June 17, 2012

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Photo: Asha De Vos

This weekend at the Rio+20 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, valuable dialogues and in-depth negotiations continued in the lead up to the arrival of heads of state and other government leaders later this week. Attendees gathered to talk about the future of our oceans, coasts and Island States. A full schedule of the day’s events, is at this link.
The main outcome of Oceans Day at Rio+20 was the Rio Ocean Declaration, which attempted to address priority action items for oceans and coasts, both at the Rio+20 Conference and into the future. The Declaration will be submitted to approximately 130 world leaders attending the summit from Wednesday to Friday. 
The day culminated in the first e-Awards to acknowledge those that have most affected social change and sustainable development in the 20 years since the first Earth Summit at Rio in 1992. Dr. Earle received an e-Award for the environment, presented by Instituto-E, UNESCO and Rio de Janeiro City Hall. More on the awards here.
On Sunday, the Sylvia Earle Alliance and the Global Foundation for Democracy and Development presented, “Oceans in Google Earth as an Educational Tool: A Dominican Republic Perspective.”  The engaging session proved once again that the Ocean layer in Google Earth is a powerful tool with far-reaching abilities to enhance both education and awareness about the ocean, from it’s most beautiful reefs to it’s greatest challenges. For Ocean Inc’s coverage of the Google Earth event, click here.
Oceans at Google Panel Discussion

Mission Blue is working closely with Oceans Inc. to help disseminate real-time information coming out of this historic effort. We will also be issuing frequent updates through our Google +, Facebook and Twitter pages to supplement features on our Mission Blue website and blog. We recommend that you may also want to search twitter via: #rioplus20, #oceansatrio, #rio20 and #thefuturewewant for more breaking news.

What’s even better if you have the opportunity, is to tune into the United Nations Live streaming coverage, and check the recorded sessions which are available on the UN website at: http://webtv.un.org/. 

  Oceans Inc presenter Charlotte Smith talks to Sue Lieberman of the Pew Environment Group

This week, the Brazilian Government with the support of the United Nations has organized a series of Dialogues, an open forum of discussions amongst the many representatives of NGOs, business & industry, scientific & technological community, children & youth, farmers, workers & trade unions, indigenous peoples and local authorities about ten priority issues in the international agenda relating to sustainable development by clicking here.  Later in the week, the results of the Dialogues will be presented to the Heads of State and Governments at Rio Plus 20 for consideration in their deliberations on a sustainable future for planet ocean.
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One Comment

  • If we agree to “think globally” about climate destabillization and at least one of its consensually validated principal agencies, it becomes evident that riveting attention on more and more seemingly perpetual GROWTH could be a grave mistake because we are denying how economic and population growth in the communities in which we live cannot continue as it has until now. Each village’s resources are being dissipated, each town’s environment degraded and every city’s fitness as place for our children to inhabit is being threatened. To proclaim something like, ‘the meat of any community plan for the future is, of course, growth’ fails to acknowledge that many villages, towns and cities are already ‘built out’, and also ‘filled in’ with people and pollutants. If the quality of life we enjoy now is to be maintained for the children, then limits on economic and population growth will have to be set. By so doing, we choose to “act locally” and sustainably.

    More economic and population growth are soon to become no longer sustainable in many too many places on the surface of Earth because biological constraints and physical limitations are immutably imposed upon ever increasing human consumption, production and population activities of people in many communities where most of us reside. Inasmuch as the Earth is finite with frangible environs, there comes a point at which GROWTH is unsustainable. There is much work to done locally. But that effort cannot reasonably begin without sensibly limiting economic and population growth.

    Problems worldwide that are derived from conspicuous overconsumption and rapacious plundering of limited resources, rampant overproduction of unnecessary stuff, and rapid human overpopulation of the Earth can be solved by human thought, judgment and action. After all, the things we have done can be undone. Think of it as ‘the great unwinding of human folly’. Like deconstructing the Tower of Babel. Any species that gives itself the moniker, Homo sapiens sapiens, can do that much, can it not?

    “We face a wide-open opportunity to break with the old ways of doing the town’s business…..” That is a true statement. But the necessary “break with the old ways” of continous economic and population growth is not what is occurring. There is a call for a break with the old ways, but the required changes in behavior are not what is being proposed as we plan for the future. What is being proposed and continues to occur is more of the same, old business-as-usual overconsumption, overproduction and overpopulation activities, the very activities that appear to be growing unsustainbly. More business-as-usual could soon become patently unsustainable, both locally and globally. A finite planet with the size, composition and environs of the Earth and a community with the boundaries, limited resources and wondrous climate of villages, towns and cities where we live may not be able to sustain much longer the economic and population growth that is occurring on our watch. Perhaps necessary changes away from UNSUSTAINABLE GROWTH and toward sustainable lifestyles and right-sized corporate enterprises are in the offing.

    Think globally while there is still time and act locally before it is too late for human action to make any difference in the clear and presently dangerous course of unfolding human-induced ecological events, both in our planetary home and in our villages, towns and cities. If we choose to review the perspective of a ‘marketwatcher’ who can see what is actually before our eyes, perhaps all of us can get a little more reality-oriented to the world we inhabit and a less deceived by an attractive, flawed ideology that is highly touted and widely shared but evidently illusory and patently unsustainable.

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