We are the daughters, sons, and children of Mother Earth. Before the civilization and climate catastrophe that looms upon us and threatens to consume everything that is alive on this planet, we have come together to fight back against the extermination of all life. Milpamérica resists because it exists.
FIRST- We are Milpamérica, a territory that existed long before borders did. A milpa is an ancient crop-growing system where we seed maize and our culture. Milpamérica is the home of the children born out of all the colors of the corn, born from gourd and izote and beans, born from tomatoes, sweet pepper, loroco, chipilín, pataxte, cocoa, avocado, amaranth, sapote, annona, jocote, nance, quelite, cassava and honey; we are one of the most biodiverse territories in this region of the planet.
We are Afro-Indigenous, Garifuna, Lenca, Nawat, Kaqchikel, K’iche’, Q’eqchi’, Chortí, Xinka, Ayuujk, Biinnizá, Nahuas, Ch’oles, Ñuu Savi, Peninsular Mayans, Kiliwa, Cucapá, Acolhua, Tzeltal, Tzotzil, Hñatho, Amuzga, Purépecha, Popoluca, Zoque, Urban Diasporas and over 40 indigenous nations that are nowadays defending their territories.
We are a 500 year history of resistance against dispossession. Our grandmothers were raped by colonization; our grandfathers were enslaved by racism. Every cell of our bodies – territories – spirits, feels the pain of trains running over jungles, of mining companies splitting hills in half, of oil drilling companies setting the oceans on fire. Every cell of our bodies – territories – spirits feels the pain of hydroelectric companies keeping rivers hostage, of inter-oceanic corridors forcing fissures into peninsulas, of eolic companies that leave behind nothing but arid land. Our bodies – territories – spirits are devastated by the pain of monocultures that drill through the forests, of megaprojects that dry out the lakes, of cities that devour entire groups of people, of religions that satanize our spiritualities, of borders that desecrate the lands with razor wire, of Nation-States that eradicate all diversity, of corporations that exterminate us, of military and paramilitar forces that invade our territories. This, our pain, is our last warning.
Mother Earth is being consumed by a fever that is out of control.
Mother Earth is being consumed by a fever that is out of control. Its symptoms are lengthy droughts, famines, flooding seasons, forced displacements and an acidic ocean. However, these are mere symptoms, not a disease in itself.
- We have heard that the UN scientists have declared a climate emergency. The reports they have written speak of the human influence on this fever we speak of. We want to clarify that 92% of the historic responsibility for this situation falls upon the rich: 1% of the richest among the rich pollutes more than half of the impoverished population of the planet. However, they insist on an infinite economic growth on a finite planet. Responsibility is proportional to privileges.
- We have heard that the big beverage, banking, automobile, mining, real estate companies, agro industries and extractive governments want to fix this capitalism-driven earthicide (terricidio) with unfulfilled sustainable development agreements and big green washing while 100 companies are responsible for over 70% of all polluting emissions. We want to clarify that our lives and territories are not for sale and the only urgent responsibility from Nation-States and corporations is to stop their war against Mother Earth and our peoples. Money does not solve the problems caused by capitalism.
- We have heard that there are new climate justice movements rising all over the world. We thank them for joining us in this fight for life. We want to share that this is not an individual struggle and it cannot be solved by green consumption; colonialism is directly responsible for this crisis and a long history of segregation and development explains why our communities endure the worst effects of this catastrophe. In order to face this crisis we must fight structural inequities together. Climate justice is justice for indigenous peoples.
- Ours are people who have understood the concept of the number zero long before the West. We have observed natural cycles to create calendars of great accuracy. We have developed interdependence and genetic selection that resulted in the maize system. We have created watering infrastructure that created cultures and agricultures, political and social systems that allow us to coexist with the territories and have the smallest carbon prints in the continent. Today, the heritage of Milpamérica represents 75% of all foods consumed worldwide on a daily basis. We are part of the peoples who are guardians of the 80% of all biodiversity that is left on the planet. We are living solutions to the climate crisis.
