Mexico City, 28 of October, 2022 – After three days of events, the Cumbre Madre Tierra 2022 has come to an end. On its last day, the event deepened the themes of Social Justice and food sovereignty based on their inherent rights.

Dr. Fernando de La Fuente of Ibero University, reminded us about the importance of having discernment and these dynamics should led us to think more about the environment and nature’s rights, and how we are acting to our own destruction. “This is the only Earth, the only place we have to live.” Dr. Raúl Gutiérrez Patiño, from CENTRUS, talked about the richness of the meeting, where knowledge that is not limited only to the academic aspect, comes together.

The first panel of the day, “Rights of Natural Protected Areas: cornerstone of Social Justice Environmental” reunited:

  • Catherine Mariell, General Coordinator of the Environmental Studies Group GEA AC.. 
  • Pedro Álvarez Icaza, Doctor in Sociology and Jurisprudence. He is a former Director of CONABIO and a member of the Board of CONANP.
  • Damares Maria Vargas Vásquez, Magistrate of the Supreme Court of Justice of Costa Rica. Coordinator of the Institutional Environmental Management Commission of the Judicial Branch.
  • Miguel Ángel García Aguirre, Founder and general coordinator of Maderas del Pueblo del Sureste AC, and of the National Committee for the Defense and Conservation of the Chimalapas.
  • Epigmenio Cruz Aldán, Biologist, Conservation Project Coordinator at Grupo Libera. Vice President of the Mesoamerican Association of Zoos and Aquariums AMACZOOA.
  • Genaro García Icaza Abogado, Master in Constitutional Procedural Law, partner of the law firm Vera & Asociados in charge of litigation and environmental legal strategy.

Catherine Mariell started the panel and shared the challenge of the ideal representation structures for Rights of Nature –  she warned that some processes can be complex when they involve public and hidden interests – and reinforced the importance of the local communities to have freedom in their own preservation and handling process. Following, Pedro Álvarez remembered the historical relationship between ancient communities and the preservation of biodiversity. “We have to recognize other models of land management preservation. Mexico copies imported models and alters internal environmental resources. We need to learn from the people and change our legislation to empower the true guardians of nature”. Remotely, Damares Maria Vargas shared the latin american connections between Costa Rica and Mexico experiences, strengthening the idea of political pluralism with a greater focus on original peoples.

In an passionate speech, Miguel Ángel García said: “There can be no justice with nature if there is no social justice”. The ambientalist shared the experience of Chimalapas region, warning that protected areas are turning into islands. The biologist, Epigmenio Cruz, celebrate that the progress of education programs and the efforts being made in the protected areas, but he advised about the lack of investment of the government team to continue the work on socioambiental justice, sharing his idea that this area could have a better living, without depending on government changes. Genaro García shared with the audience the historical decision with the escazu agreement and the essential idea to horizontalize the law’s knowledge, defending a specialized environmental justice system – one that knows the issues they are deciding on. “If we have more access to the law, we have more ways to participate in the decisions that today are only with the authorities”, said Genaro.

The panel Rights of Native Corn and other grains: Food sovereignty based on their inherent rights. And Biocultural Rights: Recognition of the connection between nature and the culture of the communities and peoples that inhabit it as their guardians, included:

  • Ana María Ruíz Díaz, D. in Physical Anthropology and independent consultant in organic agriculture and permaculture. She participates in the class action lawsuit Sin Maíz No Hay País.
  • Salomón Bazbaz Lapidus, Member of the UNESCO panel of experts and of the UN Network of Experts on Harmony with Nature.
  • José Antonio Foronda, D. in Law and Professor of Environmental Law. Coordinator of the International Tribunal of Conscience of the Peoples in Movement.
  • Diputado Max Agustín Correa Hernández,  Local Deputy (Morena). National Leader of the Central Campesina Cardenista. Has supported and presented constitutional reforms to include the Rights of Nature.
  • Luis Arturo Carrillo Sánchez, General Director of BioPakal (Organic Agrotechnology) and participates in the class action lawsuit Sin Maíz no Hay País.
  • Julia Álvarez Icaza, Trial attorney. Part of the Legal Team of the class action lawsuit Sin Maíz no Hay País.

Ana Maria Ruiz explains how nature is a group of different energies working together and how the cosmovision of a culture works with practical and mythical aspects. “Transgenerational work is indispensable for our survival”, said. Ruiz also explained the Mexican maízes culture and production model of ancient communities. Salomón Bazbaz asked why people think that those who take care of nature are not in favor of progress, a thought that considers him a created farce, reinforcing the need to work in an horizontal way.

“Indigenous peoples are in the first line of resistance to save our planet. We are not the ones who are going to rescue them. They are saving us.”, said Salomón.

While José Antonio Foronda talked about the international commitment to food security and actions within this area as a human rights, the deputy Max Agustín Correa Hernández shared the new Native Maize Promotion and Protection Law –, also having the participation of Julia Álvarez Icaza sharing the class action suit in july 2013 in which they advocated the preservation of original maizes and against transgenic maizes.

“What we want is our right to food and the preservation of the original maizes. (…) There is no more transcendent act than to decide what we ourselves consume”, said Julia.

Finally, Luis Arturo recalled the government project of transgenics in the Yucatan region, reinforcing the action of the native peoples in the preservation of the site. “”Yuacan communities don’t talk about bioculture, they live it. They do it every day.”, said. 

Wrapping up the Cumbre Madre Tierra 2022 had the Seri Guard participation, where the organization of the event gave an special recognition for being Nature Guardians Representatives of Punta Chueca, Municipality of Hermosillo, Sonora. 

“After 530 years, we of the original communities still persist, still exist, still resist” , Oscar Martín López Fernández, Commissioner for the preservation and development of indigenous cultures in Mexico of the Federal Executive National and International Council of the Mexican Front for Human Rights.

“We come from one root” Edgar Ulises Torres Gastelum, commander of the traditional guard of Seri Nation