Change the system to preserve life on the planet
President of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, Nicolás Maduro
23 September 2014
...Delegation, heads of delegations…
We are here today in New York five years after the largest meeting of world leaders at the UN to discuss the main threat to human survival in this century which is climate change. That meeting was in Copenhagen, Denmark, where 119 heads of state and government were present, and I remember it well because I attended as Minister of Foreign Affairs accompanying our eternal leader Hugo Chávez, who, along with other leaders of the continent among them President Evo Morales, expressed clear and forceful positions representing the voice of our peoples.
Today, climate change continues with more devastating consequences each day, threatening the global destruction of life on the planet and, unfortunately, we still do not see the light at the end of the tunnel. The environmental crisis that we suffer today is defined by an alarming reality, and meanwhile, the factors that coalesce towards the destruction of the planet advance with acceleration and still we continue without taking the necessary measures of environmental control.
Nature abused by rich capitalist nations
Nature has been giving us clear signals of this grave state of affairs, but the powerful of this world only continue to abuse it systematically. This environmental crisis, the result of human actions, is part above all of the crisis of a model of a capitalist civilization, based on norms of production and consumption that are unsustainable, that produce inequality, injustice, poverty and the destruction of the planet. Capitalism has ignored during decades Nature’s capacity to withstand and to renew, the laws of thermodynamics and entropy. Within the logic of capitalism, economic growth is incompatible with the survival of the planet. The logic of capital exploitation is simply unsustainable.
Today, 20% of the richest countries of capitalism consume 84% of the world’s energy, polluting the planet and destroying its equilibrium. These polluting world powers have in two centuries impacted life in the planet, it is these powerful countries the ones that now want to hoist the banners of environmentalism in order to make more money with pollution by putting a price on emissions and exchange in financial terms, the right to pollute this world. We watch with astonishment how those who are principally responsible for climate change and its terrible consequences, do not have the minimum political will to stop and reverse an evil of planetary dimensions generated by the large economic and financial global corporations.
Human species at risk
It is necessary that we cast our memory back. It is now 22 years since George Bush Sr., at the cusp of the imperial arrogance of the unipolar Word, in Rio de Janerio said, quote; “Our lifestyle is not negotiable.” This was in response to those who were demanding concrete actions against climate change that year of 1992. As well, exactly 22 years ago, on 12th of June 1992 also from Rio de Janeiro, the Cuban and Latin-American Commander Fidel Castro stated: ”An important biological species is at risk of disappearing due to the quick and progressive eradication of its natural life conditions – humans.
Now we have to take consciousness that this problem, 22 years afterwards, has aggravated. If yesterday it was late, soon it will be too late – even if some may be displeased to be reminded of the most conservative scientific predictions, it is still necessary to say it here clearly. We cannot continue under a model of development that abuses drastically the conditions of human life and places in dangers the existence of future generations.
David Orr, professor of Oberlin College University and adviser to President Barack Obama said at the beginning of this year the following:” - “Even much before the climate crisis became the biggest failure of the market that the world has ever seen, it was an enormous political and governmental failure.” He was referring to the idea that was imposed during the 1980s of last century whereby the responsibilities of the state should be reduced to next to nothing and the course for capital and markets should be amplified to infinity.
Scenario of apathy, impotence concern and indolence
In view of this dark scenario made up of apathy, impotence, concern and indolence, it is more timely than ever to remember our Indo-American wisdom from South America that warns: “Only when the last tree has died, and the last river has been poisoned and the last fish has been caught will you come to understand that you cannot eat money.”
This is the view of the so called industrialized world that is now being proposed that countries of the South should transition into with the so called green economy. These proposal of the industrialized countries not only go against the right to development that our countries have but also they want to masquerade the same capitalist formulas using the flags of the environmental and ecological movements.
The Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela confirms its commitment to advance holistic planning that considers the three fundamental pillars of ecological sustainable development with a concept of a social ecological economy.
Venezuela - 70% hydroelectricity
Venezuela today obtains 70% of its energy from hydroelectricity and has 60% of its territory under some administrative protection. More tan 222 protected areas preserve 58 million hectares of forests, including national parks, biosphere reserves and fauna reserves. The conservation of Venezuelan forests represents emission savings of 12,221 million tons of CO2 and has diminished the loss of forests today by more tan 50%.
Mr. President, Venezuela had the pleasure to receive in our country the PreCop social delegations; more tan 300 delegates from 135 organizations and social movements from 71 countries who approved the Margarita Declaration.
Mr. President, it is impossible to dodge the imminent danger, and we say this from Venezuela, of a climatic collapse that is already afoot. One of the most evident signs is the terrible phenomenon of climate change, which the great German thinker, Walter Benjamin, predicted as he referred to the domination of capital in the third decade of the 20th century.
Change the system to preserve life on the planet
How long are they going to continue to propose to us capitalist solutions of the old destructive model as answers to the gravest problems that have been created in the last 100 years? Can anyone believe, to give an eloquent example, that the transnational corporations can be converted from one day to the next to the protagonists of the saviours of the planet? Are those who turn human life and nature into merchandize going to accept commitments to change their logic in order to save the planet?
From our America, Mr. President, we stand up in protest and in indignation before those models that now are trying to call themselves “green economy”.
Mr. President, we are children of the Pachamama, and from South America we say: Let us look with respectful voices, with respectful eyes, for the changes to a model that is urgently needed by all humanity. We salute the convocation of this meeting on climate change and we repeat, as our Commander Chavez said in Copenhagen, let us listen to the voice of the street, the shouts of the people in Copenhagen five years ago still echo when they said: “If we want to change the climate, let us change the system.” Let us listen to the voices of the people that marched last Sunday in New York who said: “Action now! No more words!”
We at the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela commit to continue to defend the right of the people to change the system so that we can preserve life on the planet. Thank you very much dear friends.
This speech was translated by Louis Riel Bolivarian Circle - Cblriel - @sympatico.ca