Magazine article New Internationalist

The Good Life Is the Realistic Solution

Magazine article New Internationalist

The Good Life Is the Realistic Solution

Article excerpt

We need to get concrete agreements that promote better co-operation between nations to protect land, natural resources and people. For the Amazon, we must demand that states promote legislation that strengthens consultation with indigenous peoples. These policies should not be a matter for individual countries but should be applied regionally, as a single strategy for the Amazon, regardless of frontiers.

We need to consider carefully the concept of Sustainable Development and the Green Economy. There is a contradiction within current environmental policies ttyat could lead to the sacrifice of the Amazon. For exampje, Brazil is presenting itself as a clean country which is developing green energy: hydroelectric power, biofuels and ethanol. But what about the consequences of Brazil's concessions to build hydroelectric mega-dams in Peru? The Pakitzapango and Tambo 40 dam projects threaten to create a 79,000-hectare mirror of water and would force thousands of Asháninka people from our territory.

Recently, our organization carried out a consultation with our people. We asked: 'What does [the indigenous concept of] Vivir Bien ('live well' or 'the good life') mean for the Asháninka people of the River Ene?'

Eight main points emerged: they had to do with peace, tranquillity, land rights and the right to education and health for our children. We believe that the mountain protects you and the spirit is in the woods. It's the opposite to the Peruvian state's vision of nature which is to use it only for economic ends, just like a piece of property. …

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