Solón is a strong critic of capitalism, arguing that in order to stop climate change we need to change ourselves and shift from the capitalist paradigm of unlimited growth to one that pushes instead for the redistribution of wealth. “We need to recover our sense of community between us and with nature. We need to recover the control of the resources of the society that have been privatized to redistribute the benefits between all while preserving harmony with nature.” Solón is also critical of the notion of a “green economy,” saying it’s “about cheating nature while making a profit out of it.” He says that putting a price tag and commodifying the functions of nature does not recognize limits, but encourages and promotes “new speculative derivative markets on nature.”
Instead, Solón says the shift to a post-capitalist reality can be achieved by following the core principles of buen vivir, an idea of how to “live well” as opposed to “live better.” This idea emerged in South America in the late 20th century, but is rooted in the harmonious relationship that indigenous people of the Andean region had with nature. He says buen vivir is like the “dream of the rights of Mother Earth,” and that it can be a model of how to live communally with fewer demands on nature.
Over the years, Solón has worked with different social justice organizations, indigenous movements, workers’ unions, student associations, human rights and cultural organizations in Bolivia. He is currently Executive Director of Bangkok-based Focus on the Global South, an activist think tank established in 1995 to “challenge neoliberalism, militarism and corporate-driven globalization while strengthening just and equitable alternatives.” The organization works in solidarity with the “global south”—particularly Asia, Latin America, and Africa where the vast majority of humanity is marginalized and dispossessed by the forces of globalization.
Solon is also the son of the famous Bolivian muralist Walter Solón Romero Gonzáles. He was named the 2011 international Human Rights Award winner by Global Exchange.