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Mr. Félix Ovidio Monzón
President of the Commission of Education, Science and Technology of the Congress of Guatemala
Good afternoon to all.
In truth, what privilege it is and honor to be here today with you, with such a select public of Guatemalans, sisters and brothers, with friends, with whom we have shared in other events of CUMIPAZ, in Paraguay, in the second summit, fully, and to which I was invited and in which I participated with government authorities and representatives.
But especially a warm and affectionate greeting to Dr. William Soto Santiago, who is the promoter of this whole family, definitely, of the Global Embassy of Activists for Peace; to him, in absence, at this moment, a warm applause also.
To Gabriela Lara, thank you always for your convocation and friendship, and for having taken the decision to hold this fourth summit of CUMIPAZ in our country. I know that Miguel and all the Activists for Peace, Guatemalans, made their efforts for us to be taken into account.
For our friends who have already spent about seven hours listening to one and another speech: Good morning. Good morning, really, right? I saw some little heads…
Look, if someone from the public ... See them, see them, the person next to you, if they’re sleeping, give them a kiss, okay? Be aware of that kiss, of that love that must be given. That is very important, definitely. The Peace Summit encourages us to do that.
Look, when I heard my colleagues speak at the main table, I made the decision to keep my political speech for this event, and said: "I'd better talk about things that in one way or another have been happening in my country, in Central America, in Latin America and the world"; and it is the essential care.
And essential care is nothing more or less than a call, a wake-up call, from Leonardo Boff, my teacher; my teacher, and who 15 or 20 days ago was in Guatemala sharing with us, and said: "Look, essential care is key. It is to take care of ourselves, to contribute to caring for each other in its maximum expression, and to take care of all living beings.”
The human being is not the center of debate and the center of everything we are doing, it is living beings, definitely. And today I think that it is precisely right to talk about these issues. You have already heard science, you have already heard research about things we should do and things that are being done, and it came to my mind (I was writing some facts); it is no longer about laws only.
My brother and friend mayor, Mauricio (whom I appreciate and respect very much), is no longer the only madman, he said, in San Pedro La Laguna, the population has also joined in, and they are all crazy trying to have a new way of life in their municipality and their community, without using straws, without making use of plastic bags. But I am sure (he has not told me) that the entrepreneurs who produce the bags and straws must have come to say to him: "Look, what about us? Think of us." And he said: "No, first I will think about my community, my environment, and then I will think about you. We'll have to do something there."
I very much liked listening to (if I do not pronounce it well, I give an apology) Dr. Rajendra Pachauri, with his keynote speech; and he is telling all of us who had the chance of listening to him today and to see the slides: "The planet is not dying; we are killing the planet, and we are killing it ourselves, human beings. Human beings are killing the planet. "
And the words of Leonardo Boff came to mind, and he said:
– Look, Ovidio, I want to give you good news, and bad news.
– What is the good news, Dr. Boff?
– Hell does not exist.
– Oh good! –I said – You can do what you want here! It does not exist! There is no hell!
For those who are believers, Catholic Christians or evangelical Christians, today I repeat the words of Leonardo Boff: There is no hell.
"But there is one thing," he tells me. "Human beings, who are on Earth, and that is the only planet we have, we are killing it. Therefore, everything we do or fail to do is here; do not think about another life, think about this life.”
And I have it very clear, very clear, definitely. What we do or do not do for our lake of Atitlan, will be here, it will not be in another life; if we join forces, we will definitely achieve it.
Unfortunately most of the participants of the Summit will not be able to go to Lake Atitlan. Those who already know it may say that it is one of the most divine lakes on the planet. There are many, many places in Guatemala to visit, but one of those places is our Lake Atitlán, and Guatemalans are killing it.
Here, just 24 kilometers away, CUMIPAZ should do one morning ..., to go and reflect on this topic: Lake Amatitlán. We are murdering the same Guatemalans, definitely.
And it is no longer about laws. Look, our country, Guatemala, like many of yout countries probably, already passed laws: Decree 489, Law on Protected Areas.
Thirty three percent of our country, Guatemala, is a protected area; it is impressive, the whole country. Sololá is a protected area almost 70%. There should not be anyone living there; but something happened: We went to live there, and we like to live there (myself included), but we have not made rational, proper use of the use of that land, which is right in one of the most beautiful lakes in the world; and to our Lake Amatitlán, near here, at 24 kilometers, we are giving all the waste.
And a waste management law was passed, which requires all municipalities to build adequate treatment plants to make use of the residual waste; I think 6 or 7 municipalities have all that system. And it's not the mayors' fault, it's really the fault of all Guatemalans saying, "Well, we really want to have those resources for the well-being of Guatemalan society and the world"; and it cannot be.
A few days ago, I went to the world level and I see the island, an island, and they tell me that there is an island of waste that is bigger than Germany. And who threw...? Did it fall from Mars, from Jupiter, from some planet in the universe? No! It is the human beings that inhabit the Earth that have done all that havoc, definitely.
For scientists who study in some way all the events and events of our day, one says: 13 billion...
[Comment of an aid]. I have ten minutes? Really? In 10 minutes I’ll start a revolution.
Where was I? You realize? Of the island? Of the island that we have polluted. Oh, he reminded me, he was paying attention.
They say that this island, definitely, is not contaminated by extraterrestrial beings; and that's what I was talking about, of the universe, 13 billion years ago, and human beings only 300,000 years of inhabiting Earth.
