Capital Ethiopia Newspaper

RIO – 20

The largest gathering ever organized by the United Nations system was held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil last month. It brought in more than 50,000 participants from all corners of the globe. The conference that was christened ‘Rio + 20’ (long before the actual event) however ended up as a grand fiasco, measured by its substantive non-achievements, just as most predicted, including us. The intransigence and continuous bickering of the politicos of the global nation-states proved, yet again, an insurmountable obstacle to addressing, potentially the most dangerous and challenging reality collective humanity has ever faced. Alas, for the politicos of our time the business of life, its preservation and reproduction, proved not as important as the reproduction of the profit system!
On the other hand and at the same time, the real summit that seriously deliberated on the big issues in Rio was that of the ‘Peoples Summit.’ The perpetual failure of the global inter-state system to deal with the critical problems of our era, at long last, is triggering actions by global grass root communities. The idea is to embark on a different route that should not take the politicos and their archaic governance structures/institutions on board. In other words, the global population is now ready to take matters on its own hand, without unduly relying on the politicos of the nation-states. Finally our cry has been heard, these are the kind of things we have been recommending ever since the failure of the Copenhagen summit.
Here is Vandana Shiva’s assessment of the Rio conference. ‘The appropriate agenda for Rio+20 should have been to assess why the implementation of Rio treaties has been inadequate, report on how the crises have deepened and offer legally binding targets to avoid deepening of the ecological crises. The entire energy of the official process was focused on how to avoid any commitment. Rio+20 will be remembered for what it failed to do during a period of severe and multiple crises and not for what it achieved.’ That is why activists rechristened the conference as Rio-20.
Some of the committed global articulators/intellectuals/activists, etc who have been liaisoning with global powers on matters of current dislocations; environment, economics, politics, culture, etc finally decided to move away from their usual constructive engagements with the powers that be. To this end, one well-known group drafted a manifesto calling on the global populace to take up grass root democracy (participatory) as a weapon against the complacency of entrenched interests.
From the states’ side, Rio was again full of vacuous rhetoric; ‘green economy’, blah, blah. The only saving grace came from the smaller nations. Amongst them, Bhutan and Ecuador deserve special mention. Ecuador has already included in its very constitution, the inalienable right of Mother Nature. Moreover, its current president has asserted that Ecuador’s oil that is underneath the Amazon basin will not be extracted, irrespective of the market’s desire. Bhutan on its part decided to recalibrate growth and development, not as a mere increase in GDP, but more as a system that encourages organic life. Talk about defying ‘The Machine!’
The month of June 2012 has registered over 3000 new weather records in the US alone! At the same time the corporate media in the US is trying hard to explain away the sweltering heat and the scorched earth (threatening a new ‘dust bowl’) as just once in a blue moon happenstance. The systemic disconnect that is vividly displayed by the global status quo is truly terrifying. To try to connect the visible weather change to climate change is considered a mortal sin by those who own the global broadcasting outlets. A weather man/women trying to do just that in the media will have to kiss his/her job good bye!
Nevertheless, don’t expect the global beast (human mass) to take all these insults directed at its collective intellect lying down. There will be a vigorous resurgence of grass root movements (as we are already witnessing) to address the grave dislocations of the prevailing modern world system. Here is a sample of what is to come.
“The problem goes beyond parties and politicians. It’s the system . . . . All our politicians are in the pocket of elites who own, lobby, litigate, bully and bribe their way into every element of our lives. Even single cell organisms unite and fight for survival when their species is threatened.”
-Kim Hunter, British Columbia Artist and Activist. Good day!