#Rio+20 – We must stop treating our rivers, forests and mountains as property…

“We must stop treating our rivers, forests and mountains as property.

And now, more than ever, as we face climate change, it is time to raise our ambitions to the level that science and the natural world demands. We are exceeding 3 of 9 planetary boundaries –climate change; bio-diversity loss; changes to the nitrogen cycle. Our economy is dangerously disconnected from our ecosystems upon which our lives depend and it must be said that we reject a false green economy.

Lastly, we need to look not only to the historic events here at Rio +20 but to the immediate critical years ahead. Friends and colleagues, we know we are in a small window of opportunity to arrest the worst affects of climate change and environmental demise.

In this great era of potential peril or promise depending on the choices we make now, it is time to listen to the voices of women and nature.

It is time to respect and protect the astonishing beauty and diversity of life on our Earth Mother and to realize we are in fact inseparable from nature…we are nature.”

~ Osprey Orielle Lake, Rio+20 Earth Summit

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The following post was written the week after Rio+20, as I sat in the mountains of Petropolis, an hour outside of Rio de Janeiro~

Utterly amazed by how helpless I feel without an internet connection, I’m sitting in Paradise to describe what I see, what I feel is possible in the aftermath of the Earth Summit, and hope that a signal will drift through to allow me to send this to you…

This place is called Bonfim – Good Ending. Here, in the mountains outside of Petropolis, the former capitol of Brazil, rural consciousness is beginning to grow in new directions. Food is grown here to feed people in the cities, while very few are converting to organic methods. Yet. It seems that Monsanto has bought all of the seed companies, and farmers grow their seeds assisted by an abundance of agro chemicals to attain the perfect looking crop. But as information arrives from rural University students, and this visitor, the potential for change is organically growing.

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The view is like Shangri-la – incredibly beautiful. But when one puts together the puzzle of what’s occuring just beneath the surface, it’s very sad. The hillsides are patchworked with fields of lettuce, parsley, onions, many types of greens. But I heard that in the night, you can occasionally hear saws cutting trees in the forest above the fields. In the daytime, you’ll often see illegal fires popping up here and there burning whatever is in the way of growing more cash crops. It seems that laws against cutting and burning are not enforced – it would create ill will among otherwise good neighbors.

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Yesterday I was told the story of a man who had to sell his truck to buy more seeds since he couldn’t make the (terminator genes) seeds he harvested grow. Since selling his truck, he feels desperate. He has to use a small car to transport his crops to market, making many trips, costing him both fuel and productivity. His is the first such story I’ve heard here, while there may well be others…

Today I walked with a mother and her two children, to visit a neighbor’s pristine site in the forest. As we walked, she asked me why I was so opposed to Mosanto, as she’d overheard my conversation with her husband last night. I explained that the hillside farms we’re surrounded by are using both the Monsanto seeds, and the agrochemicals that they increasingly require. Those chemicals are now in the soil, washing into the water system – the waterfalls, the river, that everyone downstream uses. She grew very quiet as she took this in. I reminded her how fortunate she is to live on a parcel of land that has natural springs of pure water, with no growers above her to pollute their land. I think she recognized a blessing that had been taken for granted before.

So while there are no quick fixes for this challenge (save give Monsanto, Dow and Cargil a swift boot out of Brazil), there is hope that the minds of our friends who believe that they must bow to these giants will change. They will discover that informed buyers will pay a premium price for organic produce (that seems to be what turns the tide) in cities. They will find the internal strength to take control of their own health by letting the earth and the water become clean once more, and not subject their young people to the effects of lifelong toxicity.

And, I sense it will be the mothers of the world who will be leading an Earth Summit everywhere, everyday, until we get this mess cleaned up.

If you would like to help our efforts to plant ORGANICALLY GROWN RAINFOREST TREES in chemical free areas, please, CLICK HERE and know that you are joining us, in creating sustainable solutions.

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2 Comments on “#Rio+20 – We must stop treating our rivers, forests and mountains as property…

  1. I felt dismay when reading the Rainforest ECO blog this morning, yet a certain amount of hope, as you Alana were there educating and seeking solutions for the land and the people who live from it. I hear of some counties periodally that have band Monsanto completely from use in their area, due to people like yourself who are dedicated to creating that necessary change. Again it is crushing to be alerted that the saw’s are still buzzing in the Amazon relentelessly, even with our previous and continued work to try to halt it, this making my heart ache. Thank you for being you, many are grateful for your continued work. Nancy King

    • Thanks for your care Nancy. Just want to clarify, this is not the Amazon – this is the Atlantic Rainforest, thousands of miles to the southeast, along the coast. Here the forest is already 93% gone. THAT is the heartache.

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