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Rio Conference Article From 1992 New American

Rio Conference Article From 1992 New American

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Published by: Camp Constitution on Oct 01, 2011
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02/04/2013

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FRONTPAGE
ECO'92:LaunchingPadforIntern
E
~vironmentaImilitantsaremoan-mgthattheEarthSummitwassabotagedbyPresidentBush'selection-yearpolitickingandasellouttoU.S.industrialinterests.Republicanstalwarts,meanwhile,arepaintingtheresultsoftheUnitedNationConfer-enceonEnvironmentandDeeloprnent(UNCED)asavictoryfortheUnitedStatesandforMr.Bush,whostoodfirmforAmericaneconomicinterestsagainsthostileworldopinion.Thesignificanceofthesummit,hailedashistory'slargestgatheringofworldleaders,willnotbecomeknownformonths,perhapsyears.Noonehasyethadachancetoread,letalonedi-gest,allthefineprintinthevoluminousagreementsanddocumentshammeredoutduringthetwofractiousweeksofnegotiationsinRiodeJaneiro.Onethingiscertain:Theywillbesourcesofmuchfutureargument,negotiation,lob-bying,andlegislation.AsMauriceStrong,executivesecretaryofthecon-ference,said,"Thisisalaunchingpad,notaquickfix."TheleadershipofthehugeenvironmentallobbyingnetworkinWashington,DCfullyrealizethisandisgearingupforsustainedwarfareonthemanyissuesaddressedatthesum-mit.Allthemorereasonforconstitu-tionaliststofocustheirenergiesonthisNovember'scongressionalelections.
Summit"Accomplishments"
Fromthestandpointoftheawfulpo-tentialthatthesummitheldforsaddlingtheUnitedStateswithsovereignty-de-stroyingtreatycommitmentsandenor-mousfinancial-aidoutlays,theresultsoftheglobalconfabcanbegreetedwithsomerelief;itcouldhavebeenworse.Afterall,wedidn'tsignthelegallybindingBiodiversityConvention.Wedid'tagreetotheUNplanfordoublingourfinancialaidtodevelopingcountriesto0.7percentofU.S.grossnationalproductbytheyear2000.TheglobalwarmingtreatysignedbyPresidentBushwas"watereddown"fromtheoriginalversion;itsetsnofirmtargetsortimetablesforreductionofCO
2
andother"greenhousegas"emissions,re-ductionsthatcoulddecimateAmerican
4
ThemajesticformofRiodeJaneiro'sChristtheRedeemerstatuestoodsilentvigiloverthechaoticdinoftheEarthSummit
industryandjobs.Ontheotherhand,morethanafewofthesummit's"accomplishments"willbearoundtohaunt,harrass,andin-creasinglytroubleusintheyearsahead:Agenda21,the800-pageblueprintforgovernmentalactiononeverythingfromforests,deserts,oceans,andliverstowomen'srightsandhealthcarewillsetinmotionacontinuouslyevolvingprocessofenvironmentalpolicyforma-tion.AnewCommissiononSustainableDevelopmentwillbeestablishedattheUNtomonitornationalcompliancewiththeenvironmentaltargetsagreeduponatthetalks.TheCommissionwillalsoreviewthedevelopmentassistancecontribu-tionsfromtheindustrialcountriestomakesurethesecontributionsaresuffi-cienttoenabletheimplementationoftheAgenda21policies.AnewInternationalGreenCrossforworldwide"emergency"environ-mentalassistance,tobeheadedbyMikhailGorbachev,willbeformallyes-tablishednextyear.PresidentBushhascalledforanin-ternationalconferenceonglobalwarm-ingJanuary1st,forthenationstoreportonspecificplanstoreducegreenhousegases.PresidentBushhaspledgedtodoubleU.S.aidtointernationaleffortsaimedat"protecting"forests.
FlyingDowntoRio
FromthemomentIsteppedaboardtheRio-bound747atMiamiInterna-tionalAirport,itwasobviousIhaden-teredalienterritory.Long-hairedrefugeesfromthe'60sinBirkenstocksandtie-dyedshirts,yuppiesindesignerdigswearingGreenpeacebuttons,andsilver-haired,socialistgrandmotherswithhandfulsofZeroPopulationGrowthpamphletsmixedwithUNstaffersinthree-piecesuitsclutchingreamsofnotesontreatynegotiationsandmem-bersofthepressstudiouslypreparingfortheupcomingeventbyporingthroughthelatestbriefingsfromtheWorldwatchInstitute,FriendsoftheEarth,ortheBusinessCouncilforSus-tainableDevelopment.Butwhatelsewouldonewouldex-pectenroutetotheGreenWoodstockknownastheGlobalForumandtheplanetaryconferencedubbedtheEarth
THENEWAMERICAN/JULY
13,1992
 
