Today marks the start of Rio+20. At the conference, world leaders, along with thousands of participants from governments, the private sector, NGOs and other groups, are coming together to try to shape how we can reduce poverty, advance social equity and ensure environmental protection on an ever more crowded planet.
As we’ve come to expect with these global conferences, the shopping list is long, but some people are going to go home disappointed. Despite this, it is a real opportunity for advancement to be made and we should be expecting progress in one form or another.
Poverty, social equity and the environment are key Biblical themes, so it is good to see Christian Aid on the ground at Rio. They’re providing a blog to keep us up-to-date. You can also find out there if your MP has signed the Stop Climate Chaos Coalition’s Rio-UK Declaration to show their support. The Stop Climate Chaos Coalition is made up of over 100 organisations and charities including Christian Aid, Cafod and Tearfund. This is the declaration:
“The UK should lead the world in the transition to a fair and green economy, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, protecting biodiversity and creating jobs and opportunities to reduce poverty and inequality here and overseas. The Rio+20 summit is an important milestone for this ambition, and the UK should engage constructively, with a view to uniting governments across the world behind a vision for a global green and fair economy which benefits all people.
We must lead by example at home by delivering on the commitments in our groundbreaking Climate Change Act whilst showing international leadership to increase the EU’s 2020 climate targets. At the same time we must help the world’s poorest communities adapt to the effects of climate change, invest in getting clean energy to all people, and protect rainforests.”
So far 72 MPs have signed it. The list is here. If yours hasn’t, it’s not too late to pester them.
Our Government might not be getting everything right when it comes to addressing these issues, but they are doing a lot better than many other countries and for this we should be grateful and support them. Nick Clegg talked to the BBC today about what he hopes to achieve in Rio.
The BBC has also put together an interesting piece on what has changed since the last Earth Summit in Rio twenty years ago. Lots of interesting infographics and statistics to make you think.
The Church of England, as is usually the case, has chipped in with its thoughts and hopes for Rio+20. The Christian Post fills us in on the details.
Finally there are plenty of newspaper articles on the summit to read ranging from the pessimistic to the hopeful, but I’ve picked out one of the more positive ones by Paddy Ashdown in the Telegraph which encourages world leaders to consider what can be achieved rather than what can’t and the need for our leaders to dream of a better future. I admire his optimism. Our leaders need strength of character and a desire to see change. Let’s pray that lasting good will come from this summit.