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Rio+20: “The Future We Want”? Let’s hope it’s better than that

16 January 2012

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  1. 20 January 2012 18:30

    To children everywhere,

    Please explore what is willfully ignored and conspicuously unexplored. Many ‘experts’ appear to have sold out to the “one percent” by participating in the widespread denial of science regarding the issue of human population dynamics/overpopulation. One the one hand we have the deafening silence of scientists and on the other we have pseudo-scientists who broadcast whatever self-serving thought, contrived logic and ideology their benefactors demand. The human community is being deceived with false promises and directed down a primrose path by unsavory, mutually aggrandizing leaders. These so-called leaders are erroneously believed to possess the intellectual honesty, moral courage and will to act boldly that is required to acknowledge, address and overcome the colossal threat posed to future human well being and environmental health by the unbridled growth of absolute global human population numbers.

    Any exploration of what is being deliberately avoided and repeatedly denied would include, I suppose, an examination of the best available scientific evidence related to the most accurate placement of the human species within the natural order of living things as well as all the seminal research related to the way the world we inhabit actually works. Perhaps rigorous scrutiny of “human creatureliness”, an easily observed aspect within the breadth of humanness, could be a point of investigation. Very little attention and research has been dedicated to this aspect of our all-too-human nature. Another point of inquiry has to do with the nature of the world we inhabit, with particular attention to the shape, make-up and ecology of Earth. Is our planetary home flat or round? Is the Earth like a teat at which the human species can forever suckle or is the planet composed of limited resources that are being wantonly dissipated today? Is the ecology of Earth frangible and can its ecosystems be degraded by human pollution to a point at which the Earth could become unfit for human habitation?

    Children, why not invite your friends, parents, teachers and other elders like me to speak truthfully with you about what efforts are being made to assure a good enough future for you by pursuing a path toward sustainability? Despite your elders’ claims of ignorance about what it means to live sustainably, do not be fooled. They are playing stupid. The challenge for you is to call out your elders and insist they simply acknowledge that no one with wealth and power in the 1% wants to stop what is known today as “business as usual” practices, much less sensibly begin to plan for the right-sizing of ‘too big to fail’ corporations. Open discussions are everywhere eschewed of plans for transitioning away from the legitimization of transnational corporate ‘persons’. Too-big-to-succeed business empires are not being “powered down” to sustainable enterprises, ones that can exist in 2050 on a planet with the size, composition and environs of Earth. To this end, perhaps we can speak loudly, clearly and often about what your elders need to learn fast and well regarding how to live in our planetary home without recklessly dissipating its finite resources, as large-scale corporations are doing now; how to adjust outrageous per capita overconsumption patterns and individual hoarding lifestyles in preparation for an end to economic growth (not development); how to sensibly stabilize and then humanely reduce the size of the human population to a level that assures sustainability of the human species and life as we know it; and how to deal effectively with the relentless pollution and environmental degradation that is occurring on our watch.

    The Rio 20 Conference will occur in June 2012. Where are the scientists who are ready, willing and able to discuss openly, objectively and honorably the “mother” of all emerging and converging, human-induced global challenges looming before the human family on our watch: human overpopulation? Have scientists capitulated to the politically correct agenda of the rich and powerful as well as agreed to speak only of that which the 1% determined is politically convenient, economically expedient, socially suitable, religiously tolerable and culturally prescribed? Children, perhaps I am mistaken about all of this. For your sake, I certainly hope so.

  2. Martin permalink
    8 February 2012 14:17

    Thank you, Fiona, for this comment. And thank you for the question “Where is the intrinsic value of nature recognised in the Zero Draft Outcome document?”

    The words biodiversity and ecosystems do occur in the document, but only in the context of how they might be exploited more sustainably. Leaving aside the idea that something can be more, or less, sustainable, just as, presumably, one can be more, or less, pregnant, it seems that the future we want has space only for humans and whatever bits of the living world that are useful to us. This is not the future I want, so I’m not sure who the “we” is in the title.

  3. Fiona Nunan permalink
    9 February 2012 15:09

    Martin, thanks for the comment and your observation about the title of the conference brochure and zero draft outcome document. Who, indeed, are the ‘we’ being referred to? Fiona

  4. 9 June 2012 15:55

    This situation is no longer deniable. Opportunities like the one offered at RIO+20 cannot be missed. During my lifetime, many have understood the Global Predicament we are facing now, but only a few ‘voices in the wilderness’ were willing to speak out loudly and clearly about what everyone can see. It is not a pretty sight. The human community has precipitated a planetary emergency that only humankind is capable of undoing. The present ‘Unsustainable Path’ has to be abandoned in favor of a “road less travelled by”. It is late; there is no time left to waste. Perhaps now we will gather our remarkably abundant, distinctly human resources and respond ably to the daunting, human-induced, global challenges before us, the ones that threaten life as we know it and the integrity of Earth as a fit place for human habitation. Many voices, many more voices are needed for making necessary changes.

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