Sarah Reader from the World Development Movement reported on her visit to the People’s Summit that ran in parallel with the official Earth Summit (Rio +20) in June this year.
Sarah showed a video of her protest in Rio at Nick Clegg’s presentation on ‘Natural Capital’ – challenging the idea that all aspects of Nature can be ‘financialised, one aspect of the ‘Green Economy’ which is deeply troubling to grass roots communities in the global south. And she illustrated the extent of their concern with some wonderful images of the working groups and protests organised by the People’s Summit, including the spoof “Great Nature Sale” on a Rio beach.
WDM briefings and reports on the 2012 Earth Summit are here:
Rio +20 Summit – Whose Green Economy?
Rio +20 A report back from WDM
In his talk , Andy Atkins, Executive Director, Friends of the Earth, made it clear that in his view both the economy and environment are in serious trouble. And that policy makers were mistakenly focussing on short term fixes :
“Some politicians argue that we should postpone environmental action until the economy recovers. I believe this is profoundly misguided and damaging to the economy itself, not just the environment.”
He highlighted the positive performance of Britain’s existing green economy compared with the stagnation of the overall economy, saying for example that we export more green technology to China than we import.
“As John Cridland, the Director-General of the CBI said recently, “some people are fearful that ‘going green’ might further dent the economic recovery. For me, this is a false debate … there is a hard-nosed economic argument that moving to a low-carbon economy can drive significant business investment and create many new jobs”.”
But conventional wisdom persists, particularly at The Treasury – that green is expensive and inhibits economic recovery.
“a green economy, one that respects nature’s limits, is the best way to fix the twin environmental and economic crises we all face today.
The benefits of the green economy will be huge and many – not just in cutting carbon and protecting nature, but in lowering energy costs as we get off the fossil fuel hook, providing jobs, reducing fuel poverty and increasing public wellbeing.”
How do we persuade business and local/national government to take ‘The Green Economy’ seriously? It is something we as LA21 need to look into. How to effectively communicate climate change.
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