Rio+20, T-28 days

Rio+20 UN Conference on Sustainable Development will be held ib a month in Brazil. The gathering takes place 20 years after Earth Summit of 1992, when the UN created forums which would go on to address climate change and biodiversity loss: the Rio Declaration, Agenda 21, the Biodiversity Treaty, and the Framework Convention on Climate Change – so 2 plans of action for governments and other influential parties, and 2 documents open to signing by governments that were legally binding.

Two decades later, back at the negotiating table, what must be done to see some results?

Now, a month before conference, the prospects for bringing a decisive change in the planet’s environmental problems and poverty are not very encouraging. Is mankind even incapable of putting an end to the destruction of Earth? By now those following the progress can say that the UN target of limiting global warming is no longer reachable.

The conference has three objectives: to combat this environmental crisis, eradicate poverty, and put growth on a sustainable path, with measures to stimulate the green economy. This sounds all too familiar..

There is, however, one major difference between now and the conference 20 years ago: a new powerful actor called the civil society. Although, despite all the climate change and the everyday evidence of what’s happening, we are still lacking global awareness, global citizenship, global loyalty, and.. continuous commitment.

It just seems like a scenario that’s grown increasingly rebellious, like a social movement that rejects the forces of corporate global power.

Battle lines seem to have been drawn along age-old lines of resentment and domination. The battle for a more equal sharing of the world’s resources is linked directly with the survival of the earth. Feelings of entitlement on both sides may lead to our own demise.

While we sort out our allegiances whether it be to our small, brief lives and what we can gain in them, or an allegiance to the planet, compromise and pragmatism would lead all sectors of society to engage in actions that they may at other times avoided.

Oppositional thinking will not be the path to our salvation. It is not ‘the economy’ or ‘the planet’. It is not ‘the north’ or ‘the south’. It may not even be ‘the rich’ and ‘the poor’.  These disparate concepts may be the very things standing in our way to being creative and flexible and seeing all human structures and systems as changeable and possibly as chaotic as the planet on which they have evolved.

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2 thoughts on “Rio+20, T-28 days

  1. Hello and thank you for this article. So-called environmentally induced migration is multi-level problem. According to Essam El-Hinnawi definition form 1985 environmental refugees as those people who have been forced to leave their traditional habitat, temporarily or permanently, because of a marked environmental disruption (natural or triggered by people) that jeopardised their existence and/or seriously affected the quality of their life. The fundamental distinction between `environmental migrants` and `environmental refugees` is a standpoint of contemporsry studies in EDPs.

    According to Bogumil Terminski it seems reasonable to distinguish the general category of environmental migrants from the more specific (subordinate to it) category of environmental refugees.

    Environmental migrants, therefore, are persons making a short-lived, cyclical, or longerterm change of residence, of a voluntary or forced character, due to specific environmental factors. Environmental refugees form a specific type of environmental migrant.

    Environmental refugees, therefore, are persons compelled to spontaneous, short-lived, cyclical, or longer-term changes of residence due to sudden or gradually worsening changes in environmental factors important to their living, which may be of either a short-term or an irreversible character.

    According to Norman Myers environmental refugees are “people who can no longer gain a secure livelihood in their homelands because of drought, soil erosion, desertification, deforestation and other environmental problems, together with associated problems of population pressures and profound poverty”.

  2. Sounds frightening: ….. and seeing all humanity’s systems as changeable and possibly as chaotic as the planet on which they have evolved….
    not to mention the humble human lives as so short and fragile individual roads that are engaging enormous (again, individual) efforts and energy to contribute something to sustainability.

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