I’m writing to you from Cochabamba, host of the “First World People’s Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth.” Last year, as the Copenhagen Conference was coming to a disappointing close, one of the few pieces of forward-thinking news came from Bolivia: plans for an “alternative climate summit” in Bolivia.
Four months later, I’ve arrived–and I’m joined by Marcelo and Paula from the 350.org crew, plus tens of thousands of people from all over the world. The stories we are hearing from people in Bolivia are are amazing–you can hear the outrage in their voices and see the hope in their eyes.
Today is the summit’s final day–and the 40th Anniversary of Earth Day. That means that it’s a perfect time in Bolivia, and for all of you around the world, to get out in your communities to Earth Day events. At those events, you can connect with people in your community to start making plans for the big Global Work Party on 10/10/10–there’s already more than a thousand events registered.
To build on the momentum from Bolivia, 350.org is coordinating “Climate MeetUps” to make plans for local climate action–you can visit this link to see if there’s a MeetUp near you (there are already hundreds of MeetUps registered, from Bolivia to Bangladesh), or register one of your own: www.350.org/meetup
And if you want to see more what´s been happening in Bolivia, check out www.350.org/bolivia
Unlike Copenhagen–where 350.org and hundreds of other civil society organizations were literally shut out of the conference–the Bolivian summit is designed to be radically open. Civil society and progressive governments have been actively working with each other towards real solutions and plans for action.
Much of Bolivia’s population depends heavily on glaciers for its drinking water–glaciers that are under threat in a changing climate. For Bolivians, this is an issue of long-term survival–and you can feel the passion in the streets. Cochabamba, a city known around the world for it’s powerful social movements, has exploded with climate activists – it seems every wall and roadway is covered with posters and banners announcing the summit and parallel events.
Out in Tiquipaya, it appears that the 15,000 people who have made their way to this sleepy town surrounded by (once) snow-covered mountains represent just about every slice of the climate movement. Indigenous leaders in traditional dress have arrived from every corner of the world. The stories they bring with them are heartbreaking: tales of their water sources are drying up, their planting seasons off-kilter, their very way of life threatened.
But this conference is about more than talk–it’s about acting now and acting together. Here in Bolivia, local representatives for 350 and from around the continent (and world!) are here participating actively in the discussions, listening to see what actions come out of this meeting, and beginning to discuss plans for how to get to work on 10/10/10, the global day of work parties.
Join them, and connect your community to this growing movement: www.350.org/meetup
Kelly, Marcelo, and Paula for the 350.org Team
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