Back to Top

Planeta o Muerte! Venceremos! -Together We Will Save the World

October 9, 2010

1eb4dfe3c7e9ef342145677c31371c.jpg

Planeta o Muerte! Venceremos! -Together We Will Save the World

Last Spring tens of thousands of people from over 150 nations traveled to the World People’s Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth in Cochabamba, Bolivia.
Evo Morales welcomed the crowd with fervent declaration of “Planeta o Muerte”  (Planet or Death). Meanwhile in Oakland I hungrily read reports of the gathering of people declaring their power from the Global South.

I took these words as a call to action. I had to do everything I could to take care of this planet, our mother, not out of some New Age adaptation of indigenous worldview but centered around an understanding that all of us, on this planet, our mother, are in relationship to each other. Not only in relationship to all the people in the world but also in an interdependent relationship that connects us as humans to the her whole network of ecosystems.

When I was thirteen and in middle school I remember teachers and students, newscasters and talk show hosts talking about the hole in the ozone layer. The solution that was most popular and widespread in my social circle, in 7th grade, was that individuals needed to stop behaving badly and contributing to the deterioration of the ozone layer.


You can imagine how horrified I was when I watched as my friends and frenemys doused their hair, at what seemed like hourly intervals, with cans of Aquanet.  On the one hand I understood that the ratted hair, perms and crunch bangs were part of a particular aesthetic in the early ’90 Los Angeles but the sinking feeling that came over me when I watched an index finger press the hair spray felt like a finger on a trigger. I imagined the layer which helps protect human, and all other life on the planet, from the Sun being eroded with every spray. I didn’t know what a chlorofluorocarbons (CFC’s) was other than something bad and all I could think about was that the planet was in for a mean sunburn if we didn’t do something.

What I didn’t know is that I was focused on a somewhat dated idea.  In the late 1970s, probably before I was born, when the depletion of the ozone layer was talked about as much as global warming is today, governments across the world began to ban the use of chlorofluorocarbons an ozone-depleting propellant, in aerosol products such as hairspray and air fresheners.


News had not hit my barrio about the 1990 Clean Air Act. The companies and corporations that manufactured these products would be regulated to reduce releases of smog-forming VOCs and ozone-destroying chemicals (CFCs and related chemicals) in such commonly used products as hairspray.

Fast forward twenty years later to my life in the East Bay as a cultural worker and the call to action Evo Morales made with the words “Planeta o Muerte”.  Climate change is today’s ozone depletion- everyone is talking about it and I struggle to understand it.  Carbon emissions are a threat to the planet, our mother, and all her children. This time I am 33 and not 13 and I wonder what it will take to save us from self-destruction.  

“Over the past 100 years, the United States has been the largest cumulative emitter of greenhouse gases, according to data from the World Resources Institute. Together, the United States, the European Union, Japan, and Russia account for nearly 70 percent of the global build-up of atmospheric CO2 between 1850 and 2004. In the past two years, China has surpassed the United States as the largest CO2 emitter, but China’s population is four and a half times larger. U.S. per capita emissions are still much higher.”-Movement Generation Justice & Ecology Project

As a member of the worker owned co-operative Justseeds I embarked, along with Jesus, on a project to help lift up the work of an organization that we believed were doing crucial work to help protect the planet. Movement Generation Justice & Ecology Project immediately came to mind.  

Movement Generation’s (MG) core long term goal is to cultivate social movements that can lead us towards a new world in which human communities act as part of a harmonious and complex web of life. In particular, MG aims to help racial justice movements take leadership in constructing a just transition to equitable, regenerative and eco-literate local economies in the 21st century.
Jesus and I embarked on a collaboration with MG to help highlight their core values and the strategies that could foster the kind of change we need to save the world.

I want to invite you to join Jesus and I at fundraising party to support an organization that has really impacted our ability to understand our role in being responsible stewards of this planet we all live on. Movement Generation is celebrating it’s three year anniversary and it’s a cause for celebration!

The event is sure to be fabulous. There will be a delicious dinner and a short inspirational program followed by performances and djs.

I’m working to fill a table with my friends and I’d love for you to join me. You can buy your ticket online. To do so click here .Either way, let me know by October 15 so we can sit together.

Tickets are going fast. Details are below.
With every ticket you can get a copy of this poster and/or another poster being designed by our compa Micah Bizant.

ae5552e04c59ef9556016ee57665d7.jpg

Friday, November 5, 2010
Humanist Hall (390  27th Street,  Oakland)
6pm-12am
Sliding Scale – $50 – $150

A delicious dinner featuring the best of local organic farm harvests.

Live musical performances by: Invincible, Seasunz & J Bless, and Los Nadies
Keynote Speaker: Adrienne Maree Brown

Can’t make it? Donate by clicking here

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Radio 2050

Radio 2050

January 19, 2009

DJ Aztec Parrot and Elida Margarita Bautista of Berkeley KPFA’s Radio 2050 invited Jesus Barraza and I (Melanie Cervantes) to do a radio interview about our political artwork. We talked…