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Reposted from boatsie by boatsie

A fabulous event Friday night in San Francisco as environmental superstar Paul Hawken spoke about the state of the world 100 days out from Rio+20.  Hawken was on hand to introduce UK Barrister and ecocide advocate Polly Higgins on the last leg of her fundraising trip through NorCal and Canada.

Without doubt, the most enervating aspect of Hawken's musings was his perception that we have already arrived at the place we have for so long been dreading: climate change is happening, has happened.  We are now living in a modern day dark ages, most of us unaware or in denial because we have so successfully been distracted by a universe of diversions courtesy of the technological revolution.

Hawken's message was one of hope. There is a great relief, this shrugging off of the dread. This "letting go" of this oppressive weight of our fear of the future opens us up, lightens us to recognize and respond to the potential of transformation.  To change the game plan, alter the rules, reframe the debate and thus begin the work for tomorrow today. Wow! I was inspired.

Through the dung and dust, through the density of the disaster, lights are shining. Higgins' work, he said, is one of those lights.

Now,  Sven was there and I'm sure he has a great deal more to add to this posting and the transcript of both Hawken's and Higgins presentations will be available later this week. But I use this here to segue into news on actions on the 100th day before Rio+20.

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Reposted from EcoJustice by boatsie

Bangladesh UN Under-Secretary-General Anwarul K. Chwodhury sure wasn't a happy camper last week when he portrayed the Fourth United Nations Conference on the Least Developed Countries (LDCs) as "permeated by a mood of desperation and disappointment." Insisting that negotiators address the root causes of poverty as opposed to 'band-aiding' over the symptoms, Chwodhury anticipated no meaningful action would occur at LDC-IV in Istanbul.

The LDC-IV was a stepping stone en route to next year’s Rio+20, the UN Conference on Sustainable Development, which will focus on the Green Economy in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication. Also on the agenda?  The design and agreement on an international framework for sustainable development.

Chwodhury says the 880 million people currently residing in 48 LDCs remain the voiceless and the most marginalized, not worthy of attention until "they are engulfed in conflict or devastated by natural disasters."

LDC delegates in attendance at LDC-IV suggested the current attitude exhibited by development partners is best expressed by the "4Ds" -- “deny, dilute, delay and divide."

In recent years, the global situation, of course, has changed in a negative way requiring a new and innovative approach to structure the possible outcome in Istanbul.  Unfortunately, this has not been the case and the preparations took the path of working on an outcome that lacked any spark worthwhile for energizing the LDCs and as a result, the usual, insensitive bickering of the United Nations negotiating process has been visible all through. This unfortunately manifested its worst face when the expression "development partners" present in all previous LDCs-related documents of the UN came under serious and persistent challenge from the long-recognized donor countries. See MAJOR SALVAGING NEEDED FOR LDC IV IN ISTANBUL

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Rio Earth Summit 2012

Rio+20 marks the 20th anniversary of the initial 1992 Rio Earth Summit, which first introduced the vital need for sustainable development onto the world's stage.  Next year's conference, already well under development, is designed to reignite dwindling political commitment and evaluate progress towards "internationally agreed-upon sustainable development goals" while addressing emerging challenges.   (Further Information: Earth Summit 2012 Process & Roadmap and U.N. Resolution A/RES/64/236.)

Underlying the major themes of Rio+20 are the high significance of gender equity. Educating women to play significant roles in the economic empowerment is viewed as integral to scaffolding an adequate 21st century model for sustainable development which would necessarily incorporate a reduction of global poverty.

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LDC-IV Conclusions

Reports from LDC-IV, which ended last Friday, revealed fiercely honest evaluations, most specifically that the conference not only failed to meet the expectations of the LDCs, it also fell woefully short of its UN General Assembly mandate.

The Istanbul Political Declaration was highly critical of "flaws and shortcomings of the model of development promoted by dominant players in the international community." The IPD demanded a shift to a New International Support Architecture, a development model that would fundamentally transform  "the relations between rich and poor, powerful and powerless, men and women, the elites and those without resources, the dominant and the marginalised."

We strongly believe that it is important to base development on LDCs’ strengths and not on their weaknesses. Countries may be categorized as ‘poor’ according to UN criteria, but they are rich in many important aspects – in community cohesion, in natural resources and being able to live in harmony with our natural world, in diverse cultures and in human dignity. And especially in the growing numbers of young women and men who have huge potential and hopes for a better future. In many ways, our societies are the most developed countries, not the least developed.

.... But the LDCs are economically disadvantaged, exploited and marginalised. As part of the preparation for this conference, civil society engaged in an extensive process of listening to the concerns of the people in the LDCs through local, national and regional consultations in Africa, Asia and the Pacific. These highlighted the greater burdens that the marginalized and vulnerable peoples of LDCs have had to face in the last decade, with new crises of food, water and energy, the impacts of the financial crisis, and the intensification of the climate crisis. There is deep fear over an uncertain future even as there is determination to survive.

