Bolivian president Evo Morales; photo by Alain Bachellier (source: Flickr Creative Commons)

The World People’s Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth begins on Monday, April 19th in Cochabamba, Bolivia. The summit, which is not under the auspices of the UN, is seen as the alternative to Copenhagen, with more of a focus on poor peoples, social justice and environmental activism.

In addition to scientists, representatives of indigenous peoples, NGOs and government officials, the conference will welcome prominent authors, academic luminaries and Hollywood celebrities. The final group an obvious and understandable strategy to garner valuable publicity for issues that were buried during Copenhagen.

Big names expected at the Bolivia climate change conference include heavyweights James Hansen and Noam Chomsky; author Naomi Klein, actors Danny Glover, Robert Redford and Susan Sarandon; and director James Cameron.

From an article in the Guardian:

In what is becoming the hippest environment meeting of the year, presidents, politicians, intellectuals, scientists and Hollywood stars will join more than 15,000 indigenous people and thousands of grass roots groups from more than 100 countries to debate climate change in one of the world’s poorest nations.

The voices of poor, developing nations were largely drown or shut out from the Copenhagen talks, where a schism between US and China took center stage. While much of the talk at COP15 was about money, there are other resources to consider such as forests and people. Perhaps the summit in Bolivia can highlight alternative environmental policy ideas that utilize principles of democracy and the value of preserving nature, rather than just permutations of trade between economic superpowers.

Additional resources:

World People’s Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth