Proposals aimed at environmental governance, justice and education
The First International Event of the Global Embassy of Activists for Peace for the Rights of Mother Earth took place at Santa Maria University in the city of Caracas, Venezuela; a space for socialization and analysis among academic experts, parliamentarians, ecologists, students and green citizens, in order to promote the recognition of Mother Earth as a living being and subject of rights.
This event, organized by the Global Embassy of Activists for Peace (GEAP) under the action lines of the International Project "Children of Mother Earth," allowed the presentation of national and international proposals aimed at environmental governance, justice, education and communication, and the training of a green citizenship, to promote the sustainable development of nations in harmony with Mother Earth.
Keynote lectures for the recognition of Mother Earth as a living being
Dr. José Antonio Bonvicine, Dean of the Faculty of Law of Santa María University, provided the opening words to the event: "These international conferences undoubtedly make us reflect on the role that each of us has in such an important subject so that we are able to continue with what is the world, the earth, Mother Earth."
The keynote speeches by Deputy Ana Elisa Osorio, President of the Commission on Environment and Tourism of the Latin American Parliament and Dr. William Soto Santiago, Executive President of the GEAP, initiated the cycle of interventions.
Deputy Osorio presented the progress made by the Latin American Parliament in regards to legislation for the protection of the environment and Mother Earth, including the Environmental Charter for Latin America and the Caribbean, approved in 2013, and, among others, mentioned a new ethical perspective for the coexistence of Human beings in harmony with Mother Earth:
"The good life, living well; which means understanding the responsibility that human beings have for being at a higher evolutionary scale of behavior is a way that makes the sustainability of life on Earth possible"
Dr. Soto pointed out that the recognition of Mother Earth as a living being is not a new concept and made reference to the fact that the first native peoples and native peoples of different continents consider it as such. In this sense, he laid the foundations of his project, "Children of Mother Earth," and presented the legal definition proposed by the GEAP of what Mother Earth means as a living being. (Read in: "The commitment of humanity with the rights of our Mother Earth")
"We are called to reconnect with our Mother Earth and establish a balanced basis for a sustainable future where the interrelation between the fundamental rights of the human being and the fundamental rights of Mother Earth and her other children is recognized."
For these purposes, he said: "At the Global Embassy of Activists for Peace, we propose that the States and nations of the Americas recognize our Mother Earth as a living being on which our lives depend."
At the same time, he indicated specific proposals, among them, the creation of the Court of the Americas for matters on Mother Earth, specialized in the prosecution and punishment of crimes against Mother Earth, as well as the establishment of environmental education and communication programs in a mandatory manner and transversally, in conventional and non-conventional education systems, for the promotion and formation of green sustainable citizenship.
Legal support for a Court of the Americas for the defense of Mother Earth
Following the interventions, a forum on Mother Earth’s Rights and International Environmental Justice was created, in which Dr. Luis Antonio Ortiz Hernández, Vice-President of the Civil Cassation Chamber of the Supreme Court of Justice, spoke about Ecocide as the maximum environmental crime, of which he stated:
"If genocide, if Human Rights, harm humanity, it has its defenders on an industrial scale, today I want to accompany that request, to that concern of Dr. Soto that we all unite as one and say: We are the Defenders of Mother Earth, we depend on her."
He added: "In order to speak of Ecocide as a proposal to be the fifth crime against peace in the Rome Statute, it is essential to first discuss the creation and emergence of the International Criminal Court and its current status".
Ambassador Julio César Pineda, international analyst and a member of the International Green Cross Board, also gave his contribution in the area of environmental justice:
"The international community needs to create a global and regional legal order beyond the institutions we know, for security, freedom, justice and peace. Justice must act with the necessary coercion in terms of collective well-being, environmental crime as any crime.
The creation of the Regional Criminal Court on Environmental Crimes (...) depending on the new generations, alert and avoid ecological disasters that go unpunished with irrecoverable damage to the planet. This Court, with impartiality and capacity, would monitor crimes against the environment".
Proposal: The largest protected area on the planet
In joining the defense of the Rights of Mother Earth, deputy ecologist Leobardo Acurero, member of the Environmental Commission, Territorial Planning and Climate Change of the National Assembly of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, proposed, among one of the proposals, to promote the creation of protected areas to guarantee non-intervention and exploitation of areas of high natural wealth.
In this regard, he mentioned the Caura River basin in Venezuela, with more than 5,134,000 hectares of virgin forest, which, he noted, is not only important for evapotranspiration (amount of soil water that returns to the atmosphere as a result of evaporation and the transpiration of plants) but is home to the last indigenous communities practically untouched; therefore, he indicated that the proposal is that this zone be declared a national park, in this way it would constitute the largest protected area of the planet.
Successful experiences and citizen proposals for the sustainability of the planet
At the event’s conclusion, a citizen panel was formed by students, chairmen of environmental law, and representatives of the Native Peoples and representatives of successful models of sustainable development.
Dr. Manuel Díaz, who chaired the panel, indicated the importance of education and environmental communication for the training of responsible green citizens, and shared on the environmental culture project in a certified manner: "We wanted to create this individual certification mechanism for responsible consumption, that would allow us to say with the most elementary things: I am no longer just a person, I am a green citizen," he said.
As an example of sustainable development, Dr. Miguel Truzman, representative of the Confederation of Israeli Associations of Venezuela (CAIV), presented the innovations of the State of Israel in the matter of environmental preservation, for which has garnered worldwide recognition.
Among these, is the development of clean technologies, recycling, renewable energy through the use of wind, solar and hydroelectric power; green chemistry, greywater, biomass, and biofuels.
The beginning of forceful actions in favor of Mother Earth
Venezuela is the starting point of a cycle of International Events for the Defense of the Rights of Mother Earth, which will be developed in various countries with the purpose of promoting actions for a sustainable development and a future that guarantee the continuity of human beings in harmony with Mother Earth, an end that the GEAP pursues through the International Project “Children of Mother Earth.”
This project was presented at the XXIX Meeting of the Executive Committee of the Parliamentary Confederation of the Americas (COPA) in Puerto Rico during the month of April of this year1 and to date has led various activities in favor of Mother Earth and its recognition as a living being2.