By Daniel de la Calle
I am sure you have seen this image all over the media these days. I took it on my way to the airport, the night I was leaving Rio: Fish made out of plastic bottles, illuminated at night. They were placed on Botafogo beach, the nearest beach to downtown Rio de Janeiro, and with iconic Sugarloaf right behind the scene cries for a perfect image that can only be that, picture perfect. The unseen truth is that what would probably be Rio’s most beautiful beach is polluted to the point that nobody dares to ever get in. Sewers and some even more frightening fluids have flown into the small beach for decades, poisoning it to the point of being seriously toxic.
Not far from it tens of thousands of people and hundreds of NGOs gathered, demonstrated, sang and created for over a week very imaginative displays to call for a change, a change that could have happened some 20 miles out of town, in Rio Centro (“Rio Center” or “Rio Downtown”), a center that was strategically placed in a huge enclosed area far from the city of Rio itself. Traffic is notoriously bad heading to the Barra da Tijuca. It can take locals up to two hours to get into town or get back home through the tunnels. But this was no problem for the dignitaries, presidents and decision makers that were to sign “The Future We Want”, since there seemed to be many army helicopters at their disposal to fly over the mountains, avoiding traffic, into quiet Rio Centro.
There is “The Future We Want”, “The Future We Don’t Want” and maybe there should have been “The Only Possible Future”.
The first one is too long a text, so please click on the above link.
“The Only Possible Future” will be written and signed in a hundred years or so. And this below is
(clink to sign the petition) “We – the civil society organizations and social and justice movements who have responded to the call of the United Nations General Assembly to participate in the Rio+20 process – feel that the current state of negotiations severely threatens the future of all people and undermines the relevance and credibility of the United Nations. After more than two years of intense negotiations and millions of dollars invested on the UN CSD 2012 Rio+20 conference, governments are unable and unwilling to reaffirm the commitments on fundamental principles they made in Rio in 1992. Governments must realize that they receive their mandates from their citizenry people and that they must act in its best interest. They must be imbued with a long-term vision, an environmentally-informed mind set, so as to guarantee the sustainable development of civilizations and the best future for all, the future we all really want.
Although governments are apparently unable to resiliently deal with the current global economic crisis (a problem confirmed in the G20 meeting in Mexico this weekend), we believe that this is the perfect moment, with potentially cathartic momentum, to embrace sustainable development, social and environmental justice. This is not the time to abandon it on grounds of austere fiscal policies or allegedly pro-growth pressures in the North. We urge the Government of Brazil, the UNCSD Secretary General and all Member States to stop negotiating their short-term national agendas and to urgently agree now on transitional actions for global sustainable progress. We want governments to deliver the people’s legitimate agenda and the realization of rights, democracy and sustainability, as well as respect for transparency, accountability and the honoring of promises and accomplishments already. Sadly, time is running out. A rushed and weak agreement will be neither acceptable to us nor representative of the future we all want. We urge our fellow 99% citizens of the world to stand up for the future we really want, and not this one, imposed by a few: the 1% negotiators and their elite constituencies. For all, let their voices of the majority finally shape the future.”