UN Rio+20 Sustainable Development Summit: So What’s It All About?
Mothers, bloggers, global energy and policy experts, mom advocacy groups and others gathered in our community last Thursday for a live chat. The UN Foundation’s Aaron Sherinian, Vice President of Communications and Public Relations and Richenda Van Leeuwen, Executive Director, Energy & Climate, Energy Access Initiative, were joined by our guest co-hosts from Moms Clean Air Force, Moms Rising and Mom Bloggers for Social Good to discuss what the Rio+20 Summit means for us and the rest of the planet.
Here are a few highlights from the discussion and ways you can get engaged in this historical Summit taking place in Rio, Brazil June 20-22nd.
It is imperative as mothers that we have a say in the Future We Want.
Mothers, energy, sustainability - they're all linked!
What is Rio+20?
Rio+20…is a meeting about your future...our future…It is about taking a big-picture, long-term view of how everything interrelates.
We all care about our children and grandchildren and want them to have access to clean water, healthcare, adequate food, to have an education and to be safe. It's about equity but it's also about access.
The focus of Rio + 20 is a future we want, not necessarily what we want/need now.
What will happen at the Summit?
There is a formal negotiation process that will result in a document that will provide high-level guidance to the UN and governments on top line actions.
…BIG issues are finally on the table and have to be addressed. Last time around (20 years ago) there wasn't a consensus about the need for a sustainable energy future, the need for us to ensure women have access to the health services they want and need, or the opportunity to get innovative solutions (like clean cookstoves) even higher on the global agenda.
One…thing that will come out of the meeting will be a signal that the world is not doing "business as usual" and we cannot afford to ignore a new model that is coming forward…It’s not just NGOs or governments...but also big businesses that are realizing we cannot go on like this. The table that Rio+20 lays out has a seat for each of these people...and for us.
Companies are realizing that they have much to gain from sustainably operating their businesses. A lot of business' response is a result of consumer demand. At least here in the U.S., we're still not seeing much legislative progress. But the marketplace has been a powerful driver.
The market place is key and we can all play a part in that in our own choices. But equally importantly (Rio+20) is an opportunity for all of us to…focus on the changes we want to see and how we can come together to deliver them.
What Can We Do?
2012 is an election year in the US, how can we as parents get more attention to sustainability issues…How do we amplify our voices over the conference, put that message of hope out there…?
We can focus on the implementation at government levels, but it's something we can work on in our own communities.
We need to let our governments know right now, at this very moment, that this document is not just between a small group of people. Our eyes are on this...and they cannot treat it lightly. It needs to be bold, serious, and long-term.
American citizens have to let their elected reps know that they are checking out their voting records on clean air, water, and other environmental issues.
Use Your Voice Online
People who understand the power of Social Media can really change the outcome of this summit. For the first time ever, this Summit is not about VIPs...because we all are VIPs when we bring our networks, our FB friends, our Tweeps, and everyone else with us to follow the event...
Social media as a factor was totally absent last time around…society was just figuring out how to get in the room, but not at the table…WE need to work together!! Tweet together, FB together while the world is watching…
Getting smart on these issues means sharing what you all know...regardless of where you live or what you do…you may be the difference between this Summit being good...and being truly global.
How can those of us, particularly parent/green bloggers get information about what is going on in RIO and how can we participate in a meaningful getting the message out on the topics!
Rio+Social! It's a way to bring everyone's voices...and your voices...into the mix.
1) Check out www.rioplussocial.com. Like/Follow and add any information you or your group is doing.
2) Join us June 19th and watch Rio+Social live and let people know that even though you are not an official delegate to the Summit...YOU have a seat at the table.
Join Rio+Social Twitter chat Tuesday June 12th 9am-12om ET #RioPluSocial
I'll be tweeting about energy and how it affects us all regularly from Rio so I invite you to follow @VanLeeuwenR
We are crowdsourcing a 6-minute speech in honor of a brave young girl who made a speech 20 years ago to put the world on notice that this stuff matters…help compose this speech…that will be delivered in advance of the summit. Tell us what matters to you. This is one of the best ways we can…tell world leaders you are watching.
We have new initiatives on energy we're working on with (rock/pop band) Linkin Park that can get kids engaged too! www.powertheworld.org
Small actions lead to collective awareness. That awareness definitely reaches the ears of decision makers. It's our responsibility to sustain the conversation.
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