Issue - June 2010

June 2010


In this edition Lauren Rutter reviews the UPB's theatre production Dr. 0; CBA students highlight ways to solve the garbage problem in the city; Floriane Guyot discovers how micro financing can help to empower women; Jaime Bassett explains about sustainable development week; Rocio Carranza looks at why richer nations should take responsibility for climate change and Walter Sanchez uncovers the history of band music in the Valle Alto. read more...

June 2010

Not a simple question

Poorer nations ask themselves why they have to suffer the consequences of climate change if they did not cause it. The question now is, will richer countries step up and accept responsibility?

Rocío Carranza
Projects Abroad
Ontario - Canada

The solution to climate change may be simple, if all corporations and governments responsible for causing major damage to the environment paid back their debt, developing countries would have the means to create greener industries and have the ability to invest in more efficient and renewable energy sources.

Climate debt was the controversial concept talked about at the Climate Change Conference in Tiquipaya last month. It is just now entering the public sphere even though the idea has been floating around for years. With a panel of experts consisting of Matthew Stilwell, Beverly Keene, Naomi Klein and Nnimmo Bassey the discussion was meant to educate people on how repaying the debt would work. According to Matthew Stilwell climate debt is a debt owed by the rich to the poor for climate change. It is a debt owed by corporations of their use of resources to make their products and the abuse of the air and water to throw their refuse.

Using market terminology, climate creditors have been indigenous people, the poor who live in rural areas and future generations.

Looking at it from Stilwell’s perspective, Bolivia is a climate creditor and is owed by richer nations. Panelists stressed climate debt is not about money. It is about methods of paying back the earth in a way to undo the damage done.

“To actually withdraw emissions from the atmosphere to create space for oxygen, this is necessary to create space for developing countries to live well,” said Stilwell

Developing countries require a certain amount of energy and resources to develop to a standard of healthy living.

“It’s a reminder of reality--we have to find a way to let countries develop, without emulating the fossil fuel consumption of the West,” said Bill McKibben via e-mail before the conference.

Nnimmo Bassey a Nigerian activist, President of Friends of the Earth International and poet, views climate debt as a way to right years of wrong doings.

“Wrongs that have come about from reckless destruction of resources and overconsumption,” he said.

To Bassey, climate debt is not about finances, it is about giving underprivileged people the right to make better livelihoods and live in dignity. It is a way for polluters such as multinational corporations and big industry to confront their responsibility to the causes of climate change. They are the ones reaping the financial benefits while poorer nations are left to deal with the repercussions of climate change.

In the case of Africa, scientists believe it will become warmer by more than 1 degree and it has been the continent to least contribute carbon in the atmosphere.Repaying of climate debt must not be seen as charity, Lidy Nacpil of Jubilee South sees it as something owed to poorer nations because they are the ones dealing with the problem they did not cause. “What we need is not something we should be begging for but something that is owed to us, because we are dealing with a crisis not of our making,” she said.

In Bolivia, the Indigenous people of the lowlands and the highlands are already suffering from either droughts or flooding said Angelica Navarro, chief climate negotiator for Bolivia at the Copenhagen Summit.

Freelance teacher, activist and member of TRAPESE (Taking Radical Action through Popular Education and Sustainable Everything) Alice Cutler spoke on the subject of climate change and climate refugees. She saw that at the Copenhagen Summit last year, nation states were looking for a consensus on climate change but at the same time competing economically, defending their own interests as nations.

“If we see climate change as a symptom of a capitalist system that has to always keep growing then we can see why it is so difficult to get a consensus between nation states,” she said. Climate debt focuses on the capitalist system’s thirst for economic growth without considering the consequences to the environment.

Some environmentalists believe global warming is the responsibility of all peoples but some government coalitions in Latin America and Africa focus on the difference between those who are most responsible for pollution.

“The Maasai community [ in Kenya] does not drive 4x4s or fly off on holidays in airplanes,” said Sharon Looremeta, an advocate for Maasai tribes people in Kenya. “We have not caused climate change, yet we are the ones suffering. This is an injustice and should be stopped right now.”

United Nations researchers estimate the cost of shifting to renewable energy at $600 billion dollars in the next decade. It is not cheap to go green this is why it is imperative that developing countries get the resources to invest in this technology.

Bolivian president has begun to take the matter into his own hands, last month he announced he would be sending organic produce to Finland in return for new sustainable technology.

Later this year countries will once again meet only this time in Mexico to discuss climate change, having come out of the failure and disappointment of the Copenhagen Summit, the public will be expecting something more tangible.

“This is about the rich world taking responsibility for the damage done,” said Ilana Solomon, policy analyst for ActionAid USA.

Banda y Musica Popular en el Valle Alto

The study of popular music has been limited principally to main cities. In other words, it seemed that villages of province and municipalities do not have their own story or that their story disappeared behind stories of urban popular music. Nothing is further from reality. Popular music really had a powerful presence in provinces. The existence of “music schools” there demonstrated it. These schools not only gave musical instrument lessons; but theory, harmony and music history lessons too. Instrumental bands of different kinds were formed as well.

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