Rights of Forests and Animals Species on the Opening Day of Cumbre Madre Tierra CDMX 2022

On Wednesday, October 26, specialists and the public joined for the first day of Cumbre Madre Tierra 2022, an event organized by Earth Law Center Mexico and the Transdisciplinary Center for Sustainability (CENTRUS) at Ibero University in Mexico City.

José Antonio Morfín Rojas, professor and director of the Science, Art and Technology Department at Ibero University, opened the ceremony remarking on the contradiction of our progress in technology and our flagrant lack of conscience about the exploitation of natural resources. David Choquenhuanca Cespedes, the Vice President of Bolivia, shared in a video message that all the daughters and sons of Madre Tierra are obligated to change this current destructive state of the world, reinforcing that Mother Earth does not have an owner and that we are all stewards of nature.

We have to work for the Rights of Nature to not arrive late in our history, when we will have no more possible way out…Mother Earth is telling us her pain every day with storms, hurricanes, historical floods, earthquakes,” said David Choquenhuanca Cespedes, Vice President of Bolivia.

Rights of Forests panel

The first panel discussion focused on the importance of Mexico’s forests for all species, in particular the 11 million people who need the forest to survive (including 3.4 million Indigenous people). Raúl Benet Keil reinforced the importance of local communities’ participation and how we can learn about nature conservation with them. He also shared examples of jurisprudence for Rights of Nature in Ecuador and Bolivia, and explained how Mexico’s forest law tool that we must “grab with our hands and increase our presence.” Luis Armando Tolosa reminded attendees of the importance of the Escazú Agreement and reflected on Latin American constitutions, such as in Brazil and Colombia, calling for mechanisms to ensure accountability.

Concerning challenges of the forest protections in Mexico, Salvador Anta Fonesca discussed the importance of continuing to build this part of jurisprudence, reviewing cases, and continuing the work with local communities. He also added the need to strengthen courts and regulations towards industry and commercial authorizations to reduce deforestation from their activities. 

Rights of Wildlife and Animal Species panel

The second panel focused on wildlife and the rights of animals and species, and discussed ecocentric law and biocentrism in action.

Arturo Berlanga discussed how the Rights of Animals theme is not new, sharing its origins in Greece. Criticizing Mexico’s Marco Normativo (the regulatory policy framework) which he called “anti speciesist,” Arturo asked the audience why we protect some animals but others. “Why do we think dogs are worth more than a giraffe?”  

In a speech widely applauded by the audience, Celeste Jiménez echoed that animalism is political and shared the reality of Chile’s rejection of the new constitution, which was more ecological and, in her opinion, failed due to a fake news campaign. She said:

“It was the dog that was on the streets with the students when this revolution began in Chile. The great fights were fought in the streets and those who accompanied them were the dogs.”

Celeste Jiménez also stated the importance of adding “ecocide” in a criminal area to have powers when needed. “The day we understand that animals and humans are one simply because they feel, because they are aware, I believe we will start to establish an animalistic and ecological society, which understands that the rights of nature are also the rights of animals.”

Alberto Ruz Buenfil, former coordinator of the Ecobarrios program in the Coyoacán Delegation and Head of Environmental Culture of the state of Morelos, ended the first day with an inspirational speech about the idea of Ecozoica Era. “In the past, we made offerings and thanks for having the water, the animals, the forest. If we continue in this way, we will go extinct.”

See more Day One photos here.