Crimes Not Addressed in Rio
By Sister Ana Maria
We could go on and on with a long list of crimes that hinder social and environmental justice in the global, scientific-technological and commercialized world.
Hunger is a crime (this is slogan of a non-governmental organization’s campaign in Argentina). War is a crime. Pollution is a crime. Environmental destruction is a crime. That there are areas and people that are disposable is a crime. The gap between the rich and the poor is a crime. That powerful and anonymous corporations govern the world is a crime. That $156 billion come out of the coffers of the G20 countries and are used to help the crisis of capitalism is a crime.
A couple of weeks ago, the UN Conference on Sustainable Development took place in Rio de Janeiro, 20 years after the first such conference in that city. We are facing a social, financial, political and environmental crisis which is so evident. We had a historic opportunity to make transcendental decisions that will save the environment and humanity. But was it a gathering with good speeches and documents that hide the desire to continue the same practices, namely the same capitalism dressed up as environmentalist in a Green Economy?
The lobbying and presence of corporations was very strong and the absence of the great heads of state, i.e. those from the USA, Japan, Germany, Russia, is very suggestive. Strangely, the conference was rarely advertised in newspapers or on TV.
Ban Ki Moon, Secretary General of the UN, warned: “…to continue as usual, with business as usual is not an option … governance as usual is not an option either.”
At the same time and in the same city where the ‘People’s Summit’ took place, another global convocation met, an alternative group with the motto, “for social and environmental justice, against the limitation of life and in defense of common goods.” It asked that the cry of the voiceless in favor of life be heard. About 80,000 people participated in a march in the center of the city to express the urgent needs.
It was organized around 3 axes: 1) Denunciation of structural causes and new forms of expanded capital accumulation; 2) Solutions and new paradigms, 3) Agenda, campaigns and mobilization that well articulate the process of anti-capitalist mobilizations after Rio+20.
It’s time to act, educate, propose and defend alternatives so that violence and injustice do not become a natural state.
It’s time to build new paradigms: the democratization of the UN; a demand for the protection of biodiversity; the imposition of taxes on financial transactions; the creation of a new framework for trade; the production of clean and renewable energy; control of biotechnology; respect for the people’s food sovereignty; encouragement for production, not extraction in mega-mines; defense of the rights of Earth; respect for all cultures and promotion of good living, not just living well.
Sister Ana Maria lives in Argentina. She wrote her reflection in Spanish, and it was translated to share with a wider audience.