Some thought provoking moments, ideas and statements that were shared there:
- Mr Edmunds Sprūdžs, the Minister of Environmental Protection and Regional Development, says that Latvia has achieved a lot already, so his speech will most probably be selling 'ourselves', showing off the progress. He believes that Latvia could try a little 'aggressive' tactics when asking others to act towards sustainable development. Mr Sprūdžs hopes to give a speech that will make others to remember Latvia after the conference.
Well, we don't even recycle properly here. We don't have hybrid or electric cars on our roads. We have hardly few places where renewable energy like sun and wind is collected.. I don't think we can rest on what nature has given us per se like biodiversity and forests. Latvia is a beautiful, green country and we try not to spoil it. But I would not say that we have progressed that much, even though Yale says so..
- Both Mr Sprūdžs and Mr Jurijs Spiridonovs who also represented political side of panel, both agreed that most important for Latvia will be meeting other leaders of states, bilateral meetings with for example Japan, and meetings with various NGOs. Connections is going to be the biggest gain from the conference rather than a document or speeches.
I could agree that meetings, connections are going to be most important, since I'm not so optimistic on either the necessity or content of a new document or those speeches there. It's all political blaaahblahablaaah that we are expecting from there, unfortunately. What I really hope for is that governments and Mr Sprūdžs himself as well are going to take on board what Civil Society has to say, what we, people, have declared we want for our future in documents like we created last July here, and thoughts that are played in videos, statements etc.
- Mr Jānis Ulme from Zemes Draugi- Friends of Earth in Latvia- had more down to earth approach reminding us about the various dangers on what's going on in Rio. One of them is talking about Green Economy that has no definition or real meaning, everyone uses this label on whatever he decides with no regulation, so basically it means just blahblahblaaa again. Negotiators on the outcome document can't agree on text yet, so that shows a lot. Another risky point is the perception that we need a new document. We don't, we haven't yet managed the previous ones, we just put them somewhere aside without saying.
I can totally relate to all what Mr Ulme said in these terms. One of my university teachers once said- we don't need to start writing a new convention, we need to start implementing the existing one and it will have immense effect (we were discussing genocide, war crime, torture topics). What happened to conventions our predecessors agreed on 1992? What about the Agenda 21? The new document should be an agreement to bind us all together to actually implement those, fill the criteria.
- Mr Ulme and Ms Ērika Lagzdiņa, director of Regional Environmental Centre for Eastern and Central Europe, both had some discussion on the participation of the civil society in Rio and decision making processes on sustainability issues. While Ms Lagzdiņa mentioned that original Earth Summit was a revolutionary moment when finally public voice was taken into account, Mr Ulme reminded Copenhagen and latest occasions when NGOs and acting individuals were not only left out of the process but also denied the access and their right to express themselves.
I must admit this was one of the most scary thoughts- that our ideas, our actions would not be heard, not taken into account? I felt so sure, knowing, that there's this buzz around Rio+20, events and actions taking place during at least a month, not just those two days in June... should we feel worried that our documents are never read, videos never seen, statements not taken seriously? I hope not and I am positive that this time 'they' will hear us.
20 Years ago 'they' agreed that Climate change is real, environmental damage, depletion and poverty is real and it is time to change our habits, our lives, time for sustainable development. Unfortunately they did let the large oil money color their glasses, they let enormous TNCs (Trans-National Companies) to lead their greedy way instead. This is the very last moment to stop it. This is the last train we must jump in to be able to grant our grandchildren their future.
I don't want to be remembered by my kids as one of those people who "could have made a difference". I don't want to be one of those who let others make wrong choices that will destroy our planet and take the chance of life away from our future generations.
We all have to do something. And some of those things are not going to be easy. That's why we have those governments "up there"- to help us do it. We just have to ask them. Louder and probably many times. But we should ask them as many times as it takes- we want sustainable future, fair, clean and balanced lives.