We do not need to colonize the space, energy transitions that destroy territories or extractive green technologies. They were men of clay, then men of wood, and now men of money. After one, two or three world endings they will learn how to show respect, otherwise their lineal history will cease to exist.
Our times are not linear, but cyclic. They are millennia-old stories being retold, reconnected. We learn from the mistakes that led to the fall of great civilizations. We have ancestral sciences that help us sow diversity, We have millennia-old teachings that defend life. Milpamérica has survived a 500-year old genocide, it has survived ecocide and Milpamérica will survive this colonization of the atmosphere that is known as climate change.
In order to cure this fever we are calling upon all people from all diversities to join Milpamérica and rise for Mother Earth. We make offerings, we ignite this word and devote it to the heart of the skies and the land. The time has come to be born again, to awaken our ancestors from their living dream. The time for ancient futures has come.
Before bad weather, we collect seeds
To plant new worlds
And harvest hope.
SECOND – All forms of violence are intertwined as they are part of an economic and political system that values money over life.
Milpamérica is one of the most dangerous regions in the world for life defenders. This enrages us and pains us. If we were to light a candle for every one of our ancestors whose life was planted before their time due to extractivism, the resulting fire would consume whole cities.
Last year, over 200 land defenders were murdered around the world. Half of those assassinations took place in Milpamérica. Those deaths were no accident, but the result of conflicts over land, the imposition of mining, industrial and agro-industrial projects that lead to pollution, forestal exploitation, green capitalism, hydroelectric and eolic projects, and other megaprojects and lootings that tear away the lives of our sisters, brothers and siblings in cold blood.
Genocide: we light a candle for all the deaths caused by famine and malnutrition, for the pandemics, forced displacement, floodings, fires, curable diseases; politics of death, and wars fought by armies against civilian people. We light a candle for all the deaths caused by poverty that has been manufactured and imposed upon our peoples by an industry of disposable bodies. Our territory has been deemed a sacrifice zone by the administrators of death. It has been deemed a big collectrive grave, a cemetery upon which the big avenues of progress and development will lay their roads.
Ecocide: we light candles for our extinct sisters: frogs, rodents, dolphins, turtles; birds, snails, wild goats, jaguars and other species that have perished during the last year due to the destruction of their habitats, due to pollution, due to the introduction of invasive species, due to urbanization and excessive consumption. 150 species go extinct every day and just during the last 50 years the animal population in our territories has been reduced by 94%. The sixth mass extinction was the result of rich people having fun playing war.
Earthicide (terricidio): we light candles and build barricades for our territories-bodies-spirits. We have come to know the dispossession caused by governments and corporations alike by many names: the Mesoamerica Project, Special Development Zones, Free Trade Treaties, Interoceanic Corridors, War On Drugs, and Energy Transition. The names and acronyms might change, but the logic they follow is always the same: economic growth and capital accumulation for the rich which is paid by the ecocide and genocide of our peoples.
The existence of a First World requires the resources of 5 planets in order to satisfy the consumerism they call “American Dream”. Even though our peoples are responsible for the lowest GHG emissions on the planet, all climate change indexes place Milpamérica among the most affected by climate change. The violences we face are the wires of the the extermination machine that puts money above life. This injustice is called capitalism.
We hurt for the skies,
We hurt for the lands.
Our common home is on fire.
THIRD – Diagnosing the disease. The climate crisis is a result of structural inequalities of a colonial origin.
This climate crisis fever is the symptom of a disease that disembarked in our territories over 500 years ago. We can identify this disease when people become disenfranchised from the network of life, when they stop giving their thanks to the sacred, to the land that sustains us, feeds us, cures us, and provides us with health and dignity. This is the disease of those who have lost their spirit and have forgotten how to pay respect to life.
The arrival of the colonizers meant the extermination of over 56 million people in Abya Yala. Over 15 million of other lives were enslaved, sold and forcibly taken from Africa, reduced to mere trading goods. Jungles and forests were replaced by monoculture and big metropolis were swollen. Whole hills were looted. The colonizers took so much gold, silver and precious stones that their ships would sink in the middle of the Atlantic just like cities are now being sunk by the rising of sea levels.
