The Meek Shall Inherit the Earth

Pachamama Prayers

The World People’s Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth opened officially today. Here in Cochabamba, Bolivia the event is known as the cumbre (summit) and this word is the best way to describe the event. Against the backdrop of the Tunari mountains, the college town of Tiquipaya hosts most of the conference events. Today’s opening was held at the university stadium. The capacity crowd heard rousing speeches from social leaders and activists representing 5 continents.


As the sun blessed us with warmth, dozens of indigenous spiritual leaders from various traditions from throughout the America’s opened the event with a prayer ceremony. Their prayers inspired this poem:

Smoke & Fire
the burning bush
the turning page
we will no longer
be your slaves

The beast which eats all it sees
will fall under the dancing feet of we
who be free
embracing all of humanity
turning away from vanity

To the sky our heads raised
our hearts open to love
what weapon is there to be scared of?
Kill the body
the soul flies free
to continue the work of liberty

Viva Che!!
Viva Kenyatta!!
U burned hot
we burn hotter

the smoke
the fire
blaze a path
Eden blooms
from Babylon’s ash

A brother from Friends of the Earth, representing Africa, ended his speech with a poem entitled, “I will not Dance to Your Beat.” I love it when intellectuals embrace the arts. This is where social movements get to go–cause it’s the art which enlivens as the intellectual message enlightens.

Faith Gemmill of Pit River/ Wintu and Neets’aii Gwich’in Athabascan from Arctic Village, Alaska, gave the quote of the day. “The people who can change the earth are here.” Yes, they are here, everywhere there are healers, scientists, so many indigenous nations represented.

The collective wisdom of the folks at this conference is exactly what is needed to open the door to the life we dream of; one in which no one goes hungry, no one is without shelter, no one is without community. Tears welled in my eyes as I gave thanks for being able to be present at such a momentous happening.

President Evo Morales took the stage and bust shots at the capitalist, empirialist monster’s insatiable need to consume. “They make the guns, then when the guns don’t sell, they make the wars to sell the guns.” Blocka–Blocka

One section of his speech highlighted how indigenous culture and tradition holds many of the solutions the modern world needs.He even got down to basics holding up household items to make his point; the traditional clay dish used by the campesinos (farmers) compared to the fine china of the wealthy and the plastic plate of the west (america), showing how capitalism wastes while traditional communities preserve and honor the earth.

He went on to address the negative affects of drinking Coca-Cola. “Coca-Cola is destroying our life.” (Bolivia has a soft drink made from coca . . .more natural alternative.) he went on to question western medicines which heal one symptom and then cause another problem, like asparin which helps the headache but hurts the stomach. He spoke on GMO foods like chickens which don’t get you full like the traditional ones do. Everyone laughed as the President described the various ways people are being conned by the West.

The crowd cheered as President Morales concluded by proclaiming the supremacy of people power, the power of social movements in defense of Mother Earth. Together We will Win!!

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