Friday, February 11, 2011

Mexico - here we come!

It was the 25th of November 2010, just some days left until the beginning of the COP16, the Climate Change Conference in Cancun, when we walked over the bridge into Mexico!!! Thousands of people helped us wherever we came, more than 330 vehicles gave us a ride and it took us almost a year to cover the 24 000km from The Hague, Netherlands, crossing Europe, Africa, the Atlantic Ocean and finally a big part of Latin America to get here. Thanks to the people our dream came true and “The Journey of Humanity” became reality, shifted our mind, opened our hearts and showed us how good and precious humans are by nature.
Our hearts were jumping, we were jumping too, smiling, talking to Mexican strangers because we were so looking forward to feel “home” again, for none of the four of us it was the first time that we got to Mexico and we were missing our Mexican brothers and sisters a lot. But indeed it was the first time that we came on the land way to Mexico and crossing the border was easy. The customs were really relaxed and when we told them that we made this journey to get to Mexico they where laughing and were happy for us - 180 days of stay, that's normal and not without a reason. The beautiful and magic Maya country is with almost 20 Million tourist per year one of the favorite tourist destinations worldwide. A normal tourist spends between 30$ and 150$ per day, so each day is profit, each day means cash-flow for hotels, restaurants, bars, transport and so for the whole economy as such!
Before crossing the Atlantic Ocean, while we were still looking for a sailing boat in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Canary Islands, we found a flag of Mexico in the trash, a sign of destiny that we will get there! We carried the flag all the 15 000km to celebrate with it on our arrival. Then at the boarder from Belize to Mexico, two military guys approached us and told us that it is forbidden to play with the flag like this, and furthermore we were not allowed to just put the flag into the backpack again. First they showed us how to fold the national pride correctly and they explained that you have to finish the folding with the green part on top, because Mexico is not involved in any war at the moment. Even if the Mexican war on Drug is not an official war, it demands more and more lives every year. In 2006 less than 70 people died, meanwhile the number altered to more than 15 000 in 2010, this sums up to a total of more than 35 000 humans who have been killed since Mexican President Calderon started the war against the cartels all over the country. More than 70% of all drugs imported into the US, the main consumer of legal and illegal drugs in the world, come from Mexican narcotics traffickers. The war costs many lives, but it is a huge business especially for the US, because they sell weapons, munition, cars, helicopters and much more to the “good” and “bad” guys.
Finally we were hitchhiking in beloved Mexico, the strong sun was warming our bodies and the feeling of

reaching our goal was tremendous. We reached the first big city, Chetumal and also the Mexican fireman did not disappoint us and let us sleep at their fire station.
The next day we started to ask cars directly in front of the fire department and an instant later the air blows into our happy faces on the back of a Pickup. One of the drivers was a young well-dressed Walmart employee who was happy about his new job in one of the biggest supermarket chains in Mexico with almost 3000 stores, he works like most Latinos six days per week, his salary is better than average, but still low compared to the profit the biggest company in the world gets for their stockholders. The sun was burning and only Nieves was standing on the road, thumbs up, but also their energy was low because after they were running and talking to two cars they just wanted to take the girls. Not all men were thinking like the two car drivers before, so finally we could sit again all together inside a car. Later a friendly young man took us all the way to Playa del Carmen, Cancun's smaller brother, one of the fastest

