The UK’s Chief Scientist Bob Watson and other award-winning scientists have said the draft agenda of Rio+20 is doomed to fail[i]. The gathering is potentially the most important environment summit in a generation, bringing together heads of government from around the globe, yet the draft agenda follows the failed the voluntary approach of the first Earth Summit in 1992 and is full of more empty promises with no means to fulfill them.
On Sunday 4th March, 2-4pm, at Toynbee Hall,[ii] a special event[iii] organised by Occupy London’s Energy, Equity & Environment working group[iv] offers an alternative to this bankrupt narrative by highlighting some of the leading civil society proposals for legal frameworks that could address the multiple environmental and social crises that the current poorly regulated system is driving us towards.
In a demonstration of the Occupy movement’s resilience, a new home for this event has been found at short notice, after Occupy London’s School of Ideas site was evicted and demolished[v] along with the encampment at St. Paul’s on Monday night.
Peter Roderick – Recognising Planetary Boundaries[vi]
Joe Hall – Making Ecocide a Crime[vii]
Ian Mason – Recognising the Rights of Nature[viii]
Halina Ward – Appointing a Guardian for Future Generations[ix]
Kate Raworth – Defining a Safe & Just Space for Humanity[x]
Amancay Colque – Lessons from Bolivia – Bolivia Solidarity Campaign
Melanie Strickland – Chair (Occupy Law)
Melanie Strickland of the Occupy Law working group said: “Earth justice is at the heart of the occupy movement and is intimately bound up with social and economic justice. It’s really important to understand what is happening at Rio+20 as it’s the biggest world summit on the environment and the decisions taken there may determine whether we choose to govern ourselves for the benefit of the Earth community, or for the benefit of a narrow corporate elite.”
Joe Hall, Head of Campaign at Eradicating Ecocide: “What happens to the Earth — and what happens at the Earth Summit — is our business, every one of us. Together we are powerful beyond measure. Let’s speak up together for the world we want and the laws we want to protect people and planet.”
Occupier George Barda said: “Over the last twenty years we have seen a systematic recuperation of the green agenda by the 1%. The UN climate process has coincided over this period with precipitate compound growth in carbon emissions. And the attempts to deal with the biodiversity and deforestation crises have been no more resilient to the forces of rapacious and in effect psychopathic short-term profit-maximistation. And then there is the Ocean crisis, the fossil-water crisis etc. etc. Rio+20 must act as an urgent historic opportunity for progressive political forces to recognise the need for a game-changing holistic mass-mobilising approach to our converging global economic, social and ecological crises.”
Halina Ward, Director of the Foundation for Democracy and Sustainable Development said “Short-termism in political systems and in policy processes is one of the major threats to sustainable development. There’s no trade-off in the original idea of sustainable development between fairness to people alive today and those who have yet to be born. But it’s going to take a lot more than rhetoric to get the long-termism that we need. That’s why we want to see Rio + 20 committing governments to a clearly defined process leading to the creation of a UN High Commissioner for Future Generations.”
[i] Pearce, Fred “Earth Summit is doomed to fail say leading ecologists”, New Scientist, 10 February 2010, http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn21465-earth-summit-is-doomed-to-fail-say-leading-ecologists.html?full=true&print=true
[ii] 28 Commercial Street E1 http://www.toynbeehall.org.uk/
[iii] Facebook event page: http://www.facebook.com/events/328744843842479/
[iv] See the group’s Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/pages/LSX-Occupy-Energy-Equity-and-Environment-Group/283451725018389 and Twitter account http://twitter.com/occupylsxenvtgp
[v] “Occupy London condemns demolition of the School of Ideas building”, Occupy London press release, 28 February 2012 http://occupyLSX.org/?p=3815
[vi] See the Nature paper “Planetary Boundaries: A Safe Operating Space for Humanity” http://www.tallbergfoundation.org/STORIES/StoriesfromTällberganditsnetwork/PlanetaryBoundaries/tabid/755/Default.aspx and the Planetary Boundaries Initative submission to Rio+20 http://www.uncsd2012.org/rio20/index.php?page=view&type=510&nr=206&menu=20
[vii] For more on the campaign to make Ecocide the Fifth International Crime Against Peace: http://www.thisisecocide.com/
[viii] See the proposed Universal Declaration of the Rights of Mother Earth at http://www.wildlawuk.org/declaration.html
[ix] “A New UN Commissioner for Future Generations? What Powers Should He or She Have?” http://www.fdsd.org/2012/02/a-new-un-high-commissioner-for-future-generations-what-powers-should-they-have/
[x] See Oxfam Senior Research Kate Rowarth’s “A Safe and Just Space for Humanity” at: http://policy-practice.oxfam.org.uk/our-people/research/kate-raworth and Monbiot, George “Is protecting the environment incompatible with social justice?” – The Guardian, 13 Feburary 2012 http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/georgemonbiot/2012/feb/13/protecting-environment-social-justice