The People’s Earth Summit is big news this summer. As the “official” United Nations Conference on Sustainability gets underway on June 20 in Rio de Janeiro, more than 50,000 people from around the world will already be meeting to develop statements and agreements about how to live in a way that creates a sustainable and just economy.

Starting on June 15, global civil society, organizations, collectives and social movements will occupy a huge site in Rio in a “permanent assembly” along the lines of the recent Occupy movement. Attendees will engage in dialogue dedicated to designing a new way of living on the planet, in solidarity against the commodification of Nature and in defense of the commons.

Pachamama Engaged with Mission-Aligned Initiatives

Event organizers have put out the call to “come reinvent the world,” and organizations, and social movements in Brazil and worldwide are responding in droves. There are now hundreds, if not thousands, of initiatives that will culminate at Rio.

These initiatives are measures to be adopted at the People’s Summit, and to put pressure on the “offical” UN Summit to produce comprehensive, meaningful and enforceable agreements that meet the ambitious goals of building a sustainable, just “Green Economy.”

The Pachamama Alliance, along with many of our associates, is participating in several People’s Summit initiatives that are aligned with our mission.

People’s Sustainability Treaties

The People’s Sustainability Treaties aim to create a set of actual treaties that are drafted and adopted by the people of the world, not by the governments, as the guidelines for the way we humans will live on the planet. We the people will declare the values and principles for the way life will be lived, and then direct the governments to serve these values.

Already 15 treaties have been proposed and are being developed by “treaty circles” composed of people and organizations with experience working in the domain of each treaty. The themes run from Sustainable Economy to Women’s Rights to Rights of Mother Earth.

Global Alliance for Rights of Nature Petition

The Global Alliance for the Rights of Nature has developed a campaign to gather up to a million signatures on a petition that will be presented in Rio. In collaboration with Greenpeace they just launched a beautiful new video to support the campaign. You are invited to get involved!

Rights for Sustainability Campaign

A very active Google Group called “Rights for Sustainability” is keeping people around the world up to date with many initiatives that focus on ensuring that the Rio+20 Earth Summit will produce agreements for a world that is truly equitable. Jon Love is representing The Pachamama Alliance in these ongoing discussions hosted by IBON International.

Commons Coalition

We are also active in a coalition, led by representatives from the Global Commons Trust, that is focused on recognizing humanity’s shared dependence on earth as a “commons.”

The coalition has created an effective way of putting suggestions directly to the representatives of UN member states as they debate what the agreements in Rio will be. Key messages of rights for nature, rights for indigenous peoples, new metrics of progress, and the need to prioritize people’s rights over corporate privilege are being heard.

Eradicating Ecocide

The Pachamama Alliance is also collaborating with Eradicating Ecocide, a campaign calling for ecosystem destruction to be made illegal under international law.

In the view of Polly Higgins, the campaign’s founder and chief advocate, it is completely achievable to gather the endorsement of the 86 or more countries required to make ecocide a crime in the statutes of the International Criminal Court. Polly hopes to make this a key element in the deliberations at Rio+20.

Awakening the Dreamer Symposiums

We are hearing that there are various groups of Facilitators proposing to deliver one or more Symposiums during the Earth Summit in Rio. If you are a Facilitator planning to be in Rio for the Summit, or are interested in participating, please email Jon Symes, International and Alliances Program Director the Awakening the Dreamer.

Demonstrating the Power of Organized People

The People’s Summit will not only be a great event. It will be part of a historical process converging local, regional, and global movements organizing for a just, sustainable, thriving way of life for all.

Some of these movements are political, some are spiritual, some are focused on labor, some are indigenous, and some are young. All are active and committed to do what it takes to bring forth a new way of living on Earth.

The organizers of the People’s Summit (The Civil Society’s Facilitator Committee for Rio +20, or CFSC) want Rio +20 to be a transformative moment to address the serious problems that humanity is facing and to demonstrate the political power of organized people.

The CFSC is creating space for self-organized discussion groups, a People’s Permanent Assembly, and a showcase for organizations and social movements, allowing them to practice and exhibit experiences and projects that show how a sustainable and equitable society is possible.

Preliminary Schedule for the People’s Summit

  • June 15 and 16: Activities organized and guided by Brazilian social movements, which are in constant struggle to resist the impacts of major “development” projects.
  • June 17: March to celebrate the event and mark this momentous occasion.
  • June 18: Self-managed discussions and the People’s Permanent Assembly will begin.
  • June 20: International Day of Mobilization, with demonstrations that will send a clear and incisive message to the official Rio +20.

Activities and discussions will continue in parallel with the official UN Summit across town.

Given the open democratic nature of the People’s Summit it is impossible to predict the final moments of this historic moment. With so much of humanity’s energy focused on bringing forth an environmentally, spiritually fulfilling and socially just human presence, anything is possible!