Asambleas Ciudadanos


the Citizens' Assembly in the Southern Cone



II Popular Ecology Meeting

Translations : Español . English . français

SECOND POPULAR ECOLOGY MEETING: Defending water, strengthening citizens’ networks - APRIL 27, 2010 – SANTIAGO – ARCIS UNIVERSITY



This group considered that popular education is a key factor for the social and conscience change that we promote. This change is happening both around the world and on the continent, from which solidarity with processes and struggles on a Latin American level to defend water, nature and the preservation of life within community may be inferred. Upon exposing the cruelty of today’s economic exploitation, it was admitted that what caused the current state of depredation of the common assets was not feeling part of the earth, as well as loss of communication and everyday contact with the earth. What was proposed, then, was a reconciliation with nature from our spirits and a reflection of that attitude of respect in our everyday practices and in the defence of the common assets.

At the same time, keeping a perspective of unity within diversity and providing reciprocal help was considered key. In the face of environmental conflicts, experience indicates that it is appropriate to be patient and to always pay attention to action unity. The right attitude entails continuing fighting and not giving up. Our commitment to politics is understood as our task to change the established order of things, exerting territorial control while, at the same time, demanding respect toward the basic human rights in our communities, such as access to water and respect for the mother earth. Such direct proposals as the existence and creation of cooperatives of buyers who can deal directly with producers and the integration into Latin American networks in common cause with the empowerment to struggle against the system were considered fundamental. This presupposes integrating the idea of political, economic and spiritual power as a tool of change and liberation. Other initiatives which aroused within everyday struggles were working the historical memory, talking about our community problems each time, activities in common with various communities, and training workshops in various topics to strengthen the struggles and movements .


By definition, networks are exchange webs for cooperation and mutual support (partnership). They should not be understood as a mesh extending to both sides, but rather as systems of exchange and relations articulated between people in order to share knowledge, experiences, objectives, actions and common interests. When spontaneous networks get formed, for instance, to face a specific conflict, if this conflict extends through time, it normally losses support and capacity to provide solutions. That is to say, there is action but not continuity, which also produces an incapacity to bring out leaders. This is a phenomenon that is taking place in many parts of the world and that will continue happening. Therefore, the next step should try to organize the network, to make it stronger through everyday meeting activities: eating together, sports activities and, above all, productive activities of supportive or alternative economy which are very effective to maintain relationships alive (shopping together, organic vegetable garden cooperatives, barters). Other ways of generating trust are meetings, like this, friendly gatherings, get-togethers with other networks, taking advantage of each group’s experience potentials.

Proposals to strengthen networks:

- 1.Making a popular yellow guide.
- 2.Unifying the various networks to be able to comprise a wider web.
- 3.Creating a network to build another economy and alternative energy
- 4.Being open to barter.
- 5.Finding alternative ways to finance networks, as a form of presentation of joint projects.


The diagnosis made of what is going on has revealed that the media are completely unaware of alternative forms of communication and that their coverage is quite limited, that media are used excessively in urban areas (Internet),and that access to commercial mass media is difficult (importance of alternative media). This group valued music as a good form of communication that can easily be accessed by many. There are other creative forms too: video magazines, cultural acts, citizen interventions, etc.


- Using music, for instance, to design and make an environmental issues spreading and communication activity a reality: the First Human Rights’ Cantata, the First Water Cantata and the First Mother Earth Cantata.
- Gathering a wide range of artists to create works that will allow for the spreading of socio-environmental issues.
- Incorporating various native languages as well as languages of more widespread use to disseminate local socio-environmental issues.
- Mass media should focus on developing society’s critical capacities using simple, didactic and entertaining language (“if it’s not entertaining, it’s not sustainable”)
- Promoting, creating and recovering natural and human communication alternatives, such as: spaces to merely converse. These practices should be promoted, above all, when it comes to children’s education.
- Encouraging community mass media local identity.
- Organizations and alternative mass media should take into account strategies to develop credibility in society through practice and consequence.
- Mass media should promote links between groups and individual people working on topics of general interest.


This group’s diagnosis centred around internal education. They pointed out that, if we want to change the world, it is us who have to change first. Changes happen inside out, they said, and whatever manages to actually materialize first lived as an idea within our thoughts. This is why our own education – knowing ourselves – is key. Acting locally while thinking globally becomes a valid action orientation.

Group’s proposals:

- Working on different fronts at the same time, from concrete practices and everyday habits.
- Taking the challenge in our own hands, as interacting knowledge.
- Changing language to foster a paradigm change, for example: the concept of learning instead of educating.
- Problematizing current formal education and proposing education solutions in which we that options override what exists.
- Considering that integration with others is a necessary part of life. We need to abandon fragmentation in education and study from new and wider viewpoints which integrate emotional, spiritual and rational knowledge.
- Creating spaces to build a methodology, to answer such questions as: why teach? What do we teach? How do we teach? - Incorporating a new dimension - that of victory -, as a reality in our discourse, so that it becomes optimistic. Victory is now part of the present.







the Southern Cone Assembly ont the web

Visit the webpage of the Assembly : and the different blogs linked to its initiatives : the General Blog of the Argentinan team in Córdoba, the Blog of the revue Pensamiento Propio, the blog de la Regional Integration Chair.

Pictures of the 2009 women's meetings

Have a look at the pictures of the women’s meetings held in September and November 2009


Warning: touch() [function.touch]: Utime failed: Operation not permitted in /var/www/ on line 82