The value of life is not money or power.

The petition promoted by Elena Mazzoni is directed to Italian President Sergio Mattarella

Over the past three decades, money (finance) and power (war) have increased their dominance over life, thanks in part to technological innovations based on new biotechnology and artificial intelligence in a context dominated by the market economy.

Gradually, all common public goods essential to life have been commodified, monetized, privatized and sold out to private finance.

These include water and nature in general, treated as “natural capital.” In addition, the growing conflicts among the world’s most powerful states over the private appropriation of land, water, air, seeds and knowledge (particularly through patents) have once again triggered the logic of world war, including the one that has been ongoing for the past year in Ukraine, which threatens to set the planet on fire. We are in a new warlike phase of relations between the most powerful countries. The poorest people of the world will pay the consequences with human sacrifice, devastation of nature and intolerable material damage.

Today the world shows two fierce faces: on the one hand the violence of finance and on the other the violence of war. Action is needed to bring an end to all forms of violence.

It is in this context that is inscribed the necessity and urgency of a civil mobilization in the field of finance, against the global private financial actors who in the last two years have enacted a real theft of nature, of life.

The theft of nature by finance

In December 2021, the association Agora des Habitants de la Terre launched on the campaign “Liberiamo l’acqua dalla borsa” (we free the water from the stock exchange) against the placement of water on the stock exchange on December 7, 2020 by the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, the world’s largest commodities trading company. In Italy and France we collected 120,209 signatures, a record for a petition in favor of water, a universal right and a global public good!

Well, the dominant social groups, not only in Italy and France, with the support of public authorities, paid no attention to the opinion of active citizens. On the contrary, the situation has worsened. After Chicago, the New York Stock Exchange, the largest in the world, decided to create a new class of financial assets, “Natural Capitals” and a new category of listed companies, Natural Capitals Corporations (NACs). Moreover, in the name of defending nature and sustainable development (!?), it has proposed that 30 percent of the natural world should be entrusted to the management of these corporations, i.e., the same production and financial system that is known to be primarily responsible for the current disaster of nature!

Unfortunately, the story is not over. In December 2022, after only one year, the final document of the UN COP15-Biodiversity, adopted by more than 190 states, endorsed the principle of considering nature as a set of “natural capitals” that must be given a market price (monetization of nature) and whose economic value must be integrated into the calculations of economic management and environmental impact, in all areas and at all territorial levels. And this, in a logic of optimizing global and local management of capital (including nature!) in the interests of their richest and most powerful holders. COP15-Biodiversity also confirmed its support for entrusting 30 percent of the natural world to management according to the current canons of economics and finance, approving a series of measures that sanction the financialization of nature.

The principle of 30% is not in question. The portion of the natural world to be protected, even for restoration, should have been increased to 50 percent. What is in dispute is that COP15, without saying, of course, that protection should be entrusted to Natural Assets Corporations, as demanded by the New York Stock Exchange, made clear reference, as far as management is concerned, to principles and measures to be promoted that are specific to the current functioning of the market economy and global finance. Nor did it state that states, public authorities, must return to being directly responsible for the preservation and care of nature, and that they must set an example by respecting their own Constitutions and international treaties, putting an end to lax practices that are very harmful to the health of the life of our Planet and its inhabitants. An important example is the devastation of soil, which is poorly protected and devastated everywhere.

COP15 has accomplished an “existential” theft of nature, a real reversal of meaning and values. Until now, nature has always been thought of and experienced as the foundation and frame of reference of life on Earth, Mother Nature! Through its financialization, nature is reduced to a category of the economic system, natural capital, and its value will be determined essentially by its exchange value in the markets as a financial “asset.”

Giving nature a monetary price, set by financial markets, is meaningless. Ecosystems and their fruits are assets in themselves and for the regeneration of life.

The goal of the petition is to :

ask the social and political forces most active in favor of the concrete realization of universal rights to life and the rights of nature, to mobilize to demand that national and international public authorities free nature, Mother Earth, from submission to the logic and interests of global finance and to recognize that the value of life is not measured in money.

To this end, we ask you to support the following proposals:

Stock exchange decisions on nature are unacceptable

Italian public authorities (Parliament and government) must affirm that they consider illegal, as contrary to the right to life of citizens and to the reformed Article 9 of the Constitution-“The Republic … protects the environment , biodiversity and ecosystems also in the interest of future generations”-the decisions made by the Chicago Stock Exchange (run by a private American multinational financial corporation and the main owner of the Milan Stock Exchange) regarding the listing of water on the Stock Exchange, and by the New York Stock Exchange (also run by a private American multinational financial corporation) regarding the financialization of nature, ecosystems and ecosystem services.

Mother Earth’s rights are not for sale

The Italian public authorities and through them the European public authorities declare unsustainable and unacceptable the provisions approved by COP15-Biodiversity (December 2022) (Objectives 2 and 3, 14 and 15, and especially 19.) that validated the adoption of measures of open support for the financialization of nature.

At the same time, these public authorities must promote the adoption of new laws and coherent and innovative measures in favor of the recognition of nature’s rights. It is time to adopt a European Charter on the Rights of Nature and a Global Convention on the Rights of Nature, which are currently completely absent from the European and global agenda.

A global charter of the global public commons

Bring back to the center of human, good, just and peaceful coexistence, from the local to the global, the global public common goods essential to life to which everyone is unconditionally entitled. Those responsible for the global public [Commons] must, on the basis of effective citizen participation, promote the development and adoption of a “Global Charter for the Global Public Commons ” before the current global war wipes out everything.

The petition is an initiative of the ACT Coalition (Agora degli Abitanti della Terra, Casa Comune /Gruppo Abele, Transform! Italia – Europe), with the support of the Communist Refoundation Party and Unione Popolare.

They adhere to:

F.A.R.E Castelli
Southern Rome Protection Network
Membership list continually being updated.

The original article can be found here