This interview with Angelica Navarro (starts at 46:00), Bolivia's chief climate negotiator, shows in poignant fashion the rift between developed and developing nations over climate change.

For some, this rift is old news. While I had a sense of this rift, the video offered me a new perspective and I had the following reactions:

  • It was a revelation to hear such a clear statement that economic growth in developed nations comes at a high cost to the rest of the world. So few benefit, so many suffer. I would add that many in so called developed world suffer for this growth, but often for different reasons. Consumer culture is dehumanizing. To quote Annie Leonard at Bioneers this year when talking about the negative correlation between consumption and happiness, "we're trashing the planet, and we're trashing each other, and we're not even having fun."
  • Since I had this reaction, it made me think that COP15, regardless of its effectiveness in slowing climate change, may be a pivotal moment where many others get a sense for how our fates as planetary citizens are tied. And that earth is a commons that we must learn to share.
  • It now seems that Elinor Ostrom's recent Nobel Prize for her work on the management of commons couldn't have been more timely. COP15 puts the idea of the commons before the public in a dramatic way. Ostrom's work holds out hope to all who see the problem that a triumph of the atmospheric commons is possible. Our consciousness of the problem and solution have been raised simultaneously.
  • I realized how important finding an equitable resolution to climate change is to our mutual security. At the end of the video, it seemed obvious to me that continued growth of the West at the environmental and economic expense of developing nations will inevitably lead to social unrest if not terrorism and war.

Teaser thumbnail courtesy of Oxfam International.

Neal Gorenflo


Neal Gorenflo | |

Neal Gorenflo is the co-founder and board president of Shareable, an award-winning nonprofit news, action network, and consultancy for the sharing transformation. An epiphany in 2004 inspired Neal to

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