Exploring Asian Buen Vivir Through a Climate Lens

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The recent financial and climate crises clearly demonstrate that paradigms built on infinite economic growth are impossible. Yet progress in addressing these issues lags behind the changes rapidly affecting our societies and planet. Those in power continue to pursue economic growth, while indigenous peoples, peasants, and other marginalized groups continue to struggle to preserve their ways of life and our planet.

We must take advantage of the growing doubts around the economic growth model to advance alternative paradigms such as buen vivir (living well). The challenge is how to articulate such paradigms to make them viable realities for the population at large.

Buen vivir or vivir bien describes the indigenous peoples’ way of life in the Andes region of South America, but similar concepts also exist in Asian indigenous cultures. Central to the idea of Buen Vivir is living in harmony with nature, which is contradictory to the current extractivist nature of our economies today.

This video documents our series of forums held in the Philippines in 2014 called “Learning from our Roots, Advancing our Struggles: Continuing Conversations on Buen vivir (‘Living well’) and Alternative Pathways for Asia”. The events brought together indigenous leaders from India, Thailand, the Philippines, and Ecuador in discussions anchored on concrete struggles of resistance and alternatives across Asia and Latin America.

The video report from our 2013 forums on buen vivir is available here