RIO + 20, “INSIPID?”, no much worse.

The stunning truths of Agenda 21 (from the ’92 Rio Earth Summit) were discarded, no mention of addressing consumption and production, ecological limits, biodiversity loss, fossil fuel subsidies or emissions reduction targets.

“The Green Economy” was the buzzword along with ” valueing what we can measure” as corporations salivate over future “opportunities”.


“The expansion of trade with China can be infinite,” said Brazil’s Finance Minister Guido Mantega, as he announced a new bilateral deal on the sidelines of the Rio+20 sustainability conference. “China is fast growing and wants to stimulate consumption so they will continue to buy our commodities. There are no limits.”


Politicians (who turned up) no doubt felt relieved at not having to make ‘spur of the moment’ decisions at Rio+20 and were quick to declare “progress”. What actually happened was inconceivably worse.


Alec Smith from “Radio Ecoshock” interviews Dr Arne Mooers, co-author of a report “Planetary Boundaries”, presented to leaders at Rio+20 introducing “State Shifts”, whereby new circumstances are occurring,  (through climate change) that are irreversable. Steven Leahy sends extracts from speeches from Rio+20 –                   Kate Rallworth from Oxfam talks of fundamental errors of current economic philosophy regarding “externalities”, and Johann Rockstrom (co-author with Arne Mooers) speaks of the anti-science and scepticism launched against “planetary boundaries” since the reports release.     


David Suzuki was at the Rio +20 conference with daughter Sevrin Cullis Suzuki as a babysitter for his grandsons. “Democracy Now” host Amy Goodman spoke with both Sevrin and David Suzuki.



The Great U Turn: Rio plus 20 – Vandana Shiva

It was a great U turn in terms of human responsibility to protect the life sustaining processes of the planet. Rio+20 will be remembered for what it failed to do in a period of severe and multiple crises, not for what it achieved.

It will be remembered for offering a bailout for a failing economic system through the “Green Economy”- a code phrase for the commodification and financialisation of nature. The social justice and ecology movements rejected the Green Economy outright. A financial system  which collapsed on Wall  Street in 2008, and had to be bailed out with trillions of tax payers dollars, and continues to be bailed out through austerity measures squeezing the lives of people, is now being proposed as the savior for the planet. Through the Green Economy an attempt is being made to technologise, financialise, privatize and commodify all of the Earth’s resources and living processes.

Our collective will and collective actions will determine whether corporations will be successful in privatising the last drop of water, the last blade of grass, the last acre of land, the last seed, or whether our movements will be able to defend life on Earth, including human life, in its rich diversity, abundance and freedom.

Fellow Canadian Cam Fenton, spokesperson for the Canadian Youth environmental lobby was again to the fore as he was at the Durban COP 17 summit.



Peter Bakker, the president of the World Business Council for Sustainable Business (WBCSD), believes that the corporate sector currently offers the best opportunity for saving the world. He rejects criticism that the 1,000 businesses that descended on Rio are not serious about creating change, pointing out that the 200 CEOs who attended the Business Action for Sustainable Development conference in Rio “don’t fly to bullshit around, but to have real discussions.”

A four point action plan has been developed by Bakker and he plans to spend the next few months getting it properly underway. The WBCSD will focus on sector and cross-sector coalitions, dialogue with government and encouraging more companies to join the progressive business camp.

George Monbiot penned this ;

After Rio, we know. Governments have given up on the planet.

It is, perhaps, the greatest failure of collective leadership since the first world war. The Earth’s living systems are collapsing, and the leaders of some of the most powerful nations – the United States, the UK, Germany, Russia – could not even be bothered to turn up and discuss it. Those who did attend the Earth summit in Rio last week solemnly agreed to keep stoking the destructive fires: sixteen times in their text they pledged to pursue “sustained growth”, the primary cause of the biosphere’s losses.

The efforts of governments are concentrated not on defending the living Earth from destruction, but on defending the machine that is destroying it.

The most talked about comment from Rio +20 was from British Deputy P,M. Nick Clegg, who described the conference as “INSIPID”



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