The Rio Earth Summit 2012 draws to a close today (lasting from 20-22 of June 2012) and high hopes for positive outcomes seem to have been tempered a bit by the grim political realities of attempting to get competitive people to act cooperatively and the reluctance of “business-as-usual” to be steered down the path of ecological damage control and risk amelioration. It’s important to remember that this sort of event is powerfully catalytic, but the important changes aren’t going to be instant. Well, not all of them. Rio 2012 has changed the course for our civilization.
There’s nothing new about change, it can be destructive, but it can also make way for better things. Andy Luck’s short documentary film CHANGING WORLD – LIFE explores this theme.
Please click on the image (right) to see the short film CHANGING WORLD – LIFE and other short documentary films by Andy Luck on
Exasperated by lack of change, Greenpeace are now on what amounts to a war footing to save the Arctic. They intend to plant a 1,000,000 signature petition calling for an Arctic nature reserve at the North Pole on the bottom of the sea, not far from where a Russian (rather optimistically) planted a Russian flag.
The girl who presented world leaders with a 72 hr ultimatum to save us or save face, might be wondering why a third option – of not making any guarantees of her safety or saving face, was the course taken. Perhaps this was because world leaders aren’t sure quite what they can afford to pledge and how they are going to afford it and what the delivery schedule should be.
You might think that the fact that “business-as-usual” has been recession-hit would be a powerful stimulant to the emerging green economy, but the fact is that economies are like oil tankers, they are slow to change course. To pursue this analogy further it helps if everybody is on board and wanting to go in the same direction.
It will take innovative thinking in high places to make sustainable development mainstream and clever financial instruments to make them affordable to you and I. There are signs of this innovative thinking already coming into play in the UK with the forthcoming Green Deal. A very clever arrangement in which people can install renewable energy technology such as an air source heat pump in a properly insulated property and then pay it off through their monthly electricity bill from the savings generated by the technology installed. The householder doesn’t feel the cost because the increase in efficiency effectively pays off the installation. The installation deal is linked to the meter and not to any individual, so moving house does not present problems.
Read The Future We Want for a well-thought-out list of espoused values and desired conditions. It’s important that we have a collective idea of desirable development. Back on planet Earth the Summit kicked off with the admonition from UN Secretary General that progress is being made too slowly, despite global recognition* that anthropogenic damage from human activities threatens our environmental life support system.
As HRH Prince Charles has warned we can’t delay action to the point when it will be too late to do any good.
One good thing about a bad situation is that there is plenty of scope for positive change. Secretary General Ban Ki Moon’s call for engagement with making sustainable energy available to all in all areas of human activity and at all levels of every human society is what is required. It is very sensible to integrate more sustainable practices into life as we know it and for green energy to be accessible to all.
You can view the pages on the UN’s main website
A useful outcome that has already emerged is the publication of the second edition of The Pocket Guide To Sustainable Development. While it can’t be described as light reading, a real effort has been made to render the subject more comprehensible in all its enormous complexity and to ground the whole process in its context, some different perspectives and optional paths are explored and the approach of clustering agencies into groups that can thus more effectively share information and wield influence for change seems to be a move in the right direction.
It now looks as if reform of the WTO, World Bank and to some degree the UN itself is inevitable. On p40 the Pocket Guide states
“The summit itself has the potential to reorient the way in which countries and citizens alike integrate sustainability into their everyday practices, from
decision-making in global and national governance to choices people make at the individual and local level.”
Shaping the future that we want is an important theme in the short public service announcement that Wildopeneye made for the United Nations Development Program recently, What Is The Sound Of A Tree Not Falling? The PSA below explains
It’s the sound of the future that we want. Thriving people, living sustainable livelihoods in harmony with nature.
Rio 2012 has set us on course for reorientation.
* There are still some die-hard Flat-earthers and Climate change deniers out there, but few people are seriously listening to them.