At the Venezuelan Embassy’s Bolivarian Hall
Washington DC – April 27, 2011 Environmental leaders met on Tuesday, April 26, at the Venezuelan embassy’s Bolivarian Hall to share their experiences and celebrate their joint work in protecting the environment, promoting social justice and food security, combating climate change, and fighting for a cleaner earth.
The event, organized by the Rural Coalition, ChecktheWeather.TV, Advocates for Environmental Human Rights, Live Green and the Embassy of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, sought to pave the way for activists of the nation’s capital to make connections to further work at the local, national and global level aimed at saving the earth. Additionally, the leaders sketched out future actions in the fight against climate change. The proposals, which will be collected and sent to all the attendees by the Venezuelan embassy, include environmental justice initiatives that will be implemented over the remaining year and through 2012.
“I think this event was productive. I met people that I didn’t know before. I had been able to make connections and build solidarity on the work that I’m doing and that others are doing. We were able to find commonalities,” said Michele Roberts, Campaign & Policy Coordinator of Advocates for Environmental Human Rights.
Most of the activists who attended this meeting participated in the World People’s Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth, held in April 2010 in Cochabamba, Bolivia, as well as in the UN Framework Conventions on Climate Change, held in Copenhagen in 2009 and Cancun in 2010.
According to Roberts, this event, which was co-hosted by the Venezuelan embassy, also allowed environmental activists to join efforts and strategies for a common agenda in the wave of the coming UN Climate Change Conference to be held in Durban, South Africa in late 2011.
“If we are all able to work together, we should be able to go to Durban with folks representing the United States, Venezuela, Bolivia, Paraguay, and Uruguay. Various countries that we’re representing in this space tonight have people right here working in the United States,” added Roberts.
Besides members of the environmental community in Washington, D.C., the event was also attended by leaders of social movements and human rights activists. “We realized that our struggle is bigger than an environmental issue. It is about an issue of saving humanity,” highlighted Roberts.
The deputy chiefs of mission of the embassies of Bolivia and Venezuela, Freddy Bersatti and Angelo Rivero-Santos, also attended the event.
A brief presentation on the experience of Venezuela’s “Mission Tree” was given by Clara Saraí Rodríguez, the Venezuelan embassy’s environmental attaché. Angela Adrar, from the Rural Coalition; Kari Fulton, from ChecktheWeather.TV, Lilian Molina, from the Energy Action Coalition, and Roberts also presented their experiences and work in the environmental struggle, and thanked the embassies of Bolivia and Venezuela for supporting environmental initiatives.
The photo exhibition “Faces of the Harvest,” which documents the participation of the Venezuelan people in activities centered on reforestation and the protection of Venezuelan forests, was also enjoyed by the people who attended the event.
From 2006 to 2010, Mission Tree has created 5,199 conservation committees, groups made up of people from local communities who organize to promote reforestation and to protect the environment. Those conservation committees include the participation of 50,000 people throughout Venezuela. Thirty-four thousand hectares, over 84,000 acres, have been reforested throughout the country, and about 42 million plants have been planted in 3,198 community, school and governmental nurseries.
The event concluded with a concert of musicians Maimouna Yousse, Patricio Zamorano and Vicky Leiva.
Press Office – Venezuelan Embassy to the U.S. / April 27, 2011