The World People's Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth wrapped up its four days of non-stop working activism a little over a week ago. Located in the small Bolivian town of Tiquipaya, right on the outskirts of Cochabamba, the WPCCC was a collective effort to gather the voices of activists, indigenous people and the global community at large into a collective document. This document titled Submission from the Plurinational State of Bolivia to UNFCCC would include the People's Declaration Agreement on Climate Change and the Declaration of the Rights of Mother Earth. Static Photography had the chance to head down to South America to photograph this event which sparked a strengthened voice in the people's movement around climate change.
The motivation behind this conference stemmed from Bolivian President Evo Morales' lack of satisfaction with the deal that was struck at the COP15 conference in Copenhagen, Denmark this past December. Evo Morales, often noted as a president of the people, wanted to give space for the voice of the global community which was lacking in the negotiations at COP15. Morales has a long history with organizing the rights of the people in his participation with 2000 Cochabamba Water Wars and La Via Campesina, a peasant rights organization.
This conference was attended by over 120 nations and organizations which ranged from heads of states to global NGOs. The conference was split into 17 different working groups , each with a central focus that pertained to various areas of climate change and climate justice. These working groups each produced a final written piece and when combined, formed the final conference declaration. Parts of the declaration were read at a final press conference on the last day of the WPCCC which was attended by all heads of states, presidents of the working groups and representatives from all attended NGOs.
Like any organized event around a global issue this conference met a bit of heat from the larger nations who actively participated in the deal signing at COP15. Despite the grievances WPCCC was an astounding success for all of it participants and defined a moment in history in the fight for justice on Climate Change. Photographer Kris Krüg was in Bolivia documenting the conference and all of the global communities that came to participate.
Here is the part 2 photo essay from the WPCCC:
In Cochabamba and its surround towns, like Colomi, there is lots of colorful political graffiti on buildings and houses. From general unease with global politics to praise for the reform of Bolivia, this kind of art allows communities to express their politics.
Until a better solution is found for the unnecessary pollution of consumption, there will be exists field like this in the town of Colomi. Two young kids dig through the trash for whatever they may find.
One of the conference days of the WPCCC included a small press tour of the local village of Colomi. This tour was directed by Evo Morales and showed a personal side to the Bolivian President.
The stop in Colomi included a local soccer game with the local team of Colomi and the Bolivian National Team, which hosts Bolivian President Evo Morales as a player. The crowd roared to see their President play on their field.
An attendee of the World People's Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth livens up the central conference square with traditional music.
Climate change is having dangerous effects on many things including food production. Many times seeds will be the part that is the most harmed which can halt food genetics from being passed on.
There is a heritage seed revival that is happening with farmers' all around the world. Bolivia has an assortment of native kinds of potatoes that are reappearing in farmers' crops.
Potatoes, the Coca plant and various forms of beans are just some of the farm crops that come out of Bolivia. All of these are being affected by climate change.
These Bolivian potatoes come in all sizes, shapes, colors and even flavors. The high altitude over most of the country provides a perfect environment for farming this crop.
One of the largest environmental resources in Bolivia is the large salt desert that sits towards their southern edge. The Salar de Uyuni is the larges salt desert in the world and also contains about 60% of the world's lithium supply beneath its surface. Many protest have arisen around the drilling of this expansive salt desert.
Poster featuring Bolivian President Evo Morales and the benefits of the coca plant; a wooden device that adds in the gathering of salt from the Salar de Uyuni; artists doing a live painting during WPCCC.
A group of painters worked non-stop for 4 days creating a large scale outdoor painting. The theme of the painting revolved around the rights of Mother Earth and the collective need love between communities.
Llamas are a very versatile animal in the mountainous areas of Bolivia. These very cute creatures can provide their fur as yarn for making clothes, their meat as sustenance and their strength for carrying support.
Three members of the international press who were covering the World People's Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth for North America.
Just like the large variety of potatoes located in Bolivia there is a rivaling amount of peppers as well. Bright in colors, these peppers range from sweet to intensely hot and often by first glance, are indistinguishable.
Local vendors sold homemade food during the conference. The food ranged from traditional meals to this Bolivian variation on a cupcake.
With over 36 recognized Indigenous communities in Bolivia, the conference included a eclectic mix of attendees dressed in all colors of traditional dress. Each of the indigenous communities in Bolivia has their own culture, traditions and language.
More attendees of the World People's Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth.
Bolivian President Evo Morales held a press conference in the middle of the 4 day WPCCC conference to address any concerns or questions. The press conference was the first event of the press day to the village of Colomi.
Many press were present all through out the conference in an attempt to document the history of the WPCCC as it was happening. This documentation also allowed the rest of the world not present at the conference to connect with the vital information that was coming out of these 4 days.
There was resistance group called Mesa 18 that was a rejected working group from the World People's Conference on Climate Change. Mesa 18 addressed vital climate change concerns from the Bolivian people and its rejection from the conference took any national concerns out of the WPCCC's broader global agenda.
Mesa 18 held two days of panels and workshopping in a small building just on the outskirts of the grounds of the conference. The 2 day event was highly attended and perserved despite the corrupt mistreatment that can happen in global politics.
In front of the Mesa 18 building people were making creative protest gear, cops were preparing for the worst and media was documenting the whole experience.
Just on the outside of the doors of the Mesa 18 group and along the street lining towards the conference, there was a strong police presence that ranged from local police to full riot gear cops. With the controversy surrounding Mesa 18, the police were being prepared for anything.
A Quecha woman and her kitty companion sell local vegetables in the village of Colomi.
A female member of La Via Campesina smiles after the celebration dinner with Bolivian Evo Morales in the village of Colomi.
It is a rare opprotunity to be witness to radical history in the making. From a photojournalism perspective the World People's Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth was a colorful collection of the communities that all share the same goal for climate justice. From a global community perspective the WPCCC was the collective sound of everyone's voice which left a mark on the world. The energy that was harnessed at this conference is sure to carry over to COP16 in Mexico this fall.
For more information as to why Static Photography is in Bolivia, check out our post on the WPCCC.
For more information about WPCCC: