Through La Via Campesina
We, male and female peasants, family farmers, landless peasants, indigenous peoples and migrants - men and women - are resolutely opposed to the commodification of the land, our territories, water, seeds, food, nature and human life. Humanity is faced with a great dilemma: continue the path of capitalism, predation and death, or embark on the path of harmony with nature and respect for life.
Governments from around the world will meet in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil from June 20 to 22, 2012, supposedly to commemorate 20 years of the "Earth Summit", the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development. , which established for the first time a global agenda for "sustainable development". During that summit, in 1992, three international conventions were adopted: the Convention on Biological Diversity, the United Nations Convention on Climate Change, and the Convention to Combat Desertification. Each of them promised to launch a set of actions aimed at protecting the planet and life on it, and helping all human beings enjoy a dignified life.
Many social organizations at that time welcomed and supported the new conventions with hope. Twenty years later, we see that the real causes of environmental, economic and social deterioration remain untouched. Worse still, we are deeply alarmed that the next meeting in June will serve to deepen the neoliberal policies and the processes of capitalist expansion, concentration and exclusion that have us today involved in an environmental, economic and social crisis of very serious proportions. Under the misleading and ill-intentioned name of "green economy", today new forms of pollution and environmental destruction are announced, as well as new waves of privatization, monopolization and expulsion from our lands and territories.
La Via Campesina will mobilize for this event, representing the peasant voice in the global debate and defending a different path of development, rooted in the well-being of all, that guarantees food for all, that protects and guarantees that the common goods and natural resources are at the service of a good life for all and not of the accumulation needs of a few.
20 years later: the planet and humanity in crisis
20 years after the Earth Summit, the whole of life on the planet has become dramatically difficult. The number of hungry people has risen to almost a billion, which means that one in six human beings is going hungry, mainly children and rural women. The expulsion from our lands and territories continues to advance at an accelerated rate, not only due to the disadvantageous conditions imposed on us by trade agreements and the industrial sector, but also due to new forms of land and water grabbing, global taxation. of forms of intellectual property that steal our seeds from us, due to the invasion of transgenic seeds, the advance of monoculture plantations, mega-projects, mining.
The great promises of Rio 92 have turned out to be a sham. The Biodiversity Agreement did not stop the destruction of biodiversity and strengthened and generated new mechanisms aimed at privatizing it and turning it into a commodity. Desertification continues to advance hand in hand with industrial agriculture and the expansion of agribusiness and monoculture plantations. The warming of our planet - with all the disasters and dramatic suffering it is already causing - has not stopped, but has accelerated and worsened.
The great deception of 1992 was “sustainable development”, which social organizations initially saw as a possibility to face the root of the problems. However, it was no longer a facelift from the search for new forms of accumulation. Today they seek to legitimize a new facade, especially under the name of "green economy"
The “green economy” and other false solutions: a new assault on the peoples and their territories
Capitalist profit has generated the greatest crisis in the system since 1929. Since 2008, the hegemonic system has tried to find solutions to its structural crisis, seeking new possibilities of accumulation that maintain its logic. It is in this context that the corporate capture of the agreements on biological diversity and climate change occurred and, consequently, the development of this new financial engineering called Green Capitalism.
Governments, businessmen and United Nations agencies have spent the last few years building the myth of the "green economy" and the "greening of technology." They present it as the new possibility of matching the care of the Earth with business, but it is actually the way to achieve new advances of capitalism, until putting the whole planet under the control of big capital. There are several mechanisms that will be promoted through the green economy and all of them will increase the destruction. More specifically,
- The green economy does not seek to stop climate change or environmental deterioration, but to generalize the principle that those who have money can continue to pollute. So far they have used the farce of buying carbon credits to continue emitting greenhouse gases. Today they are inventing biodiversity bonds. That is, companies will be able to continue destroying forests and ecosystems, as long as they pay someone to supposedly conserve biodiversity somewhere else. Tomorrow they may invent water, landscape, and clean air bonds.
- Payment systems for environmental services are being used to take away their lands and territories from indigenous peoples and peasants. The mechanism that governments and companies are promoting most strongly is the REDD and REDD plus system. They say it is a system to reduce greenhouse gas emissions resulting from deforestation and forest degradation, but it is being used to impose, for a ridiculous payment, management plans that deny rural families and communities access to their own lands, forests and water sources. In addition, they guarantee unrestricted access for companies to collective forest areas, potentiating biopiracy. They also impose contracts that tie communities to these management plans for 20 years or more and that leave indigenous and peasant lands as a pledge, which creates the certain possibility that these communities will lose their lands. The objective of environmental services is to take control of the natural reserve spaces and the territories that are still under the control of our communities.
- Another initiative of the green economy is to convert plants, algae and all organic remains (stubble, manure, etc.) into a source of energy to replace oil; This is what they call "use of biomass". With agrofuels, this has meant that millions of hectares that should have been covered with forests or producing food are now used to power machines. If the energy use of biomass is effectively generalized, we will see that life in the sea is further reduced because an important part of marine species will run out of food, that our soils will not recover the organic matter that is essential to preserve fertility and protect against erosion and dryness, and that it will be impossible to feed our animals because food will become increasingly scarce and expensive. The shortage of water will also worsen, either due to the cultivation of biofuels, or because our soils will not have the capacity to absorb and retain water as they lack organic matter.
