Posts tagged ‘Rio+20’

David Suzuki: why use nuclear power to boil water?

There is a person that has long pioneered the idea that solutions are in our nature. And he does great in explaining the complexities of the natural world in a compelling, easily understood way. I was around in the talk of Dr. David Suzuki from the David Suzuki Foundation at Rio+20. In this short video, Dr. Suzuki makes a point why nuclear energy is a non-sense.

For more than 30 years, David Suzuki has been the voice for nature in Canada. Born in Vancouver, he was sent to a Japanese internment camp with his family at the age of six, during the Second World War. After the war, Suzuki moved to Ontario, growing up with a passion for nature. This led him to earn a PhD in Zoology from the University of Chicago. Next, he moved back to Canada and started teaching at the University of British Columbia. He also started appearing on television to gain public support for science. By 1971, he had his own show right here. He’s also authored 43 books, with his latest one called “David Suzuki’s Green Guide”, a “how-to” guide to being a green citizen.

Watch the video here.

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June 21, 2012 at 7:39 pm Leave a comment

Hans Herren: In Agriculture, Business as usual is not an option

I met with Dr. Hans Herren at Rio+20, to talk about IAASTD and the way forward. The 1995 World Food Prize Winner didn’t mince his words. “It will take more than just words to change the system”, he told me. According to him, food consumption is the key towards the effective transformation of food production and distribution.

How? By pricing food according to its true cost and value, and by informing consumers of what’s in the food they buy through correct labeling. In other words: ending subsidies to commodity crops, factoring the environmental, social and public health costs of industrial food production into the price tag of food items and labeling GMOs are the name of the game! Watch the video here.

June 21, 2012 at 7:14 pm Leave a comment

Delegates at Rio+20 Have Reached an Agreement

Negotiators and delegates at Rio+20 have reached an agreement and released the final document which is to be approved by world leaders starting 20th June 2012. The document calls for “urgent action with regards to sustainable production and consumption.” Nonetheless, no, specific details or time frame has been given for the implementation of this agreement.

With regards to agriculture, the document has recognized the role of traditional sustainable agriculture practices including traditional seed systems for local communities as well as the role of women in the advancement of sustainable agriculture. In this regard, if the agreement is successfully implemented, the world will have made a giant step towards ecological and social intensification on agriculture.

The delegates have also recommended that action be taken, to improve agricultural research, extension, training and education with an aim to improve productivity and sustainability.  Let’s hope that the momentum of the draft of the paper will still be present in some weeks! and that it will reach politicians especially in Europe and the US who have not even signed the IAASTD (International Assessment of Agricultural Knowledge, Science and Technology for Development).Want to learn more about the agreement? Go to http://www.uncsd2012.org/content/documents/727The%20Future%20We%20Want%2019%20June%201230pm.pdf

June 20, 2012 at 11:00 pm Leave a comment

Youth are beating the drum at the Peoples Summit

There is a huge distance separating the Peoples Summit and the Riocentro convention center where world leaders are meeting for Rio+20. And this distance is not only in terms of kilometers, but also political. Parallel to the high level negotiations, the Peoples Summit hosted an array of events in a more informal setting. Some claim that the actual solutions are being formed there, through day-to-day interactions by members of the civil society.

Several demonstrations also took place throughout the city and the Peoples Summit. The protagonists are the youth, full in their colour, enthusiasm, creativity and brio. Beating the drum for positive changes towards to a greener, more just, happier world.

Watch the video here.

June 20, 2012 at 12:26 pm Leave a comment

What do the Youth Want from Rio+20?

With the United Nations Conference for Sustainable Development just around the corner, different groups are doing their best to make sure their agendas for Rio+20 are heard. While there are some interesting agendas out there, I wish to focus on the youth agenda for Rio+20. In the past, youth were often mistaken for being lazy and uninterested in what is going on around them. However, the reality was that the youth lacked the opportunity to participate since many people did not believe in them.

That was of course until the preparations for the Rio+20 conferences began and United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki Moon specifically asked the youth to bring “dynamic new ideas, fresh thinking and energy to the Rio+20 process.” In addition, Mr. Ban on 17th May 2012 asked the youth to “make some noise” so as to speed up negotiations ahead of the conference as he was disappointed that the negotiations were not moving fast enough. Click here to read Ban Ki Moon’s speech in full. A United Nations Major Group of Children and Youth was formed so as to act the official voice of young people in sustainability negotiations.

