Well there it is, Rio+20, done and dusted; three days of intense talks and intricate decision-making, being carried out by the most important people on the entire planet, with the rest of the entire planet at their heels desperate for a concrete, smart response on how to change the way we ravage our blue marble. Some story eh? A tale almost too lofty to consider, and yet we went and did it anyway.
Many of us hailed the latest UN +whatever talks as the moment the globe had been waiting on for over 20 years - our leaders would finally, once and for all, stand as one and vote to save this fledgling home we have, the only thing we lowly humans can trust in the darkness of space in which it floats. After the poorly constructed and ultimately pointless convention of 1992, it seemed like Brazil might actually be able to bring forth a new era of sustainability and usher in the ‘Future We Want’. This 20 year anniversary would be the winning moment, a historical event.
Well, after all the hype, hope and hysterics, what do we have? It’s fair to say, absolutely squat. In fact, I tell a lie; we have some things, things which amount to grains of sand in the grand scheme, which I shall come to a little later, but it’s safe to assume from this point onwards, that Rio+20 stunningly failed to prove anything, or provide even the slightest of substantial changes on the global agenda that is our collective future.
As I wrote in my previous post, when you put so many powerful, influential people into one single room, hold up a draft text detailing multiple deadly serious issues and their consequences on our entire society and expect that text to be signed by each and every one of them, it requires more than a stretch of reality to believe it will succeed. Our leaders are simply too individual in their decision-making, too tied to their own domestic motives, and in most cases, not the proper voice of their people.
So when you have Rio+20 going in with the expectations of a world on its shoulders and literally the most pressing matters of perhaps our entire history to address, we must have been mad to think that anything inspiring would come of it; it’s just too big a deal for something so short-lived and small-minded to conquer. With this in mind, I actually retract some of my prior negativity towards the likely outcomes of this process in my earlier post, as in fact, I was unfair in shooting it down so readily. No single stage should be burdened with such a monumental bodge job to fix, however many ‘leaders’ turn up.
But enough of that for the moment, time to list what Rio+20 actually managed to achieve amongst all the bickering and political jousting, even if it did take plenty of waiting and digging to find articles detailing such things. Over $500bn was pledged to to several issues, such as energy, food and water and ocean management, but no specifics were mentioned, whilst a seemingly arbitrary number of 800,000 tons of PVC was agreed to be recycled, whatever recycled truly meant.
Alongside this, the planting of over 100 million trees around the world was decided upon, though how this compares to the current deforestation rate which I have yet to see addressed in the talks is unknown, and gender equality a key basis for many development strategies. Apologies for seeming so cynical and judging for the sake of it, but these are simply the first thoughts running through my mind when I read these apparent successes initially, and believe that to get excited over such things is premature and nothing but setting yourself up for a fall.