- Then they tell us about “climate-smart agriculture”, which only seeks that we accept a new Green Revolution -possibly with transgenics- and that instead of demanding effective support to defend ourselves from the effects of climate change, we accept ridiculous payments that will work the same as REDD . They also seek to impose systems highly dependent on large amounts of pesticides, such as direct sowing based on Round Up aerial sprays, which are now called "low carbon agriculture." That is, they will force us to do a certain type of agriculture and we may lose control over our territories, our ecosystems and our water.
- One of the most perverse aspects of the false solutions that are being promoted in international negotiations is that of restricting access to and use of irrigation water. Using as a pretext the fact that irrigation water is scarce, they propose that the water be concentrated in "high value crops"; In other words, export crops, biofuels and other industrial crops are watered, and crops stop being watered for their own food
- The promotion of technological solutions that are not a solution is also part of the agenda of the discussions in Rio. Among the most dangerous are geoengineering and acceptance of transgenic crops. So far, none of the solutions proposed by geoengineering has proven to have a real capacity to solve climate problems. On the contrary, some of the forms of geoengineering (such as fertilization of the seas) are so dangerous that internationally a moratorium on them has been declared. For us to accept GMOs, we are told that they will create drought and heat resistant crops, but the only new thing in GMOs is more herbicide resistant varieties, which are also bringing highly toxic herbicides, such as 2,4, to the market. , -D.
- The most ambitious plan and what some governments identify as “the greatest challenge” is to put a price on all nature's assets (such as water, biodiversity, landscape, wildlife, seeds, rain, etc. ), then privatize them (with the excuse that keeping them requires money) and charging us for their use. This is called the Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (TEEB). It is the final assault on nature and life, but also on the means of work and life of the peoples who live from agriculture, hunting and fishing.
This “green” capitalism especially targets common rural spaces, agriculture, land and water. We are already suffering its effects in the form of land grabbing, privatization of water and oceans, of indigenous territories, national parks and nature reserves, all processes that are being accompanied by forced expulsions of peasant and indigenous communities.
The real solution: put peasant and indigenous agriculture at the center
The peasant and indigenous peoples are the ones who concentrate the highest levels of poverty, because we have been deprived of the land and we have been surrounded by law or by force so that we cannot cultivate and trade freely. However, we are peoples who continue to resist expulsion from the countryside, and we are still more than 90% of the rural population. Our ways of doing agriculture cool the planet, take care of ecosystems and ensure food for the poorest sectors.
Any real solution is to stop the unbridled profit of capital, end the complicity of governments and support the forms of production that effectively take care of the planet. Food Sovereignty is part of the heart of the necessary changes, the only real way to make it possible to feed all humanity. Our proposals are clear and deliver real solutions:
- We must change the agro-export industrial food system for a system based on food sovereignty, which restores the land to its social function as a producer of food and sustains life, which places local food production, marketing circuits at the center and local processing. Food sovereignty makes it possible to end monocultures and agribusiness, to promote peasant production systems that are characterized by their greater intensity and productivity, their ability to provide work, take care of the soil and deliver a healthy and diversified production. Peasant and indigenous agriculture is also what can cool the planet; with the capacity to absorb or avoid up to 2/3 of the greenhouse gases that are emitted each year.
- The land currently in peasant and indigenous hands is around 20% of agricultural land globally. However, with that land, peasant and indigenous families and communities produce at least half of the world's food. In our hands is the safest and most efficient way to overcome hunger in the world.
- To ensure food for all and restore normal weather on earth, it is necessary that agriculture once again be a task in the hands mainly of peasant communities and indigenous peoples. For this, comprehensive and far-reaching agrarian reforms must be urgently carried out, ending the extreme and growing concentration of land that today affects humanity. These agrarian reforms are the ones that will provide the material conditions for agriculture to fulfill its role for the benefit of all humanity and therefore the defense and protection of peasant and indigenous agriculture is today a task for everyone. In the immediate term, it is necessary to stop all transactions, concessions and transfers that imply concentration or land grabbing and / or displacement of rural communities.
- Peasant and indigenous systems of agriculture, hunting, fishing and grazing that help to take care of the land and food must be adequately supported with unconditional public funds and means. Market mechanisms - such as carbon sales and environmental services - must be immediately dismantled and replaced by real measures, such as those mentioned above. Stopping pollution is a duty that no one can evade by buying rights to continue destroying.
- The legitimate use of what now international and business organizations call biomass is to feed living beings and return to the earth to restore its fertility. Emissions from energy waste should be reduced based on savings and an end to waste. We need decentralized renewable energy sources, within the reach of the people.
All mobilized to unmask Rio + 20 and green capitalism
We, male and female peasants, family farmers, landless peasants, indigenous peoples and migrants - men and women - are resolutely opposed to the commodification of the land, our territories, water, seeds, food, nature and human life. We reiterate what was said at the Peoples' Summit in Cochabamba, Bolivia: “Humanity is facing a great dilemma: continue the path of capitalism, predation and death, or undertake the path of harmony with nature and respect for life."
We repudiate and denounce the green economy as a new mask to hide higher levels of greed from corporations and food imperialism in the world and as a brutal way to wash the face of capitalism, which only imposes false solutions, such as carbon trading, REDD, geoengineering, GMOs, agrofuels, bio-char and all market solutions to the environmental crisis.
Our challenge is to restore another way of relating to nature and among peoples. That is also our duty and our right and for this reason we will continue fighting and we call to continue fighting tirelessly for the construction of food sovereignty, for comprehensive agrarian reform and the recovery of indigenous territories, to put an end to the violence of capital, and for restoring peasant and indigenous production systems based on agroecology.
No to the false solutions of green capitalism.
Peasant agriculture NOW!
La Via Campesina