William
F.
Jasper
ationalGlobalGovernance
SummitorEco'92.Asfatewouldhaveit,aswedisembarkedfromourplaneatGaleanoAirportandmadeourwayslowlyandlaboriouslythroughthecrowdedBraziliancustomslines,Iendedupelbowtoelbowwithapassen-gerfromanothernight-Dr.DixyLeeRay.Aswewereprobablytheonly"oddballs"amongstthethousandsofgreeniesandglobiesstreamingintoRio,ourmeetingwasindeedfortuitous.TheEarthSummit,forme,wasfilledwithparadoxandironyateveryturn.Take,forinstance,thespiritualdimen-sionoftheconference.Fromthewin-dowofmyapartmentatthefootofCorcovadoMountainIwasabletolookdirectlyupatthefamedstatueofChristtheRedeemer,whoseoutstretchedarmshavewelcomedtravelerstoRiodeJaneiroformostofthiscentury.IntheearlymorninghourswhenIarose,Hewasstandingmajesticallyabovethemists,Throughouttheday,thetoweringfigureisavisiblelandmarkfromvirtu-allyeverysectorofthecity.Atnight,bathedinlight,Heisabeacontotheworld.Itisabeautiful,comforting,andawe-inspiringsight.ButformostofthetensofthousandsofEarthSummiteerswhodescendedonRio,ChristtheRedeemerheldlittle,ifany,attraction.TheyhadrejectedHimforthegreen-theologymishmashofearthworshipandNewAgemysticism.AtboththeofficialUNCEDsummitatRioCentroandtheGlobalForum"peoplessummit"atFlamengoPark,paganaboriginalritesandwhackyeco-babblemeldedtoformanincoherentspiritual"faith."
OpeningDeclaration
EarthSummitchiefMauriceStrong,inhisopeningaddresstotheUNCEDplenarysession,directedtheworld'sat-tentiontotheDec-larationoftheSa-credEarth,whichwaspartofthepre-Summitcer-emonies."Thechangesinbehav-ioranddirectioncalledforhere,"saidStrong,"mustberootedinourdeepestspiritual,moral,andethicalvalues."Accord-ingtothedeclara-tion,"The[eco-logical]cnS1Stranscendsallna-tional,religious,cultural,social,politicalandeconomicboundaries.""Theresponsibilityofeachhumanbe-ingtodayistochoosebetweentheforceofdarknessandtheforceoflight,"Strongexhorted."Wemustthereforetransformouratti-tudesandvalues,andadoptarenewedrespectforthesupe-riorlawsofDivineNature."DelegatesandmembersofthenewsmediareferredtotheRioDeclarationandAgenda21as"sacred"texts.SenatorAlGore(D-TN),wholedtheU.S.SenatedelegationtoRio,calledforanewspiritualrelationshipbetweenmanandearth.Acen-~terpieceoftheGlobalForum~openingceremonywastheVi-
LL
E
kingship
Gaia,
namedforthe
~
;;;Greekgoddessofearth.Attheculminationofthatprogram,agroupcallingitselfthe"SacredDrumsoftheEarth"struckupasolenmcadence.Theceremonypro-gramsaidthatthedrummerswould"maintainacontinuousheartbeatneartheofficialsiteoftheEarthSummit,aspartofaritualforthehealingofourEarthtobefeltbythosewhoaredecid-ingEarth'sfate."Atthefirstplenarysession,UriMarinov,Israel'sMinisteroftheEnviron-ment,issuedaNewTenCommandmentsonEnvironmentandDevelopment.NoonebotheredtoaskhimwhatwaswrongwiththeoriginalTenCommand-ments.WastheCreatorofthisplanetsomehownegligent,orsoignorantofenvironmentalsciencethatHisoriginalDecalogueisecologicallydeficient?Aswerecall,thefirstofHiscommand-mentsstates:"IamtheLordthyGod;thoushaltnothavefalsegodsbeforeMe."That,understandably,makesthegreeniesuncomfortable.Thoushaltnotsteal.Thoushaltnotcovetthyneighbor'sgoods.Thosealsocanbetroublesomewhenyourplanscallforexpropriatingthepropertyofothers.True,therewerealso"Christian"par-ticipantsinthesummitcelebrations.MinistersfromtheWorldCouncilofChurchesandCatholicclericslikeDomHelderCamarra-knownasthe"RedArchbishop"becauseofhisblatantlypro-communistsympathies-couldbefoundamidstthecymbal-clangingHareKrishnas,diaperedswamis,saffron-
ApaganspiritdominatedthesummitactivitiesGore,flankedbySenatorJohnKerry,dutifullyspoutedNewAgeexhortations
THENEWAMERICAN/JULY
13,1992
5

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