his own country in the Law of the Rights of Mother Earth, which gives the Earth and living beings on it the same rights as humans.
Bolivia has also circulated the 10 Commandments to save the planet, which assure “Mother Earth has the right to exist, to persist and to continue the vital cycles, structures, functions and processes that sustain all human beings.”
Now Bolivia plans to draft a UN treaty that will recognize the Earth as a living entity which human beings have sought to “dominate and exploit.” In this document, the Earth has the right to be free from pollution and repair itself from the negative activities of human beings. Natural resources are viewed as “blessings.”
“If you want to have balance, and you think that the only (entities) who have rights are humans or companies, then how can you reach balance?” said Pablo Salon, Bolivia’s ambassador to the UN, told Postmedia News. “But if you recognize that nature too has rights, and (if you provide) legal forms to protect and preserve those rights, then you can achieve balance.”
Read a more complete article on the Common Dreams Website.
FJA is a forum open to a diversity of opinions in support of its mission. Any editorial expressed in this article represents the opinion of the author, and not necessarily the views of Fair Jewelry Action members.