Preparing fro Rio+20

Twenty years ago, a 12-year-old girl stood before government officials from most of the world's countries and pleaded for her future. Worried about pollution and overuse of natural resources on her finite planet, she begged, "If you don't know how to fix it, please don't break it." The occasion was the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, which ended with the world's countries committing -- at least on paper -- to make environmental concerns a priority and eliminate unsustainable forms of production and consumption. Above all, delegates agreed that development must not jeopardize the welfare of future generations." Reminding the grownups in the room that their children and grandchildren deserved a decent life, too, the girl asked, "Are we even on your list of priorities?" Canadian Severn Cullis-Suzuki -- who pleaded on behalf of her generation then and who now has a toddler and an infant of her own -- will return to Rio in late June, when delegates gather again to try to map a sustainable course for the world's 7 billion people. The theme is one often raised by Pope Benedict XVI. During a Sunday blessing last November, he urged delegates to an international climate conference to consider "the needs of the poorest and future generations." A few days later, he told young Italian members of a Franciscan environmental group, "There is no good future for humanity or for the earth unless we educate everyone toward a style of life that is more responsible toward the created world." Many observers, however, are dubious that delegates in Rio will map a route toward that lifestyle. So far, negotiators have failed to agree on the summit document, which was supposed to be 90 percent complete before the summit begins; an additional writing session was scheduled May 29-June 2.

Comments are automatically closed two weeks after an article's initial publication. See our comments policy for more.

Advertisement
Advertisement

The latest from america

 10.17.2018 Pope Francis greets Cardinal Blase J. Cupich of Chicago before a session of the Synod of Bishops on young people, the faith and vocational discernment at the Vatican Oct. 16. (CNS photo/Vatican Media)
“We take people where they are, walking with them, moving forward,” Cardinal Blase Cupich said.
Michael J. O’LoughlinOctober 20, 2018
Catherine Pakaluk, who currently teaches at the Catholic University of America and holds a Ph.D. in Economics from Harvard University, describes her tweet to Mr. Macron as “spirited” and “playful.”
Emma Winters October 19, 2018
A new proposal from the Department of Homeland Security could make it much more difficult for legal immigrants to get green cards in the United States. But even before its implementation, the proposal has led immigrants to avoid receiving public benefits.
J.D. Long-GarcíaOctober 19, 2018
 Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, then nuncio to the United States, and then-Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick of Washington, are seen in a combination photo during the beatification Mass of Blessed Miriam Teresa Demjanovich at the Cathedral Basilica of the Sacred Heart in Newark, N.J., Oct. 4, 2014. (CNS photo/Gregory A. Shemitz)
In this third letter Archbishop Viganò no longer insists, as he did so forcefully in his first letter, that the restrictions that he claimed Benedict XVI had imposed on Archbishop McCarrick—one he alleges that Pope Francis later lifted—can be understood as “sanctions.”
Gerard O’ConnellOctober 19, 2018