“We stand at a critical moment in Earth's history, a time when humanity must choose its future.
(This quotation and most of those that follow are from the Earth Charter)
In 2012 the world communitywas looking back to the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro in 1992 with a conference Rio+20 in June which reviewed progress and assessed what the world and each of us needed to do next if we wanted to hand on a planet worth living in to future generations. One World Week 2012 offered us an opportunity to review the findings of the conference and plan the actions we could take to contribute to an equitable, harmonious and enduring future.
"Cooperatives are a reminder to the international community that it is possible to pursue both economic viability and social responsibility. "
(United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon)
2012 was also the UN Year of Co-operatives and our theme offered opportunities to celebrate sharing and working together with others.
We all wondered what the world was coming to and what the future hold for our children. How could we cope with a warming world, declining resources, growing inequality and unrest?
“As the world becomes increasingly interdependent and fragile, the future at once holds great peril and great promise.”
Could our generation take the steps needed right away to ensure that future generations would be able to continue to access the resources they needed to enjoy a fulfilling life? Were we prepared to embrace the changes that could offer hope and a future for all?
“To move forward we must recognize that in the midst of a magnificent diversity of cultures and life forms we are one human family and one earth community with a common destiny.”
We affirmed that we were all members of one world and that technology had enabled us to move around the globe for work and leisure and to communicate with ease. Also that trade had moved us closer, reinforcing our growing interdependence. However, we also recognised that some people had been forced to move by poverty, conflict and persecution to seek refuge and make new homes. We reflected that living and working together with people of many cultures and abilities had not only enriched our lives but enabled us to find shared ways of surviving as one world.
We acknowledged that our economies, natural environment and societies were increasingly interwoven. Could we cooperate to move towards a global society, which adapted to change while:
- balancing the needs of nature, economy and society,
- respecting universal human rights, and economic justice,
- and building a culture of peace?
We asked we could accept that it was only by working together to meet these challenges could we share quitably the legacy we have received with our descendants?
“Towards this end, it is imperative that we, the peoples of Earth, declare our responsibility to one another, to the greater community of life, and to future generations.”
the Earth Charter here
OWW's partners in the Stop Climate Chaos Coallition offed us a video: "Reasons to be cheerful" documenting progress on environmental protection since the first Rio Conference in 1992 (see it here)
OWWFollow up Rio+20 in your OWW events
In OWW 2012, under our theme of Sharing Destiny,we looked at the outcomes of the Rio+20 conference which took place in June, 2012. Representatives from around the world met at this UN environment summit to “secure renewed political commitment for sustainable development*, ... ”.
The Stop Climate Chaos Coalition (SCCC), of which OWW is a member, encouraged people to organise events to raise awareness of what was at stake at Rio in June and invite their MP to support a Rio Connection Declaration.
You could involve local representatives of other SCCC members in planning your OWW events for October. Have a look at the SCCC site where a Map tells you who is in your local area or you could get in touch with local branches of the SCCC members listed on the website.
In 1992, the UN Earth Summit in Rio de Janiero, Brazil, was unprecedented for a UN conference. It sought to help governments rethink economic development, recognising that economic and social progress depended on finding ways to prevent environmental degradation and preserve our resource base. Government representatives from around the world agreed to put in place:
“A comprehensive plan of action to be taken globally, nationally and locally ... in every area in which human impacts on the environment.” (It became known as Agenda 21)
In 2012, twenty years on, the objective of the ‘Rio+20’ Conference was to:
“secure renewed political commitment for sustainable development*, assess progress to date and… address new and emerging challenges”.
(More information at: www.uncsd2012.org )
There was much debate about this term with many feeling it had been highjacked from its original meaning.
A simple and common definition is “... development that meets the needs of the present, without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs”.
Living within our environmental limits is one of the central principles of sustainable development, but it also means meeting the diverse needs of all people in existing and future communities, promoting personal wellbeing, social cohesion and inclusion, and creating equal opportunity.
There was much talk of a green economy - Governments and businesses wanted a green economy that promoted growth through developing energy saving technologies and low carbon technologies. One of OWW's partners, the World Development Movement, warned that it all depended on whose green economy it is! More here