Gauteng and NW Province

The heat is on and mood is dark 20 years after summit

Rio follow-up amid economic disaster.

Twenty years ago, a burst of sunny optimism radiated from Rio de Janeiro as world leaders staged a meeting that would prove pivotal.

Amid post-Cold War euphoria and a desire to tackle the problems of the looming millennium, the UN’s 1992 Earth Summit inscribed protection of the planet on the world’s priority list.

It set down a blueprint, Agenda 21, for sustaining nature rather than destroying it. It created UN mechanisms designed to brake the oncoming juggernauts of climate change, desertification and species loss.

By almost every yardstick, as the UN Environment Programme reported in a landmark assessment last week, our planet is sicker than ever.

Despite the rising prosperity in China, India and other emerging giants, billions remain in the rut of poverty.

And as the world’s financial calamity nears its fourth anniversary, the ability – and will – of countries to embrace green growth is badly constraint.

There is “a risk of division between developed countries, emerging countries, poor countries, the risk of failure because there may be other pressing matters”, France’s new president, Francois Hollande, said on Friday.

“The world is today turned towards the economic crisis, the financial crisis, and is worried about a certain number of conflicts, such as Syria. It might easily turn away from what is, however, the top priority, the environment.”

Behind the scenes, there is incipient panic over the draft summit communique. The charter is supposed to sum up the challenges and spell out pledges to nurture the oceans, roll back climate change, promote clean growth and provide decent water, sanitation and electricity for all.

“As things currently stand, we are facing two likely scenarios – an agreement so weak it is meaningless or complete collapse”, said World Wide Fund for Nature director-general Jim leape.

Pretoria News
June 12 2012

Whether the summit is a success or not; conservation still begins at home. Water conservation can be done without disrupting your lifestyle. Recycle your grey water for irrigation – that on its own will solve major problems.

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