Sustainability Research, Reviews and Signposting
Following the press coverage in the run up to the UN Conference on Sustainable Development, one would be forgiven for thinking it was destined to fail. The advance draft texts released were heavily scrutinised; many reviewers quickly identified a significant lack of strong political commitment to converge on a set of principles, goals and measurable actions.
One of the best solutions coming out of the process was developed by Peter Lehner and his team at the National Resources Defence Council; they have launched a website called Cloud of Commitments to actually track, record and publish the promises made at the confence by governments and private sector organisations (presumably both companies and NGOs).
Just as interesting and even more empowering, Mr. Lehner said it was “critical that we don’t equate Rio with a document. It’s not what it should be about. We don’t save the world with a document.”
He went on to remind us, and really urge us all, that “The document could do a lot more but the important thing is to see Rio as a catalyst for people around the world. Now it’s our turn to take the energy of people and convert that into action.” This seems to be a sentiment echoed by many leaders of NGOs, that have all highlighted the successes of civil society by pointing to the 3,000+ activities that took place alongside the Conference.
If our governments aren’t going to act on our behalf, we must mobilise and act. We must spread the word and encourage our politicians on every level to be using their influence in central government to sign up to binding multi-lateral commitments that will drive green economy, reduce carbon emissions, greatly diminish environmental degradation, support ecosystem conservation and choose a widespread prosperity over continuous unabated growth and benefit only for the wealthy 1%. For we are the 99% and we have the power to influence.