(snip)

We are calling for the Istanbul consensus to constitute a clear rejection of the Washington consensus. Government policy should be based on participative national development strategies that focus on each country’s vision and core strengths. We must build jobs and opportunities for the sustainable use of our oil, our mineral wealth, our land, our forests, our fish and other natural resources, protecting the rights of traditional owners and users of the resources, adding value and insisting on fair prices. Diversification of our economies will require government leadership to build a strong domestic economy, with particular emphasis on creating opportunities for cooperatives and social enterprises, small and medium companies and women-led organisations. The rights of vulnerable and marginalised people must be put at the centre of economic decision-making, with stronger mechanisms for transparency, integrity and accountability.

(See also Highlights of the LDC Conference Programme of Action)

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UN Women, the newest UN agency, was represented at LDC-IV by Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director Ms. Michelle Bachelet. Bachelet spoke on women migrant workers; most specifically, their rights, challenges and labor and social protections.  

“Migration and development is attracting the attention of more and more players, particularly as it affects LDCs,” she said.  “For UN Women this has two essential elements: protecting migrant women’s rights and enabling them to contribute more fully to economic development." Link

In summarizing the conference, Bakary Kante, UNEP Director of the Division of Environmental Law and Conventions, acknowledged the vast discrepancies between traditional thinking on economic growth and sustainable development and the disproportionate impact on LDCs due to environmental and climate change.  

“We know that we need to grow our economies in order to lift more people out of poverty and find decent jobs for the 1.3 billion young people underemployed or unemployed-especially in the developing and in particular in the Least Developed Countries,” he said. “But that growth needs to become far more intelligent on a planet of around seven billion people, rising to nine or ten billion in 2050.

"If not, the risks, shocks and unpredictability of food, fuel and other commodity prices witnessed over the past two to three years are likely to become ever more extreme and socially challenging."

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Reposted from Daily Kos by boatsie

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The United Nations Environment Program came out with an important report this week. Decoupling Natural Resource Use and Environmental Impacts from Economic Growth" [150-page pdf presents three scenarios for 2050. If humanity continues to use resources as inefficiently as it does now, it will be consuming three times more natural resources than it does today because of growth in population and prosperity. That is, 140 billion tons annually of minerals, ores, biomass and fossil fuels.  Which is unsustainable. At the other extreme, resource consumption could be returned to 2000 levels with restrictive regulations, 50 billion tons annually. But the authors of the report say the chances of that are highly unlikely because politicians simply will not go along with such unappealing rules. And, they say, even cutting back that much wouldn't be sustainable, according to some scientists.

Co-lead author Mark Swilling from the University of Stellenbosch, South Africa, explained what would drive the surge in demand for resources.
"The reality is that there is another billion middle-class consumers on the way as a result of rapid industrialisation in developing countries," he told BBC News.

So, what to do? Some optimism on that score appeared in another UNEP report, this one published in February, Visions for Change — Recommendations for Effective Policies on Sustainable Lifestyles. The recommendations are based on a survey of 8000 young adults from countries as diverse as Australia and Vietnam. The survey, Global Survey for Sustainable Lifestyles, found that young people see poverty and environmental degradation as the world's two greatest challenges. Among the findings:

• Although most young people consider environmental degradation as one of the top two global challenges, this varies from region to region; 82.3 per cent of young people in Australia, 73.8 per cent in Vietnam and 71.1 per cent in Sweden consider environmental degradation as one of the top two global challenges, while only 42.4 per cent in Egypt, 38 per cent in Brazil and 34.2 in Argentina do so. 


• Young adults are very satisfied with their lives, with only a few of them dreaming of luxury lifestyles, but they still seek financial, social, environmental and personal security. They want to live in a clean environment, as opposed to chaotic and polluted urban areas, and be closer to nature, particularly in developing/emerging countries like Brazil, Vietnam and Lebanon.

• Young people want local options that they can include in their daily lives: Asked to react to sustainability scenarios -mobility (car sharing, bicycle centre, car pooling), food (urban gardens, vegetable bag subscription, family take-away) and housekeeping (collective laundry, urban composting, energy management) - most young people choose the bicycle centre, urban gardens and urban composting. This shows the need to have initiatives that are involving but not intrusive, where they can interact and participate at the local level. .

At the time the report was issued, Tim Jackson, a professor at the University of Surrey, which is a partner in the Global Survey for Sustainable Lifestyles, said:

"Our responsibility to future generations rests on building strong and credible visions of a sustainable future and the GSSL has taken a first important step in this direction. Visions for Change shows genuine seeds of real hope and that hope may be the most powerful resource at our disposal."

That may sound like a revved-up version of the truism, "children are the future." But for a world on the brink, the survey injected some optimism that the up-and-coming generation maybe gets it a lot better than the ones now in charge.

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Green Diary Rescue is a regular Saturday afternoon feature of Daily Kos. Inclusion of a particular diary does not necessarily indicate my agreement with it. The GDR begins below and continues by category in the jump.

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ban nock posted a Great Goshawk Video

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