Our time in Cochabamba is drawing to a close and we will all be back in Canada by late Sunday afternoon.

The People’s World Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth was a profound learning experience.

It helped me better understand the concept of Plachamama (Mother Earth), though it runs so much deeper than a concept.

It made me more fully see that the Harper government is truly an eco-outlaw and that we must find ways to stop the injustices our country now perpetrates.

It allowed me to see the pride in the Bolivian people who have held on to their culture, developed a new constitution, and stepped into their place in history.

It taught me that while local struggles may vary around the world, they are invariably connected by our shared respect for people and nature.

It showed me that hope, solidarity and even a celebration are the best responses to the most serious of crises we face.

It helped me see that the simplest gesture, our presence here, can bring thankfulness and love from others.

It made me remember how connected we truly all are by our need to live better, and not to consume more.

It gave me images I will always remember, like a police officer kneeling down to add to a chalk drawing young people were doing on a sidewalk when a moment before I was ready to be disappointed thinking he was going to tell them to stop.

And it surprised me that your heart can swell and tears can come at the least expected moments.

I am sure that I am not unique in these simple observations and that some of the thousands who were here in Cochabamba this week may be feeling the same.

And as we make our way back home, I know that the global movement to save our planet from climate change has taken an important step forward.

Nothing will ever be perfect, that’s for sure, but this came pretty close.


Brent Patterson, Director of Campaigns and Communications, Council of Canadians

brentprofile11-1 (1)

Brent Patterson

Brent Patterson is a political activist, writer and the executive director of Peace Brigades International-Canada. He lives in Ottawa on the traditional, unceded and unsurrendered territories of the Algonquin...