growing cities in Mexico where the party never ends and the stream of new tourist never stops. We were a little bit shocked about the Mexican’s disinterest for the Climate Conference, even if the media talked and wrote about COP16. It seemed that even if it was the first time for Mexico to hold the Conference of the Parties, that the whole idea about ecology was far away from their concern.
Our friendly Mexican driver invited us to sleep in his place, a huge complex of rich people who mostly not even use their apartment and thus also not the garden with jacuzzi and three swimming pools. The whole area was protected and cleaned by an army of service hands, a big wall around the privileged ones lets them feel safe and good, far away from thefts, crime, homeless people and everything else what the rich rather do not want to have close to them. The luxury apartments were build within the protection of mangroves, in the middle of nowhere, quiet and with a somewhat ghost-house like atmosphere.
In the night we joined our host for a small BBQ party and everybody was really surprised when we went nearby to one of the big Malls, who are spreading like a disease all over Latin America, to come back with delicious, fresh and even still warm food which would have found its way in the bin without us saving it!
We were now only 1-2 hour hitchhiking away from Cancun and on the way we noted the massive presence of military who “protected” the diplomats, NGO-workers, UN-officials and many more in their safe heaven some Kilometers away from the highway. The official hotel from the COP16 was the Moonpalace, a five star Hotel also constructed where the precious and important mangroves were growing before. The Mexican government even build a traffic diverting bridge at the entrance street to the air conditioned conference rooms of the “important” people, with the explanation that was security could be even better guaranteed. Everything seemed a little bit ridiculous, but then it got even worst, getting closer to the fair which had his own wind turbine to produce “clean” and “sustainable” energy, we discovered

huge billboards with messages of CocaCola, car companies and other really destructive corporations claiming that they would do something good for the nature with words like: “sustainable”, “saves the planet”, “ecology” etc. Fortunately we also noticed that on each rear window of the Taxis as well as on billboards a huge “Go Veg and Save the Planet” campaign was promoted for a real change in order to save the planet. Since the livestock industry is responsible for more than 50% of world-wide green house gases, each individual can really make the differences by changing ones diet to a Vegetarian or Vegan one.We passed various military and police checkpoints until we finally reached the Hotel area, a more than 40 Kilometer street with the biggest hotels we have seen during the journey. Completely burned from the sun, some US-Americans walked on the empty side-walk, whereas the majority uses taxis or worst not even leave their all-inclusive Hotels. Poor Mexicans are working often more than 60 hours per week to clean and cook for the luxury Hotels, their salary is minimum and the benefit for the owners maximum. It is the system which works all over the world in the same way because there are enough impoverished people who are just waiting for a job.

That keeps salaries low and pressures the ones who are “lucky” to earn at least enough to pay their rent, food and transport. Behind the endless “wall” of Hotels we could just imagine the marvelous turquoise water with white beaches, more and more hotels are opening and already today there are around 30 five-

star hotels running. We finally reached our destination and without cellphone and appointment we ran on the street into our lovely friend Arturo who offered us to stay at his place. We enjoyed the time with him a lot, recycled tons of bread from a bakery who delivers the hotels and helped ourselves with the coconuts who where growing all over the golf field and on the boardwalk. Next day we went to the official fair created by the Mexican government for the public and paid by the public, with a total cost of more than 70 Million US Dollars! The “Climate Village” was created to raise awareness and to give an understanding for what this whole COP16 was about and how one can live more sustainable, but what we encountered was a Disneyland of companies who were selling the idea that by consuming their products one would save the planet! CocaCola had a big stand with beautiful pictures of farmers planting trees and everywhere it was written how good, social and environmental friendly the biggest beverage company in the world is.

Furthermore there where car, energy and basically all other kind of companies who are actively polluting the world, but selling the idea by purchasing their products to do good and be ecological friendly! Greenwashing in its purest form, it is the way all companies around the world try today to continue to do business as usual with a green label on it. We also spotted an “ecological” house as an example how one can live without harming the nature, but if the whole world would live in a house like this, equipped with a big flat screen television, microwave, solar panels etc., we would have even more contamination than today.
Finally we arrived at the Klimaforum, an alternative side-event which regrettably was located too far away from the public and without connection to public transport. Their slogan was “system change, not climate change” and we expected the most environmental friendly event possible at this time, soon we had to admit that it was far away from being sustainable. There were portable toilets with a blue chemical cocktail inside, a current generator and non biodegradable dish-washing detergent. On the other side they tried their best with only organic vegetarian food. The location was a polo field which they rented for 35 000$ in the middle of the jungle, they just lumbered the virgin rainforest and installed a field which now is used to play a game for rich people. We ask one of the organizers if we could be voluntaries during the two weeks the Klimaforum, which was offering workshops, talks and conferences and although they had already enough people helping, they gave us the chance to participate. Again it was funny that during an alternative event where we were looking for new ways of how to live more in harmony with mother earth we had to wear plastic bracelets to be officially recognized as part of the Klimaforum. We were living with more than 100

