Is Climate Change Genocide?

Published on April 22nd, 2010 | by

Climate change and rising temperatures are widely believed to be causing the retreat of glaciers and lower river flows. According to researchers, that is what’s happening to the Andean glaciers. Evo Morales, President of Boliva, believes there should be an international court of environmental justice- and many Bolivians agree with him. In fact, Boliva’s UN Ambassador is preparing to present a proposal to Mexico’s COP16 to create an international court of justice.

Photo Credit: Gil Calmon Should Industrialized countries be tried in an international court for climate change?
Should Industrialized countries be tried in an international court for climate change?

Is Climate Change Genocide?

“There might be, there will be, millions of people who are affected, and may even die, because of those actions [pollution, etc.]. Is this not genocide?” – Pablo Solon, Bolivian UN Ambassador

The BBC profiles the village of Khapi, Bolivia, where the local mountain is visibly losing its snowpack and its rivers are slowing. Over the past two decades weather patterns have changed and caused water flows to be irregular.

“We are very worried because we have no water. Half the people of this community have already left. Those who remain are struggling with the lack of water,” — Max, an elderly Aymara Indian living in Khapi

The 40 families that make up the village of Khapi have already presented their case to several international forums, and their story is not an isolated incident.

“For the past two decades, we, the people from the Andean regions have been suffering because of the greenhouse emissions from the developed countries. We want those countries to compensate us for all the damage they have done to nature. We don’t know how to calculate the compensation because we are not professionals, we are simply farmers. But we would like assistance, and then to receive some money and, with that money, to build dykes to store the water, improve the water canals.” ” — Alivio Aruquipa, community leader from Khapi

Civil Society Conference

“The [environmental] situation we are facing deserves a new judicial system. This [Cochabamba] is the beginning of the discussion. The beginning of a very big fight.” — Pablo Solon, Bolivian UN Ambassador

When Copenhagen failed, President Morales called an alternative civil-society conference to assist communities like Khapi- it’s happening this week in Cochabamba, Boliva. Indigenous groups, NGO’s, scientists, activists and government delegations will come together to discuss the issues and put together a proposal for Mexico’s COP16 conference later this year.

“When we say climate justice tribunal, we are speaking about how to sanction actions that seriously affect the environment and have consequences for populations, for nations that may even disappear beneath the ocean. You might be on one side of the world, but what you do is affecting somebody else in another continent very far away. But you rather protect your profits than nature.” — Pablo Solon, Bolivian UN Ambassador


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