The heirs of those fortunes gained by gunpowder and blood created narratives. They spoke of State, frontiers and armies to normalize social disparities. Due to racism, classism, colonialism, capitalism and patriarchy, it is those same families who now continue to grow richer thanks to the extermination of Milpamérica. They now own international corporations, they have now become presidents, politicians, people who run multinational agencies. They now wear green suits and pretend to sell us solutions to the problems they themselves have caused.
Before the imminent global catastrophe, the new colonizers seek ways to retain their privileges. They have now spent 26 Climate Change Conferences pretending to solve this problem with Carbon Markets, Sustainable Development Goals, with the Treaty of Paris or the Net Zero Initiative. They have framed green development as the only viable solution despite the fact that their own scientists have proven that the models that sustain an infinite consumption are not viable. Ever since 1992, the GHG emissions have increased by 65%. There are no reductions, just compensations to keep on polluting.
Ajq’ijab’ K’iche elders want to remind us to ask ourselves if what we’re seeing now are diseases or consequences. A holistic diagnostic of climate fever would show the obvious: we cannot cure a 500 year old disease with Carbon Credits, hydroelectric companies that dry out the rivers, with electric cars that require mining. Any viable solution must question the economic growth model and its accumulation scheme. Any viable solution must confront the systems of inequality that are currently in place and must heal the colonial wound.
We can keep waiting for governments and corporations to hold themselves accountable and fix this crisis, but that would be a sentence for our own extermination. What good is money to “mitigate”, “finance” and “adapt” if we don’t stop the war against people against Mother Earth?
Poison is not Medicine.
Our knowledges are rivers
That ails the fever.
FOURTH – Living, organized solutions to re-establish our connection among biomes and the fights in defense of land. We are cycles of planting, of celebration, and of resistance.
We are mountain ranges, valleys, forests, rivers, gulfs, coasts and seas; we are high, snowed mountains that hold fire inside them, freshwater lakes, cenotes, jungles, swamps and mangroves. We are live territories with roots so deep they reach the stars.
We are families that hold dialects, languages, songs, embroideries, stories. We are multiple ways to organize life, to plant justice. We are music and poetry, we are sexual diversity; we are ancestral technologies and current realities that are as complex as they are contradictory. Our past may have been ripped away from us, but our memory was not lost. We are a free internet, an urban vegetable patch, and cement-shattering roots.
We acknowledge that our struggles are a part of the cycle of life. Some of them are paths on the land; some others are thirteen seeds, a sugarcane that seeks out for the sun, a bean that nurtures the land. Some others are pollinators, wild quelite, and multicolored corn. Many of us are a rain that pours down long and hard, we are hands that harvest, we are crosses made of marigold, freshly made tortillas. We are a collective party that takes over the whole town, we are banda music, marimba, drums and son, we are a long starry night that watches over us as we dance into the dawn. Each one of us can see herself in others through our differences, but we know we cannot exist without the rest of us.
This is why we have come together like mycorrhizae do. We have learned from the networks and the roots that branching out, rather than becoming centralized, is the answer. We are individuals that have come to heal in a community, heal with fire, prayer and plants, we have become intertwined all across Milpamérica. We are peoples whose deep links with the lands know of no borders, even when sometimes we ourselves are in conflict and resolution in a collective assembly.
What the colonial language can only refer to as indigenous emcompasses a wide array of diversities that colonialism and capitalism have not been able to devour. We plant multiple futures where we heal our ancestrality in order to inhabit our territories with dignity, in order to make the 40 nations that compose Milpamérica bloom.
What the scientists all over the world have declared a climate emergency is nothing but the warning made by our grandmothers and grandfathers hundreds of years ago. This climate, social, political, economic and spiritual crisis that threatens us all today, in all corners of the world, can only be faced through the coming together of all of those who state that nature is a condition of existence.
The future is a territory
That must be defended
That must be made to bloom.
FIFTH – Cure Of the earth and re-enchant the hearts. Body-.territory.-spirit intertwined like the fabric that connects us with the network of life.
