Time Out Rio de Janeiro

Rio+20

With the planet's health in mind, tens of thousands fly into Rio for ten days of conferences, lectures, workshops and offshoot events ahead of the 20 June summit, but can anyone solve the seemingly unsolvable?


The Rio+20 Summit | The People's Summit | Rio+SocialPlasticity 
Planeta no Parque | All Rio+20 parallel events


Rio de Janeiro's beaches in 2012 are cleaner, the Lagoa healthier, the hills safer and the air more breathable than they have been at any point since the last time the UN gathered on these shores for the 1992 Earth Summit. On a global scale, however, little has tangibly changed since. What hope, then, that future generations will look back at Rio+20 as a key turning point in what would appear to be our determined full-steam ahead towards irreversible global warming?

For its part, Rio maybe cleaner, but it isn't necessarily greener. Claims that the 2016 Olympics will be the most environmentally conscious Games ever are grand statements but require action, planning, and a huge level of investment. The recent closure of Latin America's largest landfill site on the outskirts of Rio and continued efforts to reduce plastic bag consumption are evidence of a swing in the right direction, but the pollution of the city's lakes and Guanabara Bay still needs to be urgently addressed. The very fact that the Myor granted the city's public workers a three-day holiday at the behest of the President in order to ease traffic problems around an event that an estimated 80 percent of the population know nothing about, tells its own story about the challenges that lie ahead.

Central to any lasting policy arising from the 2012 UN Conference on Sustainable Development has to be a level of flexibility that allows for initiatives to be adopted across the globe. Developed and developing nations alike must be afforded time to implement change in a thorough and visible fashion, that will in turn engender a change of perspective within from their respective populations. The question remains, however, whether the foresight required by both ends of the global economy will also be in attendance.

What Rio+20 will be able to achieve beyond any doubt is the stimulation of another round of global thought, discussion and debate about the state of the planet, from the highest tiers of government to the feeds, walls and corners of the social media networks.


The Rio+20 Summit | The People's Summit | Rio+SocialPlasticity 
Planeta no Parque | All Rio+20 parallel events

Words by Time Out Rio de Janeiro editors
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