Another world is possible and we are constructing it, right here, right now. This slogan began with the first World Social Forum in 2001 and continues to guide this annual phenomenon. This is where 100,000 people from the world’s social and environmental movements meet, exchange ideas, celebrate together and offer alternative to the World Economic Forum in Davos.
What was on the plate for discussion this year is really fascinating. Most notably but not surprisingly, in contrast with previous years, everyone is now talking about climate. Specifically about Climate Justice, climate impacts, climate and food sovereignty, or just how freakin hot its been lately, especially here in the Amazon. I met with representatives from the Apurina indigenous community in Acre (the Western-most state of Brazil) They showed me pictures of their wells of drinking water becoming shallow muddy pools. There is a serious drought in the Western Amazon, and no relief in sight. In fact, scientists say that our planet gets 2 degrees (celsius) hotter, the Amazon will become a savannah.
A lot of people are also talking about agrofuels. On the first day of the WSF I witnessed the Global March of Women lead a rally on agrofuels and food sovereignty, then two indigenous rap artists from the amazon musically declared their resistance to agrofuels. There were multiple workshops on agrofuels with speakers from frontline communities from Latin America and Africa, and many too full to get in to. The negative impacts of the agrofuels boom on small farmers and indigenous communities is undeniable, and really bad. So hey people in the North, yup I’m talking to you… What do you say we step up our work on agrofuels? You’re in? Great, becuase this year we have some big plans coming up, and we need you.
Other central themes dealt with human rights including land rights, the right to education, and the right to organize unions just to name a few. I don’t want to write a laundry list of themes because there were too many. More interesting was the fact that there was so much harmony. People seemed overwhemingly post-issue. What I mean is that people were all digging on each others’ work and making connections and speaking about the interdependancy of our movements. Something I think we could learn a lot from.
Okay, nuff said. Though there is so much more to say. I didn’t even tell you about five Latin American presidents getting together here and talking about unifying Bolivarian style… Today marks the end of the forum, and the begining of our next adventure investigating a nearby palm oil plantation.
“Another world is not only possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing.” Arundhati Roy