Rio plus 20 – Is this our last chance?

Rio plus 20 is upon us – 20 years after the Earth Summit held in Rio de Janeiro agreed on Conventions to keep our planet sustainable. They were more honoured in the breach than the observance, but at least they exist. Is this our last chance to implement them and save our God-given world?

One sign of hope: UNICEF sponsored forums all over NZ asked young people of 15-24 years to describe ‘The Future We Want’. The 6 main topics are surely what we all want:

• Equity
• A thriving natural environment
• Clean rivers and oceans
• Sustainable food
• Sustainable cities
• Fair trade

The young people’s recommendations have been sent to the Government and New Zealand’s delegates to Rio. After all, the young will inherit the mess we are leaving, and have a right to have their views listened to – and implemented.

These concerns fit well with the 7 priority themes identified for Rio plus 20:

• Water
• Sustainable agriculture
• Energy
• Green jobs
• Oceans
• Disasters
• Sustainable cities.

All of these themes are fleshed out to highlight the vital components within each that need to be addressed.

Another sign of hope, an amazing one, New Zealand, through Amy Adams, the Minister for Conservation, is championing a new global deal, initiated by concerned citizens in the US and a number of other countries, to end nearly $1 trillion dollars of taxpayer subsidies to big oil, coal and gas companies. If this money were to be switched instead to greener, more just development, it would literally save our planet. Please God this new plan to save the planet will have been included on the agenda for the Rio plus20 Earth Summit preparatory meeting in New York.

The results of the first Earth Summit may be ambiguous, but the global environment is certainly better than it might have been without them, and global awareness of environmental concerns has come to the forefront of our consciousness, even politicians!

The alternative social summit at Rio, the People’s Summit, which includes NGOs, Jesuits and other groups working for justice in the fair distribution of the earth’s resources, will be worth watching.

There will be more Jesuits – mainly from the Global Ignatian Advocacy Network (GIAN) on migration – at the official summit.

Mary-Ann Greaney from the Wellington Archdiocesan JPD will also be there.

What can we do? Pray confidently that the Holy Spirit will guide the deliberations at Rio plus 20

Kia kaha, e tangata!

To know more on Rio 20 we recommend the materials of CIDSE, the Third World Network and the EcoJesuit newsletter

Click here for CIDSE
Click her for Third World Network
Click here to sign up to a daily online newsletter sent from EcoJesuit.


for Global Ignatian Advocacy Network (GIAN) on migration

Trica Kane is a grandmother and retired Librarian

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News category: Analysis and Comment.

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