Tomorrow is the start of the Rio Earth Summit 2012. Here are some ideas to help us imagine what an environmentally caring world might look like ...
1. The Rights of Nature
We are all part of Mother Earth, an indivisible, living community of interrelated and interdependent beings with a common destiny ...
- Universal Declaration of the Rights of Mother Earth
We know about human rights, childrens rights, animal rights. The idea of Rights of Nature extends the idea further. The initial idea came from indigenous groups, who have probably suffered the most from degradation of land and loss of biodiversity. So far only Bolivia and Ecuador have formally enshrined nature rights in their constitutions.
|A Better Use, Gianfranco Uber, Italy, March 2012|
2. An Ombudsperson for Future Generations
The trouble with democratically elected politicians is short-term thinking and planning, based on their desire to win the next election. A new independent office in the UN has been proposed, to consider the long term impact of decisions on future generations. A similar office already exists in Hungary.
|Thinking of Alternatives, Vladimir Kazanevsky, Ukraine, September 2011|
3. Food Sovereignty
Food security is about the amount of food produced. Food sovereignty is about how it's produced and who controls it. Food sovereignty is about the rights of people to control their own food, agriculture, livestock and fisheries systems, instead of being dependent on market forces that they can't control. It therefore stands in opposition to the powerful interests of agribusiness - which means a tough struggle ahead!
|Food Prices, Alfredo Martirena, Cuba, March 2012|
4. Eradicating Ecocide
'Ecocide is the extensive damage to, destruction of, or loss of ecosystems of a given territory, whether by human agency or other causes, to such an extent that peaceful enjoyment by the inhabitants of that territory has been severely diminished.' Examples of ecocide are Tar Sands extraction and Amazonian deforestation.
A current initiative is calling for Ecocide to be added as a fifth Crime Against Peace, alongside Crimes Against Humanity, War Crimes, Crimes of Aggression and Genocide. The hope is that the legislation would deter people from engaging in such environmentally destructive activities because of the undesirable personal consequences to them.
|Unsustainable, Arcadio Esquivel, Costa Rica, January 2012|