By ENS and Erica Snowlake
La Paz – Bolivia marked the International Day of Mother Earth, April 22, with a ceremony in the Plaza Murillo, the center of political power.
An ancient ritual shared center stage with speeches in which authorities in this Andean nation extolled the Law of Mother Earth – the world’s first legislation that grants to all nature rights equal to humans.
President Evo Morales, the first indigenous leader of Bolivia, is the architect of the Law of Mother Earth. Supported by politicians as well as nongovernmental organizations, the law is expected to easily pass the National Congress where Morales’ ruling party, The Movement Towards Socialism, has a majority in both houses.
The first article of the Law of Mother Earth says “Mother Earth is a living being” and that every human activity has to “achieve dynamic balance with the cycles and processes inherent in Mother Earth.” It defines Mother Earth as “a unique, indivisible, self-regulating community of interrelated beings that sustains, contains, and reproduces all beings.”
In parallel, a fair was held to raise awareness about global-warming and its effects, and the Bolivian-led crusade for nature protection. Minister of the Presidency Oscar Coca affirms Bolivia has the “conviction” to promote awareness of the climate change program in all nations across the planet.
“President Evo Morales says the planet can live without humans, but humans can not live without the planet and reminds the world today that the rights of nature should be equal to those we, ourselves, enjoy,” Coca said. The Morales government intends to establish a Ministry of Mother Earth to implement the Law of Mother Earth, which will establish new rights for nature, including :
* the right to maintain the integrity of life and natural processes
* the right to not have cellular structure modified or genetically altered
* the right to continue vital cycles and processes free from human alteration
* the right to pure water
* the right to clean air
* the right to balance, to be at equilibrium
* the right to be free of toxic and radioactive pollution
* the right to not be affected by mega-infrastructure and development projects that affect the balance of ecosystems and the local inhabitant communities
The law promotes “harmony” and “peace” and “the elimination of all nuclear, chemical, and biological” weapons.
At the same time, President Morales is set to announce on May 1 that he will be “dismantling the privatization model,” thereby expropriating privately owned zinc, silver, and tin mines. Soon after his election as President in 2006, the Morales government took over gas and oil refineries, all in a bid to have the government control the country’s natural resources. As a result of these policies, foreign investment in Bolivia has plummeted.