What Rio+20 Could Be About

July 27, 2011 § 1 Comment

A lot of us in the environmental movement are asking – what do we do with Rio+20?

Alex Evans and David Stevens have an insightful paper promoting the ideas of greening growth, resilience, and equity (worth a read), though the emerging themes seem to be focused on ‘green economy’ generally. This worries a lot of us – where are questions of justice and distribution of resources, for example? Other uncertainties remain about who will actually come to the summit. So for campaigners, a simple ‘lobby politician A for important thing B’ ain’t gonna work this time.

So – how about something like this (using the golden circle framework):

Why – Why do we think we need to do something?

  • We need to call out why we’re not succeeding – what is blocking progress right now?
  • To increase levels of courage: set new levels of commitment and action
  • Raise hope and aspiration by showing what we’ve already achieved

How – How will we do this? What is our vehicle to achieve these things?

Use the Rio+20 conference as strategic leverage moment.

  1. Celebrate the last twenty years of progress (telling our story)
  2. Share the pain of what we’ve all been through
  3. Raise ambition and commitment from each of us

What – Practically, what does that look like? What will happen?

At the summit:

  • An Olympic Opening Ceremony-style visual story of the last twenty years- using images, dance, film, music, lots of people – ‘wow’ factor
  • It could follow the lives of children (one from each continent maybe?) born in 1992 and what has changed in the world around them
  • Follow the progress of new laws, new technologies, local victories, cross-national alliances, the successes we’ve had
  • Also document the pain, destruction of land and species, health problems, pollution
  • Come to a climax moment (the ‘now’ moment), and start to tell a story of what happens next: how do we get to the safe, just future we’re all working for
  • Show the upcoming fights and how we’ll win them
  • Give a place to all pieces of the puzzle – but make it clear who is part of the solution and who isn’t

At home:

  • Friends, families and communities come together to share stories of hope and pain.
  • We provide a framework that helps people have conversations that matter – using good questions, good food, songs : )
  • Front and center of this, is a renewed commitment to the work ahead, to each other and to allies all over the world
  • Maybe link up communities over Skype – sense of solidarity
  • Get them to write their own story of the future – how will the people of Poughkeepsie, NY and Accra, Ghana work through the next 20 years? (Essentially, they are writing their own vision and strategy)

Could it work?

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