Taking up Mr. Ban Ki Moon’s invitation to participate in the Rio+20 process, the youth, through the Major Group for Children and Youth have spoken up about what they are hoping to gain from Rio+20. The youth want:

  • Sustainable food systems which produce adequate and healthy food for everyone.
  • Elimination of harmful subsidies in agriculture, energy and fisheries
  • A reduction in unemployment. Governments need to create green jobs which will help to reduce youth unemployment
  • Support for education for sustainable development. This includes integrating Education for Sustainable Development into formal learning and supporting non-formal methods of Education for Sustainable Development.
  • Involved of all relevant stakeholders in environmental conservation
  • Promotion of sustainable use of water resources
  • Promotion of renewable energy and energy efficiency
  • Sustainably planned cities
  • Improved national healthcare systems
  • Sustainable tourism which encourages community participation.

Make you voice heard today at Rio+20 by voting for the future you want at http://vote.riodialogues.org/. Also, check out what Ban Ki Moon has said about the future he wants.

Book mark this blog because in the next days, we shall be giving you real time information on what is happening at the Rio+20 conference.

June 14, 2012 at 8:59 pm Leave a comment

My World on Earth: voices from the favela in Rio+20

Following several months of an online survey, where 2000 youth were asked to indicate the most important challenges for humanity today, an open debate was organized in the heart of Favela Babilônia, Rio de Janeiro. The discussion organized by ICA – Information, Knoweldge & Attitude, was designed to stimulate youth to critically reflect on their daily actions and their impacts on the environment. Opinions, attitudes, and a resolution to be delivered to heads of states.

I was there, and had the opportunity to open a discussion about our food choices and how they impact the society, the economy and the planet. Watch the video here.

June 12, 2012 at 11:34 pm Leave a comment

The food shed- or why the Young Organics already save the world!

by Zoe Heuschkelhttp://www.woche-der-umwelt.de/inc/phpThumb/phpThumb.php?src=/media/0506120542566o9q.jpg&w=700

On June 5th the President  of Germany kicked off the “Week of the Environment” in “his garden” at Schloss Bellevue in Berlin. But I could see neither much  of a garden or much of environment.

The reason for my participation was that our project about the Future of Food had been invited to host an expert forum on sustainable agriculture in the scope of the Rio+20 summit.

The food shed

By far the most intriguing presentation was given once again by Vandana Shiva. She talked about an idea that came up in the late 1920´s and translated it into our time: the “food shed” theory. In 1929 Walter P. Hedden published the book “How great cities are fed” where he discusses the necessity of big cities to feed their inhabitants by using resources from the surrounding areas. Today, Vandana Shiva pointed out, there seems to be a strong relation between the size of a city and the distance food is travelling before it reaches the city:  “the bigger the city, the longer the travel” she said. Why do we eat food that has been transported  for 10.000km instead of tapping into local suppliesVandana suggested tocreate more self-sufficiency and “food sheds” that would not see food come from into the city from far away.

How Young Organics already save the world

Our gardening plot in Bonn will not feed the city, it  hardly can supply enough food for all the gardeners, but it it is a sign. Sustainability issues are  negotiated in Rio or elsewhere, and the message is clear: we need to take over  responsibility: for our own consumption, for the planet and for future generations. Young Organics gardening fits into a global pattern of people’s actions related to take over responsibility for our own nutrition. We might not be gardening experts, farmers or horticulturists and sometimes we get overwhelmed by slugs, rabbits and other uninvited guests, but we want to take on responsibility for our food system.

We get in touch with the soil again, we gain and share experiences and learn while aiming to contribute to a more sustainable future of the planet. We meet and exchange, enjoy and work together and maybe someday  we will be able to feed ourselves. And make our peace with the slugs.

What did I learn?

1)      If you want to get your seats filled- invite Vandana Shiva for your event

2)      We need to make peace with our planet. The struggle for the survival of the fittest species has ended and if we continue fighting we will eradicate ourselves from the planet.

3)      It is time to accept that we are responsible for our nutrition. We can not continue to simply hand over all decisions on how our food is produced.

We live in a wonderful and terribly crazy world – instead of being terrible we should focus on being wonderfully crazy!

June 12, 2012 at 8:21 pm Leave a comment