(Sunday, 22nd April) This year’s 42nd Earth Day has special significance in the run-up to the Rio+20 Earth Summit as it marks an opportunity for people to unite their voices in a call for action in this crucial year. Earth Day is seen as a launch pad for global action on sustainability and this year its role is even more crucial as it can revitalise the Rio+20 process, ensuring that the last months before the summit are not wasted.
Over 120 Heads of State and Government have now announced they are going to Rio+20. This is more than attended the first Rio in 1992. The backdrop to this is that future generations will surely decide that ours is the irresponsible generation. They will look upon 1992 to 2012 as a lost twenty years, during which we could have laid the foundations for a more sustainable world. Instead we have increased unsustainable consumption patterns in developed countries and exported them to developing ones, with increasingly negative and destructive impacts on the world’s environment and on poor people. We knew the problems, we knew most of the answers, but we failed to scale them up to deliver what was needed. Rio must scale up the political will to deliver.
This month, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon stated that “The world stands at a crossroads...we need everyone – government ministers and policymakers, business and civil society leaders, and young people – to work together to transform our economies, to place our societies on a more just and equitable footing, and to protect the resources and ecosystems on which our shared future depends.” Rio+20 offers us an opportunity to make the right turn and change our course towards a green and fair economy.
To download the full press release click here.