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Pablo Solon

Buen Vivir, The Economy and the Rights of Nature

Date:January 2014
Location:Bolivia
Topic:Green Rights

Pablo Solon, former Bolivian Ambassador to the UN and chief negotiator on climate, organizer of the 2010 World People’s Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth, now with Focus on the Global South, based in Bangkok, Thailand.

Pablo Solón is the former Bolivian Ambassador to the UN and currently the Executive Director of Focus on the Global South, an organization based in Thailand. In this exclusive Green Interview, Solón discusses the inspiring concept of Buen Vivir, the need to overhaul our economic system, and the hope and vision that is percolating out of the jungles of the Andean region of South America.

Buen Vivir in Bolivia

Buen Vivir is a concept that comes from the Indigenous people of the Andean region in South America. It means literally to “live well” or live in harmony with nature but how do we do that? Pablo Solón of Bolivia envisions a society “grounded on care for each other and nature, a society that seeks happiness for all and not profit for a few, a society based on a different concept of prosperity and well-being.”

Capitalism and the Environment

According to Pablo Solón capitalism and the environment are not compatible because capitalism violates the rights of nature because it’s based on unlimited growth on a finite planet. He says environmental problems cannot be solved in a capitalist economy because it’s based on profits from consumption. In the capitalist system material “wants” are never met: you always have to have more and the more you have the more you want and this is what’s causing environmental harm

World People’s Conference on Climate Change

Solón helped organize the 2010 World People’s Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth called by Bolivia’s President Evo Morales, to give the poor and the Global South an opportunity to respond to the failed climate talks in Copenhagen. That conference resulted in the Universal Declaration of the Rights of Mother Earth, a document that has no legal status, yet, but has assumed great moral authority because it reflects a profound alternative worldview.