From Other Words: http://www.otherwords.org/articles/the_elephant_in_rio
Don't bank on a new "green economy" to solve our climate challenges.
By Janet Redman
June 18, 2012
June 18, 2012
A close friend of mine in Fairfax, Virginia, is expecting her first child. By the time this baby girl turns 60, she'll live in a world that's warmer than it's ever been since humans began walking the Earth 2.5 million years ago, according to a new study.
The world already looks much different than it did just a generation ago. The alarming rate at which plants and animals are disappearing has scientists asking if we're entering a sixth mass extinction. The oceans' fish stocks — the main source of protein for more than a billion people — are declining, and mysterious coral reef die-offs in recent years will likely make a bad situation worse. More than half of the planet's surface now has "an obvious human footprint."
This is exactly where world leaders hoped we would not be when they gathered in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, for the historic 1992 Earth Summit.
Twenty years ago, decision-makers knew human activity could hurt the environment. But they were also grappling with the fact that about half of the world's population was living in poverty, and needed access to land, water, food, dignified work, and other essential ingredients for a better life.
To bring these two realities together, the Rio summit embraced "sustainable development" — an economic model that meets present needs without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. Governments adopted a roadmap for sustainable development heading into the 21st century called Agenda 21 and launched global environmental agreements on biodiversity, climate change, and desertification.