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