But plastic bags were invented in the 60s, that is, plastic containers are only 70, 80 years old. In 80 years we have destroyed the planet in an impressive way; and I said to my good friend, the mayor: "Look, it's not just about laws anymore."
In Guatemala: Framework Law on Climate Change, Decree 7/2013, a few days ago. Government Agreement on Environmental Education Policy. The Ministry of Education should be including in its curriculum of studies, in its curriculum, the analysis of this. And so I could continue to mention other topics.
The Mayan brothers, for whom today too... incredible, but coincides with the World Water Day. Today is the 8th zip day (if I do not mention it, well I give an apology) waqxakib, the south polarity, element, water. Today, that 8 zip, is calling us to say: "Look, reflect on the water issue". And the experts have been telling us that the next wars are going to be over water.
But here in Guatemala (I do not know if in yout countries) a bottle of water costs more than what some neighbors pay in some municipality; a bottle, which takes 2 glasses of water, they pay more for a bottle of water than all the water consumed in their home, 5 or 10 quetzales I think they charge a month. 10, in San Pedro La Laguna, what a bottle of water costs.
And then one says: "What are we doing, definitely!" Mayan spirituality tells us that today is a good day for art, for joy. You have to enjoy it. Male energy, we are macho. Did you see how we left the two professionals after having explained to us, without being able to discuss the subject they had explained. We cut it, definitely.
Three minutes… I’m finishing.
The great challenges are elsewhere, and I totally join Dr. Rajendra Pachauri with his call to organize and unite us in the POPs, and POPs must be around the planet, definitely.
And I'm going to read an article from a suconnacional (I think) or from someone who wrote something nice that caught my attention, and that I did not want to leave out:
In Western science and Western philosophy, even in Western religions, we have always considered humans as lords of the Earth. We believe that all the natural world, all forests and rivers, all land and animals are for us, that they are ours and we can use them for our benefit.
Even ecologists use a very rational, scientific, and anthropocentric logic: That we must preserve the Earth and the environment, that we must take care of forests, rivers, and animals; but the reason for which we must take care of them and preserve them is that we can use them for the benefit of humanity; that is, forests are a storehouse of materials for humans.
Well that is superficial ecology. The deep ecology goes a little further and says: "The Earth is not here just for us; there are 8.4 million species on Earth, and they have both intrinsic value and the right to live and not be disturbed, contaminated and intoxicated.” Just as humans have the right to live, so give nature a place in every right; and recognie the intrinsic nature of nature is the main idea of deep ecology.
There is a tree there. The tree is good in itself. The tree is not good because it is useful for humans, it is not good just because it gives us oxygen or firewood or wood for the house, or flowers or fruits; the tree has an intrinsic value.
The river has the right to flow without contamination and without poisoning, without being a prey.
And when we take something from nature for our survival, that's fine. We must take it with gratitude, not as a right: "It is our right to use nature", but to take it as a gift of nature and receive it with gratitude; and we will return the gift by taking care of it, composting it, and not contaminating it, offering respect.
A thousand thanks for the opportunity to have shared with you.
Well, in this excellent panel of sustainable cities, a very brief reflection due to time, I believe that all the speakers (be it the indigenous area, the urban area, cities, constructions, rural areas anywhere) in territories, if it is an indigenous territory we have to protect the territory, the language, the customs, but above all, the defense of Mother Earth as they know how to do it, and they teach it to the rest of humanity, but those of us who live in cities have to convert from inhabitants and individuals to citizen but a new citizen a citizen who fulfills his or her obligations and does not demand so much rights.
The citizen that we have in the municipalities are those that demand rights, rights but do not fulfill their obligations is a new globalized planetary citizen that, as Dr. William Soto Santiago says, the land does not belong to us; the land is a mandate that we just have to take care of. Mother Earth does not belong to us, we belong to Mother Earth and the Earth is not a good, remembering Dr. William Soto Santiago this morning.
Therefore, we invite everyone to be multipliers of sustainable citizens, green citizens, ecological citizens, as ecological home. We have to see all the elements of the environment, water, air, fauna, flora, everything we manage in a more rational way, environmental rationality to have this culture of inhabitants that are sustainable citizens to reach sustainable cities.
I want to thank architect Mauricio Méndez, mayor of San Pedro de La Laguna; Roberto Recabal Cárcamo, mayor of the city of Villa O'Higgins, of Chile; Dmitrii Kharakka-Zaitsev, from the Izhora "Shojkula" indigenous community, from the Russian Federation; and Mr. Félix Ovidio Monzón, from the Guatemalan Congress, for having accompanied us, and we invite you to go to the audience seating to continue the closing session.
And I want to motivate you in this final phase to close on a high note. We have a keynote address, the closing words, the photo of all those who have participated in the main table; and then down here, for reasons of protocol, the photo that we promised with our Nobel Peace Laureate. That is going to be the final part.
And we want to immediately call the closing conference of Dr. Óscar Cóbar, National Secretary of Science and Technology of the Republic of Guatemala. He was at the opening ceremony this morning. I remember that our National Secretary of the National Secretary of Science and Technology has helped us a lot in this event, has been alert, has supported in every way. He has a scientific vision of what he has done, and fundamentally has a background, which we have already seen with the alliance he has with his technological projects that he has developed.