Environmentalists, economists, feminists and social activists from all over the world, after many years of criticizing governments are now calling for States to be strengthened as the only way to save the planet, threatened by a whole series of crises in climate, water, food and finances. On Monday, March 7th, sixteen members of the self-appointed Reflection Group on global development perspectives formulated a call to “change the mindset" about environmental and economic problems.
This call is aimed primarily at the negotiators who are preparing the United Nations Summit for Sustainable Development, which will be held in Rio de Janeiro in 2012, twenty years after the “Earth Summit”, where the concept of sustainable development was endorsed and the foundations were laid for conventions on climate change, desertification and deforestation. The changed mindset they are now demanding begins with “restoring public rights over corporate privileges”.
The statement asserts that “unbridled market forces have favoured the strong, thereby widening the economic divide. This requires the State to redress the imbalance, eliminate discrimination, and ensure sustainable livelihoods, decent work and social inclusion. Intergenerational justice requires restraint and responsibility of the present generation. It is urgent to establish more equitable per capita rights towards the global commons and to the emission of greenhouse gases, taking fully into account historical responsibility”. The more developed countries have not accepted these last two principles, and this is what has blocked progress in negotiations about climate change.
The signatories do not adhere to Malthusian ideas about the exhaustion of resources and maintain instead that "knowledge-intensive solutions including technologies are available to restore natural systems, and dramatically reduce pressures on climate and the environment while improving human well-being”. They argue that a “green economy” is possible, but insist that this must be integrated into “a holistic concept of sustainability”. They conclude that what we need “a change of lifestyles”.
To achieve this, “The Rio 2012 Summit must re-affirm the State as the indispensable actor setting the legal frame, enforcing standards of equity and human rights, and fostering long-term ecological thinking, based on democratic legitimacy”.
View the Urgent Appeal to Change the Mindset from here