“We hope that this new century is the century of the rights of mother earth.”

Pablo Solon, ambassador to the UN from the South America nation of Bolivia met with fifty-plus community and labor activists at SEIU 1199’s M. L. King, Jr. Labor Center March 20. He addressed the crowd, announcing plans for Bolivian President Evo Morales to visit New York and to discuss diplomatic relations with the U.S. and the urgency of the environment.

“We see the earth as more than a source of things to buy or sell. The earth is our home,” Solon said. “Unending growth is unsustainable.”

Morales, Bolivia’s first indigenous ruler in 500 years, led a broad-based movement to win elections three years ago. He will be coming to New York City, April 22, to address the United Nations. He is expected to call on the international body to recognize the date as “Mother Earth Day” globally.

Bolivia sees the recognition of this holiday, the ambassador said, as a step towards the UN 1992 Rio Declaration, which aims “to promote the right of all human beings to live a healthy life in harmony with nature.”

Earth Day is celebrated on April 22 in many countries of the world, was established in 1970 in the United States. The UN currently recognizes the northern hemispheric spring equinox in March as World Environment Day. Many other countries have no celebration of the environment and environmental issues.

The Morales administration has instituted many progressive initiatives including land reform measures, establishing the country’s first Constitution and demanding the removal of U.S. military bases in the country.

The Bush administration labeled Bolivia a drug-trafficking nation and condemned Morales and his agenda.

“Our expectations are as high as yours,” Solon said regarding the Obama administration and hopes for a change in diplomatic relations between Bolivia and the US. “All we want is respect.”

Morales will also address the public at an event at Salem United Methodist Church in Harlem April 22. The public is encouraged to attend. Advanced tickets are required. Contact the Bolivian Embassy to the UN ator visit http://www.boliviaun.org/ for more information.