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In this third article we address real solutions to the crises we have been living, such as climate change and the loss of biodiversity. Contrary to the false solutions which we mentioned in the previous articles (in line with the neoliberal environmental policy that we analyzed in the first article), these actually act on the causes and at the same time provide new horizons for people.

In order to face the crises that are causing serious impacts in our lives as well as on nature, we need real solutions. Some of the solutions have existed for many years and are put into practice by Indigenous Peoples and local communities, others come from social movements. All of them act on the causes and, from our perspective , the emancipatory proposals of the people are built from collective subjects that have historically fought against oppression and exploitation and who have placed their efforts on the construction of popular power to deeply transform our societies. They are structured around the sustainability of life, as well as environmental, social, economic and gender justice, sovereignty and participation of peoples, as well as internationalism. They are born and are nurtured by the convergence of social movements and organizations around a common political agenda, while it is enriched and enables the formulation and articulation of a popular political project.

Some of their central main features of the system change are:

1. They are built from a collective popular political subject and from a class, feminist, anti-racist, anti-colonialist and anti-capitalist perspective
2. They vindicate and dispute the political arena and public policies for the realization of peoples’ rights, while working towards organization and self-management.
3. They dispute the economic sphere from a justice standpoint
4. They dispute the territory and reverse reductionism and commercialization, privatization and financialization of nature
5. They dispute science and technology.

Faced with the current crisis, the sectors with power tell us that we must build a new reality. However, we have analyzed how this new reality differs only from the old one in the deepening of the processes of privatization and commodification of nature. At COECOCEIBA, as part of Friends of the Earth International , we consider that a “just recovery” built on the basis of environmental, social, gender and economic justice is urgent and necessary. Such a recovery has to be focused on the well-being of the people and the planet and based on a perspective of justice that also contributes to solving the other underlying systemic crises. To achieve this just recovery, the following principles must exist: abandon neoliberalism and austerity and adopt immediate policies and measures based on justice, recognizing ecological limits; recovery measures must be based on multilateral cooperation and internationalist solidarity and be able to strengthen them; build and strengthen democracy and guarantee the realization of human and peoples’ rights; governments have to respond to the multiple systemic crises – pandemics, inequality, climate, food and biodiversity, as well as of care – and their structural causes, proposing a transformative agenda for a system change.

Community forest management (CFM) is a solution of great importance, it is a cultural, spiritual practice, and a way of life developed by Indigenous Peoples and local communities through which they manage their territories, achieving the conservation and sustainable use of Nature while benefits are obtained in the social, environmental, cultural and even economic aspects, for example. All these practices are based on a cultural and spiritual vision of what Nature is and what it means. The defense, promotion and strengthening that we have been doing of CFM, is at the same time, the defense, promotion and strengthening of ways of life that show that it is possible to live in harmony with Nature.

The concept of CFM implies the political control of communities over their territories and resources through horizontal decision-making mechanisms that include transparency and accountability to the rest of the community. CFM is not limited to a forest and the wood therein, it is comprehensive because it includes the adequate and planned use of water, sacred spaces and biodiversity. It is also not limited to political management, since it involves aspects regarding appropriate technology, ancestral knowledge, and community practices of planning and adequate use of resources.

In CFM there is an ancestral link that local communities and Indigenous Peoples have with a specific territory and the effective management or administration over it that the community exercises. This link is very deep and involves ways of life, energy, health, identity, culture and freedom itself. In turn, CFM helps us to strengthen the collective rights of Indigenous Peoples and local communities, prevent deforestation and degradation of forests and biodiversity, contribute to climate stability, increase community organization, defend and manage common goods, and contribute to gender, social and economic justice.

On the other hand, agroecology is another practice very close to CFM. In addition to the aforementioned, agroecology being based on family or peasant organization, helps to build more just and equitable societies by producing food under healthy forms of production, helping the rest of society to enjoy better health. In turn, it eliminates the large amounts of emissions that importing food implies. Additionally, it protects traditional knowledge and local varieties of plants that are of enormous importance for biological diversity.

All of the above will not be possible without gender justice, otherwise we will not be building a system change, which is what we need to overcome the crises. Thus, the fight and elimination of patriarchy and all gender injustice is a fundamental element.

If we really want to overcome the crises, we have to organize, articulate and work together against the causes. The solutions should lead us towards this goal, though in this article we only list two but; there are many more proposals [1] and real solutions based on principles of justice and equity.

[1] Ruta a la recuperación justa: reflexiones del movimiento ecologista en Costa Rica. https://www.coecoceiba.org/ruta-a-la-recuperacion-justa-reflexiones-del-movimiento-ecologista-en-costa-rica/