Eliminate GDP and Economic Growth to Create the Real Green Economy Indigenous Peoples Say

Wind-solar electricity generation built by indigenous Telengits community in Russia's Altai  Mountains.   Photo:  Foundation for Sustainable Development of Altai

Wind-solar electricity generation built by indigenous Telengits community in Russia’s Altai Mountains. Photo: Foundation for Sustainable Development of Altai

by Stephen Leahy

First published at National Geographic’s NewsWatch

The planet is in peril, 3,000 scientists and other experts concluded at the recent Planet Under Pressure conference in London. Climate change, overuse of nitrogen and loss of biodiversity are just three of the perils threatening to make much of our home uninhabitable.

World leaders will meet in Rio de Janeiro June 20-22 to address this at the Rio+20 Conference, 20 years after the very first Earth Summit.

Rio+20 needs to be the moment in human history when the nations of the world come together to find ways to ensure ‘the very survival of humanity,’ environmentalists and scientists have said.

A “Green Economy” will be one of the main ideas under discussion in Rio. The idea is to make a transition to an economic system that maximizes human well-being while operating within the planet’s environmental limits. Exactly how this could be accomplished has yet to be defined.

The current economic system rewards those who exploit and destroy nature, said Vicky Tauli-Corpuz, Executive Director, Tebtebba (Indigenous Peoples’ International Centre for Policy Research and Education).

The current system hinders and even blocks Indigenous peoples from practicing their traditional ways of living that actually represent “a real green economy” that can be sustainable, achieve well being and are climate-friendly, said Tauli-Corpuz, a member of the indigenous Kankana-ey Igorot community in the Philippines.

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Rio+20: The Moment in History to Ensure Our Future Survival?

Planet Under Pressure - State of the Planet Declaration Mar 29 2012.

Worlds’ Scientists Say Facing “Planetary Emergency”

By Stephen Leahy

UXBRIDGE, Canada, (IPS)

The upcoming Rio+20 conference has to be the moment in human history when the nations of the world come together to find ways to ensure the very survival of humanity, many science and environmental experts believe.

Except that governments, the media and the public aren’t paying attention to the “planetary emergency” unfolding around them. The situation is like firefighters yelling “fire” in crowded room and still no listens.

“The situation is absolutely desperate and yet there’s nothing on the front pages or on the agenda of world leaders,” said Pat Mooney, executive director of the ETC Group, an international environmental organisation based in Ottawa.

“The lack of attention is a tragedy,” said Mooney, who has 40 years experience in international environment and development issues.

Humanity is failing in its stewardship of the planet. An incredible 85 percent of the world’s oceans are in trouble, said Susan Lieberman, director of international policy at the Pew Environment Group, a U.S. organisation.

Rio+20 is a major opportunity to turn this around, Lieberman told IPS.

The Jun. 20-22 Rio+20 meet is timed to coincide with the 20th anniversary of 1992 Earth Summit in Rio de Janerio. The Earth Summit captured world attention, with leaders from most countries and some 10,000 media attending.

It gave birth to the most important environmental treaties on climate change, biodiversity and land degradation and desertification. World leaders also endorsed Agenda 21, a detailed blueprint on how nations can practice sustainable development.

Years of preparation went into the 1992 Summit, while only months have gone into Rio+20.

“There hasn’t been nearly enough preparation to be able to sign treaties,” said Lieberman. It’s been a struggle to get many governments like such as the US to focus on Rio+20 at all she said.

“Governments are not giving this opportunity enough importance given the mess we are in,” said Lisa Speer, director of the international oceans programme at the Natural Resources Defense Council, a U.S. NGO. Continue reading