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Ear to the Ground

Failure in Rio—Now What?

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Posted on Jun 26, 2012
Karen Eliot (CC BY-SA 2.0)

The Rio+20 Earth Summit produced nothing in the way of international reforms to counteract the destruction of the planet, confirming that governments cannot be relied upon to solve the environmental crisis collectively. Some people will give up. Others will breathe a sigh of relief and get to work restoring their natural surroundings themselves.

Governments and businesses may be more concerned with sustaining destructive economics than saving the biosphere. But citizens don’t have to play along. George Monbiot in The Guardian offers three reasons not to surrender for those who are fighting the good fight for a livable planet.

—Posted by Alexander Reed Kelly

George Monbiot at The Guardian:

The first is to draw out the losses over as long a period as possible, in order to allow our children and grandchildren to experience something of the wonder and delight in the natural world and of the peaceful, unharried lives with which we have been blessed. Is that not a worthy aim, even if there were no other?

The second is to preserve what we can in the hope that conditions might change. I do not believe that the planet-eating machine, maintained by an army of mechanics, oiled by constant injections of public money, will collapse before the living systems on which it feeds. But I might be wrong. Would it not be a terrible waste to allow the tiger, the rhinoceros, the bluefin tuna, the queen’s executioner beetle and the scabious cuckoo bee, the hotlips fungus and the fountain anenome to disappear without a fight if this period of intense exploitation turns out to be a brief one?

The third is that, while we may have no influence over decisions made elsewhere, there is plenty that can be done within our own borders. Rewilding – the mass restoration of ecosystems – offers the best hope we have of creating refuges for the natural world, which is why I’ve decided to spend much of the next few years promoting it here and abroad.

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