Alternative voices from Rio+20

While world leaders negotiate in the Rio+20 meeting halls, thousands of activists have launched ‘The People’s Summit’.

AlJazeera – Rio de Janeiro, Brazil –  “The development – the drilling, mining and damming – is affecting everyone, our communities and the Earth, our home and the only planet we have.”

The piercing voice of 11-year-old T’Kaiya is enough to grab the attention of delegates passing by. With the aptitude of a seasoned speaker, this young delegate from Canada comfortably commanded the following of environmental activists staging a sit-in at the Rio+20 conference.

T’Kaiya is in Rio to represent the Indigenous Environmental Network and to speak out against the controversial tar sands project being planned by an energy transport company, Enbridge, that involves a pipeline from the Alberta tar sands to the Pacific northwest coast of Canada.

“This pipeline puts in jeopardy, thousands of streams, 45 different indigenous cultures that have been practiced by my ancestors and their ancestors. I am shocked that people would jeopardise such pristine beauty and put a price tag on it,” T’Kaiya told Al Jazeera.

The wisdom emanating this young mind would leave many of the negotiators in the “green” rooms of Rio grappling for answers.

She is joined by more than 200 civil society groups that have travelled from all over the world.

Even before the UN Conference on Sustainable Development, also called Rio+20, commenced on June 20, hundreds of non-governmental groups focused on ecology, climate change and development gathered for a counter-conference that they named “The People’s Summit” – an alternative to the UN mechanisms that have yet to produce the needed results called for at the 1992 Earth Summit, which also took place in Rio….

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