Busy, busy few weeks in the run up to the Earth Summit in Rio… but I made it!

Brazil is breathtaking.

Thanks to generous sponsorship from the Planet Earth Institute, I arrived in Rio last Wednesday night (13th) and have spent a wonderful few days enjoying the Brazilian way of life – the beach, the food, the people and all the wonderful sights. Corcovado (Christ the Redeemer) was a particular highlight – what a privilege to be here!

One of the first things to strike me has been the extent to which the city has been in suspense – waiting for the Earth Summit… anticipating the buzz of activity and thousands of delegates the conference will bring; much like London in the build up to the Olympics. The ‘Rio+20’ logo is everywhere; on buses, on billboards, on flags; outside hotels, on passes around people’s necks, printed on t-shirts being sold on the markets … even written into the sand in a giant sculpture!

I keep thinking, wouldn’t it be great if everyone got this excited about what the conference is actually about?

What if sustainable development became an idea that was truly sustainable? In my opinion, this will be one of the greatest challenges the UN and governments all over the world face in the aftermath of Rio+20. “The future of planet earth depends on the decisions made now by humankind. We know the right ways. It is necessary to follow them” – (Paulo Skaf, President of FIESP). We must ensure the slogan ‘enough for all forever’ becomes part of the fabric of our society, influencing our daily decisions and actions.

Ed and I attended a UCCRN event this afternoon at Humanidade2012 at forte de Copacabana. A hugely popular side event, the innovative space aims to involve civil society in the events of Rio+20. Humanidade2012 is working to get the message across to the public that sustainability calls for a decent standard of living for everyone today without compromising the needs of tomorrow’s generation.

Whilst the building may look more like a building site, it has certainly captured public attention – with hundreds of people lining the streets, queuing to get in. The see-through structure of the building echoes the transparency and sharing of ideas that are essential for the Earth Summit to be a success in the long run. So at this moment when the entire planet’s attention is focused on Rio, searching for solutions and reflections and new steps to take… let’s hope those ideas stick!

Claire Chisholm, BA Combined Honours

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