Before bad weather, justice is planted, looked after, and then harvested. Justice is a collective endeavor nurtured by all the people who resist and the persons who fight against extermination. Justice is healing for the earth..
Climate justice for all people means stopping the current ecocide and genocide, means defending those who are defending the territories, means taking the stolen land back, reclaiming ancestral science. Climate justice means planting a maize, going back to the cyclic times, to the celebration of life, to organizing parties for our neighborhoods and communities. Climate justice means solidarity with all displaced people, means creating our own means, means redistribution of food, it means planting forests, it means defending all the colors of our diversity. Climate justice means making autonomies stronger, it means saying no to green capitalism. It means shutting down oil, it means finding those of us who have been made to disappear. Climate justice means to stop militarization, to derail megaprojects, to stop the mining companies, it means to annul the concessions, to shut down the beverage companies. Climate justice means to set the rivers free, to rise up for Mother Earth. Climate justice means justice for all people.
This is our melody-turned-fight. Our languages are songs that become intertwined, songs that resonate beyond borders. We don’t seek unity, but a never-ending amount of ways to organize and reproduce life. We face structural inequity and oppression systems. We learn from the maize to tend to our own diversity, interdependence, and life cycles. We heal the body-territory-spirit because that is the thread that embroiders us into the quilt of life.
There is enough water, food and land for all people and forms of life to coexist with dignity in this territory we call Milpamérica, in this common house we call Earth. We still have time to regenerate those life systems to which our future is linked. However, that change must be radical because we don’t want to go back to normal after each crisis. We want to go back to the land.
Therefore, we call upon:
- The people in resistance in Milpamérica to re-interpret this declaration from their own knowledge in order to braid a territory far beyond borders.
- The people of all diversities claim this declaration as their own and join our collective resistance in the defense of life and territory.
- The climate justice movement to create spaces to reflect, organize and act upon climate justice with no intermediaries in order to center living solutions.
- All other territories to organize in order to break structural inequities, strengthen autonomies and plant narratives that aid with the defense of life.
The fight for Mother Earth
Is the mother of all fights.
October 12, 2022.
Firma la Declaración Milpamérica Resiste
Lab de Hackeo Cultural
Como parte del laboratorio narrativo #MilpaméricaResiste, defensoras y defensores del territorio de México, Guatemala, Honduras y El Salvador co-creamos acciones de comunicación para sembrar narrativas en defensa de la vida y del territorio. Conócelas y súmate.
Sanamos con nuestro territorio curando la fiebre de la madre tierra, mucho antes de que intentaran inventar máquinas para “salvarla”. Con la milpa, el cuidado del río, de nuestras lenguas, de nuestras semillas, recuperando nuestra identidad #CuramosLaFiebre.
Somos pueblos ancestrales, somos vida y territorio, nuestros saberes son agua que apaga la fiebre de la madre tierra.
Para curar la fiebre, exploramos ¿cuáles son los colores de nuestra diversidad si nuestra piel es color tierra? Desnudamos sin pudor la sensualidad de de nuestras cuerpas - territorias - espíritus... pero también cómo aliviar la fiebre de la Madre Tierra. Ante el monocultivo de ideas, resistencia epistémica.
Las soluciones ante la crisis actual están en los pueblos quienes dignificamos la tierra. Ante la voracidad de las empresas extractivas que acumulan riqueza a costa de la precarización de la vida, los pueblos creamos mundos autónomos con respeto y los conocimientos de nuestros ancestros.
Por más de 500 años los pueblos indígenas, afro y diaspóricas somos resguardo, protección y solución a la crisis climática. La naturaleza tiene capacidad de mantenerse a sí misma, de regenerarse y cuidarse, ella nos ayuda a vivir, los pueblos reconocemos esa reciprocidad de vida. Eso que ellos quieren llamar desarrollo, que crean a través de megaproyectos de infraestructura, es en realidad nuestra vida digna en peligro, forjada en las relaciones antipatriarcales que hemos aprendido de nuestra ancestralidad.