Earlier than expected, a text was agreed on at the Rio+20 summit, denominated “The Future we want”. Is the future of the world now safe?

What is the need of calling for a big international conference like the RIO+20 one? If the objective is to bring world leaders together in a nice picture, adopting just any text that can give an impression that they are actually thinking about the environmental crisis, then the summit may be called a success. If, on the other hand, the objective is to really do something about the growing global crisis, then it should be measured in a different way.

Let’s see some of the key issues.

Economic growth or redistribution and respect for planetary boundaries?

It is nothing new to state that we are living in a limited world with limited recourses, and that we are at the edge of surpassing some critical tipping points for Mother Earth. To keep on growing economically in this setting is just a logical impossibility. Nevertheless, the RIO+20 text never considers these aspects of the environmental problem – in fact doesn’t make any assessment of the critical situation of nature at all- but on the contrary mentions “sustained economic growth” about 23 times, as an objective in itself, and as a solution to the multiple crisis that the world faces today.

The fact that the top 1% in the world has an ecological footprint that is a 3 to 4-digit multiplier of the footprint of the poor seems to be of no relevance at all, and redistribution of wealth is not on the agenda.

Green economy

On how this growth would be possible, without affecting the environment even further, no word is uttered. More »