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 »

En la economía verde, todo se centra en poner un precio y vender a los “servicios ecosistémicos”  Todo lo que hace la Naturaleza para la humanidad tiene un beneficio, y debe tener un precio con el fin de ser protegidos. En el caso de las aves y las abejas: las aves se alimentan principalmente de insectos, sin ellos el mundo se vería afectada por tantos insectos que no podríamos vivir tranquilamente. De hecho, las aves tienen muchas funciones: como ser depredadores, polinizadores, dispersores de semillas, etc.
Las abejas son aún más importantes: aseguran la polinización de por lo menos un tercio de toda la producción mundial de alimentos. Sin abejas, no hay polinización, y no hay comida.

Por lo tanto, la humanidad tiene que estar muy agradecida a las aves y abejas. Sin embargo, según los promotores de economía verde, este agradecimiento debe ser expresada en términos monetarios. Porque, según ellos, la única manera de proteger a estos servicios ecosistémicos es asegurando que protegiendolos se lucra, y que su deterioramiento implica pérdidas.

El valor monetario de la polinización de las abejas fue estimado por el estudio TEEB a 190 millones de dólares americanos por año. Un montón de dinero. Esto nos plantea algunas preguntas:
1) ¿Quién paga por esto?
2) ¿Quién recibe el dinero?
3) ¿Y cómo este dinero asegura la protección de la población de abejas? More »

When explaining a certain sensitive issue to their children, many parents start explaining the story of the birds and the bees. It seems this makes things less embarrassing and less difficult.

Well, today the world faces a very embarrassing and a very difficult issue: the green economy. And indeed, the easy way to understand it is through the birds and the bees!

The green economy is all about putting a price and selling ‘ecosystem services’. Everything Nature does for humanity has a benefit, and should be priced in order to be protected. To come back to the birds and the bees: the birds feed themselves mostly with insects, without them the world would be plagued by so many insects we could not live quietly. In fact the birds play many roles: as predators, pollinators, seed dispersers, seed predators, etc.

The bees are even more important: they assure the pollination of at least one third of all the food production. Without bees, no pollination, and no food.

So, humanity has to be very thankful to the birds and the bees. But according to the green economy promoters, this thankfulness must be expressed in monetary terms. More »