While the Rio+20 official UN Summit is fast turning into a dead space where world leaders are allowing the earth to hurtle down dangerous paths, on the other side of the city, the People’s Summit (called the Cúpula dos Povos in Portuguese) continues to be a vibrant, living space.
Yesterday, 21st June, 2012, the Cúpula held its Assembly where they presented the solutions of the people, by the people to the multiple planetary crises.
Tens of thousands of people have been gathering at the Cúpula space since the 15th of June to decide for themselves on the ‘future we want’ rather that the broken promises provided by the official summit.
In the last few days, the People’s Summit has convened 5 major Plenaries on the Rights for Social and Environmental Justice; Defense of Common Goods, Against Commodification of Nature; Food Sovereignty; Energy and Extractives; and Labour for Another Economy and New Paradigms of Society.
In each of these plenaries, people gathered from all corners of the globe talked about structural causes of planetary crises, the false solutions being pushed by governments, corporations and the UN, the people’s solutions instead and the strategies for moving ahead. All these ideas then converged at 3 major Assemblies, such as the one yesterday on People’s Solutions. The last Grand Assembly will be held today at the People’s Space to mark the end of the People’s Summit and the beginning of a long process of building grassroots movements and struggles to protect the planet.
Friends of the Earth International has been involved since the beginning of the planning process of the People’s Summit, and continued to be intimately involved in not only the facilitation of the plenaries but also the systematization, meaning capturing the essence of all the speakers and preparing the documents including the declaration of the People’s Summit.
I have been involved in the systematization of the Energy & Extractives Plenary. It was a privilege to listen to and be moved by the strength of the communities affected by polluting mines, fossil fuel extractions and processing, dams, land and resource grabs, and dirty Brazilian companies such as Vale in places such as Mozambique and Chile. As a companera (comrade sister) from Latin America said, this is a life-and-death situation for many communities across the globe. The accumulation of capital and unending greed of the 1% of the world is holding the other 99% hostage. I participated in the organisers’ process that synthesised the words of the people speaking in the Energy & Extractives plenary, and created our vision of our future.
Even though the official Rio+20 Summit is dead and has completely let down the planet and our future generations, FOEI feels invigorated by participating in the alive People’s Space and we vow to continue the struggles and the efforts to build the global environmental justice movement.
By Dipti Bhatnagar
Co-Coordinator, Climate Justice & Energy Program
Friends of the Earth International