Briefing: What US activists need to know about Rio+20

From 15 June to 23 June, Global Justice Ecology Project will be in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil attending and covering the United Nation’s Rio+20 summit as well as the alternative Peoples’ Summit that is being organized by Brazilian and international groups to discuss socially and ecologically just alternatives to the dominant economic system.  The Rio+20 Summit, on the other hand, will be promoting the development of a so-called “Green Economy,” which has been described as the “Greenwash Economy” or the same old “Greed Economy” in a green wrapping.  Stay tuned to for updates from Rio from 15 June to 23 June, as well as  news related to the intertwined issues of forest protection, climate chaos, Indigenous Peoples’ rights, social justice and economic domination that is the mission of Global Justice Ecology Project’s Climate Connections blog.

GJEP Communications Director Jeff Conant will be joining Grassroots Global Justice and the lead climate negotiator of Bolivia to give a briefing on Thursday, 7 June on Rio+20: What civil society is trying to accomplish, why it is important, and how we can do it.

This June, national governments and civil society advisors will gather in Rio de Janeiro for “Rio+20,” one of the largest conferences to discuss the future of the planet, 20 years after the first Earth Summit. One of the principal questions of Rio+20 will be how to lay out a vision for what “sustainable development” will look like in the future, so that economies can grow without harming the environment, a vision the UN is calling the “Green Economy.”

Unfortunately, through endless negotiations, the very meaning of the word “green” has changed, and many proposals at Rio+20 focus on extreme technological “solutions” instead of organic agriculture or relocalized economies. Additionally, many UN officials argue that the only way to protect the environment in the 21st century is to make environmentalism profitable. Market-based “solutions,” ranging from the familiar “cap and trade” for carbon emissions, to the REDD+ program to maintain forests, aim to make environmentalism palatable for corporations. However, what they really do is allow developed countries to continue their polluting while paying developing countries small amounts of money to grow plants to “offset” the pollution.

As with most things at the UN level, decisions made at Rio+20 will have an enormous impact 5 or 10 or 20 years down the road. That is why it is critical for citizens to know how Rio+20 works, what is being debated, and what the stakes are for this debate.
Call number: 800-704-9804; Participant code: 777495#.

Speakers for this education call on Rio+20 include:
– Jeff Conant, Global Justice Ecology Project, to speak about the issues at stake in Rio+20 and the false solutions proposed in the UN’s notion of the “Green Economy.”

– Cindy Wiesner, Grassroots Global Justice Alliance, to speak about the People’s Summit at Rio+20, its methodology, and the goals of civil society and social movements participating.

– Sr. René Orellana (invited), lead climate negotiator for Bolivia at the UN, to speak about the goals of Bolivia and the G77 at Rio+20.

There will be time for questions.

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