Back from Rio, 20 thoughts and notes gathered at and after the Rio+20 conference (in no particular order):
- A success, some important progress has been made
- A failure of epic proportions, not much was accomplished, not worth holding large summits like this
- Assertiveness of developing nations, minorities and individuals
- Lack of vision, lack of leadership, results in near worthless document
- As were Copenhagen and other conferences, Rio+20 was not about a document or treaty anyway
- Rio+20 is a catalyst, another starting point to do more, a call to action since governments do nothing
- Incredible energy and enthusiasm of individuals: Rio showed a hint of what they can do
- Growing capacity of local organizations and corporations to take effective environmental action bypassing governments
- Europe although economically weakened, much more active and influential than the US
- Activity outside the main negotiating sessions produced hundreds of side agreements bypassing governments
- Like any trade show, the opportunity to meet people, make announcements, and the promise of many future smaller events
- Addressing the planet’s most serious problems is more urgent than ever
- The solution is us, not governments
- One bright area on oceans (protection from pollution, overfishing and acidification), although no treaty to protect ocean biodiversity
- Countries, communities and companies can and will take action themselves
- World’s people can assert their will and power to fix our problems
- 50,000 people came to Rio. Hundreds of thousands more participated remotely. They are spreading the word.
- Rio was a pause, to make us consider the world we are leaving to future generations
- Collectively, we must force government leaders and corporations to do what is right for our planet and its resources.
- But let’s not wait for them...
And one of my favorite (anonymous) quotes:
“There is no greater fool than the one who does nothing because he thinks he can do so little”