“Young people are unwilling to inherit this environmental disaster”, Doris Balvin

29.04.2019 - Santiago de Chile - Pía Figueroa

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“Young people are unwilling to inherit this environmental disaster”, Doris Balvin

We contacted Doris Balvín, Peruvian woman with a long trajectory in New Humanism and current coordinator of the Network Beyond Climate Change, who will participate in the next Latin American Humanist Forum in order to ask her how they are working.

Doris Balvín: This Network seeks to be a space for reflection and action on the human future from the perspective of universal humanism, which defines the relationship between human beings and the environment as an indivisible structure in which the harmonious interaction of both is fundamental in terms of evolutionary transformations (1). The Network arises as a result of the reflections that we have been sustaining a group of activists of environmental and professional organisations linked to the environmental issue in the promoter nucleus of the Network of Builders for the Universal Human Nation in Peru and later in the VI International Symposium of the World Center of Humanist Studies that took place in Lima – Peru in October last year.

Initially we promoted campaigns against the decision of the Peruvian government to relax the air quality standard to favour polluting industries and later we reflected on the need to address the issue of the global environmental crisis by placing as the axis the need for a paradigm shift in the relationship economy – nature and society. Our conclusion is that the climate crisis is only the tip of the iceberg of the global environmental crisis and that it has many edges that lead to the need for a change of paradigms i.e. of system. Hence our interest in linking among those who are working to change the system that deepens this global environmental situation and create awareness that being the human beings themselves that produced this crisis we can reverse it. In short, the Network is an effort to link those of us who have been working from our local spaces in the direction of changing the system to overcome the global environmental crisis.

The regional call to the Latin American Humanist Forum and the launching of the Network at the Latin American level has allowed us to meet in the virtual space among all those interested in the subject who have been accredited to participate in the Forum, both virtually and face-to-face. We have recently created a Facebook page that already has 464 followers (2). On the other hand, in Peru we have been promoting the realization of a Forum at the Agrarian University La Molina in coordination with the Environmental University Network and the Fridays for Future Movement (3), both youth organizations interested in seeking solutions to the global environmental crisis. The conclusions of this meeting will be taken to the Latin American Humanist Forum.

Pressenza: In what sense will the face-to-face meeting in Santiago, on the occasion of the Latin American Humanist Forum, be important for you?

DB: The space where the Forum will be held will undoubtedly allow the Network’s scope to mature collectively, which is why we consider it an important milestone. It will be a moment of reflection among Latin American peers. As it is a new Network, it will also be a space to get to know each other, to specify the frame, to define articulation mechanisms. We believe that it can give us elements to continue acting locally and at the same time thinking globally. In addition, it will allow us to create links for the development of joint campaigns on issues that we consider to be key. For example, two themes have emerged from the initial exchange. That of the environmental standards in the region so that they do not relax, due to the lobbying that companies such as mining companies are doing, for example, and the other environmental education as a transversal axis.

Pressenza: All over the world, the youngest generation is demonstrating in favor of these issues. How do you see the possibilities of continuity of the actions that can be implemented from this Network?

DB: The role of young people is one of great hope. For us it is clear that there is another sensibility in the new generations and that they are not willing to inherit the environmental disaster that is coming. Proof of this is that they have taken to the streets and are making their voices heard. There are also many groups that are clear that opening the future requires changes in our lifestyles and they are doing so with their practice oriented to the welfare of human beings and the care of the common home. It is with these groups that we need to link up and weave networks. We hope that you will be able to be present at this Forum. We are doing our best to do so.

In Peru, as already mentioned, we have been establishing cooperative relationships with the Environmental University Network, the Fridays for Future movement and the New Civilization Center for Humanist Studies, which promotes the nucleus of the Network of Constructors for the Universal Human Nation and which has been allowing the diffusion of the Forum and in particular the Network among the youth.

Pressenza: What else would you say to those who could participate in this Forum?

DB: That they are encouraged to participate in the Network in order to delineate together a different human future in which the relationship between human beings and the environment is one of harmonious interaction in function of evolutionary transformations. This requires imagining this future together and as Guillermo Sullings says in his book “Crossroads and Future of the Human Being”, let’s specify which would be the steps that in my local action I can advance with my gaze on the necessary interactions in the global space.

Finally, we invite you to follow our Facebook page where we announce the actions that different collectives undertake to change the status quo that lead to harmonise the relationship between human beings and nature in an evolutionary direction.

1 See conclusions of the European Humanist Forum 2018.
2 https://web.facebook.com/Red-de-Actividades-Mas-All%C3%A1-del-Cambio-Clim%C3%A1tico-256159702006015/?modal=admin_todo_tour
3 Youth Movement for Climate also known as Friday for future, climate strike or youth x climate is an international movement that instead of attending classes are holding demonstrations demanding action from the authorities against global warming.


Translation Pressenza London

Categories: Central America, Ecology and Environment, Humanism and Spirituality, Interviews, South America, Youth issues
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