Indigenous peoples and other possible worlds

On 22 April, International Earth Day was once again commemorated. The United Nations (UN) website reflected it by pointing out the need to “make peace with nature”. It cited a scientific report that warns of climate change, mentions “development achievements” and stresses concern for the future. Paradoxically, the proposal comes from the same “rational thinking” of the West that, for centuries, called on us to confront nature with one main objective: the appropriation of Mother Earth for profit.

The UN proposes the chimera of transforming economic systems towards sustainability. “Everyone has a role to play in shifting human knowledge, ingenuity, technology and cooperation from serving the transformation of nature to serving transformation,” says the UN. It addresses “everyone” and thus avoids singling out those responsible for the “war with nature” (if we define it by opposition to the title of the report).

The same thinking that was characterised by explaining the march of humanity (seen from its logic) by “objective” reasons, today encompasses the need to make peace with nature by involving all of us equally. It overlooks the fact that it is this same thinking, this same epistemology, which developed a philosophy, an idea of man and woman as products of divine creation in confrontation with nature and not as part of it, that started the war against nature. There was a simple reason: to justify the appropriation of Mother Earth for their own use. It is therefore understandable that the UN does not investigate the causes of the climate crisis, because it would undermine the interests that govern it, the interests of the bourgeoisies behind the states that command the UN. For this reason, and for no other reason, his proposal slips into the voluntarism of political correctness.

The UN seems to forget that the pandemic showed how the dominant sectors conduct the war against nature. The causes point to the exacerbated development of accumulation, to large-scale food production concentrated in the hands of a few, the consequences of economic logic. Covid highlighted the consequences of the advance of capitalist society, which is heading towards collapse, and for which the global economic elite bears enormous responsibility.

“For the billionaires, the future of technology consists in its ability to escape. The goal is to transcend the human condition and protect themselves from climate change, large migratory flows and global pandemics,” notes a journalistic analysis. One example is billionaire Jeff Bezos, who is looking to develop a rocket company to colonise space.

That is to say, far from thinking about making friends with nature, the world’s elites are already thinking about abandoning the planet, which is increasingly deteriorating in many aspects, from the ecological to the political – with its growing right-wing political discourse on a global level, hateful, racist, sexist, xenophobic discourses.

From another logic and feeling, from the Indigenous Peoples and those diversities and pluralities, we should not only stick to the anniversaries dictated to us by the world elite through their organisations, but we should continue to build a world in which many worlds fit, where plurality is the common currency and where respect for diversity is practised, both in the human sphere and in the sphere of Mother Earth. This will happen if we resolutely confront this capitalism-extractivism-eurocentrism that even with the discourse of “caring for the earth” seeks to flee from it because of the deterioration to which it has subjected it.

The original article was written by Mario Quinteros, a member of the Community of Amaicha del Valle (Tucumán) published by the Pressenza bureau in Mar Del Plata, Argentina and released under creative commons license CC-BY 4.0

The original article is called “Earth Day, Indigenous peoples, and other possible worlds” and can be found at Tierra Viva: https://agenciatierraviva.com.ar/el-dia-de-la-tierra-los-pueblos-indigenas-y-otros-mundos-posibles/?utm_source=sendinblue&utm_campaign=ANTV_News_77

Cover photo by Jairo David Arboleda.

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