20 years ago, there was the first Earth Summit…

First Earth Summit in Rio, 1992. Image taken from eoearth.org

20 years ago, I was born. I’m glad the world starting thinking about environmental protection and sustainable development then. Because it’s going to affect my generation, and the future generations.

“We did not inherit the Earth from our fore fathers; we borrowed it from our children” – Native American saying. Image taken from quotesbuddy.com

And now, my generation is starting to stand up and speak out, following and trying to understand global, regional and local issues. Well some of us anyway… But point is, my generation is starting to become “of age”.

I’ve been trying to follow Rio+20, reading the relevant articles and sharing them. Though not actively participating..

What’s been great: increased civil participation, youth standing up, blogs, Tweets and Facebook updates that help increase awareness and help with information flow.

What I’m not so sure about: UK has committed to including including natural capital within their system of national accounts by 2020. Is it a good thing though?

What’s terrible: the weak draft text, countries still not wanting to commit and the world leaders not pushing for more to be done. Specifically,
no end to fossil fuel subsidies
no agreement for management of international waters (High Seas)
– and carbon emission are rising but not much is done about it :/

There are many things we (they, the diplomats and political leaders) could have done, many things that people are calling/have called to be done. But in the end, still not quite done. Why? Because economics is still more impt, even though there is much evidence that natural resources need to be taken care of for economic growth to be sustained? Or is it inertia, not wanting to change status quo because they’re comfortable with what they’re doing now?

We’re still not acting as one planet, as global citizens, but looking out only for personal interest, for their own country, or sometimes just for themselves, the (rich, upper-class) politicians. And this will not do.

[Updated: 7 July 2012. Some links added (in green font)]

Shall end off with The Lorax’s Letter, which I stumbled upon yesterday.

Dear Humans,

I am immortal, yet I am dying. How can you slaughter my race, again and again. You promised, you campaigned, you protested, you donated, you appointed ministers, you wrote books, you researched, you did everything; except destroying. Why is the environment the last thing on your list? Don’t you realize you can’t live if it wasn’t for me? I, speaker for the trees, created and continues to replenish the air you breathe. Please “show not tell”. Use your actions to prove your words.

The world may seam to be made by money. In fact, for that matter; even if it is ran by money, it is still made of nature. It all may change though, very quickly. Take a look:

This is China, the world’s most populated country. What’s in this photo of Shanghai? Well, buildings, signs, and very few trees. These trees are all carefully planted and fertilized unnaturally. To be honest, this place is not so different than Thneedville:

Artificial trees, buildings, and signs. You don’t want to turn the world into Thneedville! Trust me.

Please help. I know you know about climate change. I know you know about pollution. I know you know to turn off the lights. But do you know about an effective and easy way to save the planet? UNPLUG. It is simple, but most people don’t think about it. Unplugging is effective because even if a(n) appliance/electronic/gizmo/etc. is turned off, it still consumes energy. Please unplug (or turn off at the wall socket) toasters, blenders, coffee makers, chargers, TVs, disc players, game consoles, and whatever else is not in use. In fact a TV “turned off” (left on standby) uses 85% of the energy it uses when it is turned on.

Please help! As a Cree Prophecy once said to YOUR race:

“When all the trees have been cut down,
when all the animals have been hunted,
when all the waters are polluted,
when all the air is unsafe to breathe,
only then will you discover you cannot eat money”

Do it for me , The Lorax, do it for the Cree. For that matter, do it for YOU. This is as much as your world, as it is mine.

Pretty, pretty, please? With a cherry on top?

Yours sincerely,

The Lorax

About Jocelyne Sze

I'm a Nature-lover, aspiring conservationist, and wannabe traveller in search of outdoor adventure.
This entry was posted in Fact, Opinion, Talk and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to 20 years ago, there was the first Earth Summit…

  1. Joseph says:

    Thanks for your insights, Jocelyne. Unsustainable development is indeed a complex problem requiring multi-sectoral multidisciplinary solutions. But you have the benefit of starting to think and work on it from a younger age; people in my generation tend to have started thinking about sustainable development much later (I understand a Geography professor in NUS was already teaching the subject in the 80s though, and he’s still teaching it!). You also have the benefit of building on the progress made in every discipline working on this in the last few decades. And I think you also have more peers working alongside you now.

    Jeffrey Sachs is right; a multidisciplinary approach is necessary. Each discipline has its strengths and its blind spots. We need holistic solutions that solve (and not merely displace) the multisectoral problem using complementary insights from the various disciplines.

    What the youth of today have working against them is time, or the lack thereof. The problems have been building up in the last few centuries, but it is only in the last few decades that the world realises how urgent the problems have become, but has at the same time squandered these decades fighting to protect vested interests. And as people and countries become even more unequal and share even less common ground, finding common but differentiated solutions will become even more difficult.

    • Jocelyne Sze says:

      Yes, definitely we need to work with people from all walks of life to help solve the problems of today (and the future), and yes, it is definitely a good thing that we are now aware of such issues earlier on.
      But I believe that despite differences that may be exacerbated from inequality, the uniting factor will still be ultimately the fact that we all live on one shared planet, and to ensure that our planet is still liveable, we will need to work together. As soon as everyone realises this and actually care enough to take action (whether on personal, corporate, community, national, regional, international etc level). And I believe we will! We have to. (:

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