other motivated people from all over the world, all ages and colors in the Eco Village just 15 wonderful minutes walking even more into the jungle. We felt good energy with like-minded humans who are caring for the common good, for our earthlings of our wonderful Home, our mother Earth! Almost everybody was helping to get this chaotic event running, we were cooking, cleaning, washing, preparing tends, welcoming the very few guests who found their way here and tried to share our positive energy with the speakers who often came from far away and were disillusioned about the few people who listened to what they had to say. It was a little bit sad for everybody to feel that even if we all would have loved to share more time together, share our visions for a better world we were so occupied with organizing. The worst was that we had so many voluntary meetings where we just talked over meetings, problems and so many details concerning the organisation that we lost energy and time for real discussions about how to save our planet and what each one of us can do for it. Not only some of the main organizers

came by airplane, but also most of the participants and it was sad for us to see that probably one of the most involved people to stop climate change are actually emitting even more green house gases to attend an event where everything is about how to stop global warming. The list of controversies is endless, while we believe a world without money would be more ecological, the event had an budget of 110 000 US Dollars for a total of less than 1000 people who actually came to the Klimaforum, in other words they spend more than 100 Dollar per person! Where all the money went was never published, even if the majority of the participants urged the organizers to full transparency, we never found out where all the money went. People were rumouring that one of the expenses was the taxi from and to the hotel as well the room costs of one of the main organizers as well his flight to the event, while almost everybody else was sleeping in the jungle.
Besides so much critic for the Klimaforum we were happy to see that Valerie from Belgium, who was organizing as well, came by sailing boat like us to Mexico and Jeff from the US by bike.
A big crowd of volunteers came with the “” Bus, a with old kitchen oil powered school bus full of musicians and young dreamers of a better world to the biggest demonstration together with Via Campesina. The energy of the manifestation was brilliant, everybody was dancing, singing, talking and just celebrating our planet with phrases like: “the mother earth is not for sale”. A Danish group of environmentalist came with their solar powered stereo system installed on a bike to share with the people good vibes. The track of approximately 1000 people did not got permission to get even close to the bridge, the entrance street to the Moonpalace, but instead just 200m ahead from where the track of colorful dress people stopped, a unit of more than 300 police men with shields and weapons were waiting in the sun. They were pacifistic and calm and behind a metal wall from the federal police another 300 or more police men were standing.

Thanks to everybody the situation staid peacefully and besides dancing, some speeches and a lot of fun united against injustice and the destruction of the environment around the world the day ended. The president of Bolivia, Evo Morales was the highlight of the two weeks for a lot of people who came to the alternative summit in Cancun, his speech was not even an hour, but full of emotion and fire for a just

world in harmony with mother earth. The first Bolivian indigenous president filled the room with energy and finished his speech with: “Planet or Death”, slightly changed from the original “Socialism or Death”.

The time in the peninsula Yucatan came to an end and a lot should change: Benji decided to ride his bike which the Danish gave him to Mexico City and Raphael and Nieves
wanted to get by ride to the biggest city in America. The whole COP16 was a firework of emotion and even if we all went different ways afterwords we know soon we will see each other in Mexico City again. For the first time since we all traveled together we left each other but our hearts and minds continued together, vibrating the love of the universe, the beauty of humanity and all the marvelous nature which
surrounds us!

Thanks to everybody out their who supported us one way or the other, even just the good thoughts reached us, thanks for being and keep up with the good vibes.

Love and Light to all of you!

Here the rest of the articles about the journey:

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