Welcome to Scribd. Sign in or start your free trial to enjoy unlimited e-books, audiobooks & documents.Find out more
Download
Standard view
Full view
of .
Look up keyword
Like this
1Activity
0 of .
Results for:
No results containing your search query
P. 1
The Race to Save the Planet, One Baby Step at a Time

The Race to Save the Planet, One Baby Step at a Time

Ratings: (0)|Views: 51|Likes:
I wrote this article to commemorate forty years of study and work in the environmental sector. It is also meant to coincide with the start of the Rio+20 Summit, marking four decades since the landmark Stockholm Conference on the Human Environment. An earlier version of the article, which was limited to a length of one page, was intended for publication by the Alumni Association of the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, where I obtained my Ph. D. in International Relations in 1980.
I wrote this article to commemorate forty years of study and work in the environmental sector. It is also meant to coincide with the start of the Rio+20 Summit, marking four decades since the landmark Stockholm Conference on the Human Environment. An earlier version of the article, which was limited to a length of one page, was intended for publication by the Alumni Association of the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, where I obtained my Ph. D. in International Relations in 1980.

More info:

Published by: WorldoceanConsulting on Jun 13, 2012
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

Availability:

Read on Scribd mobile: iPhone, iPad and Android.
download as DOCX, PDF, TXT or read online from Scribd
See more
See less

07/15/2012

pdf

text

original

 
The Race to Save the Planet, One Baby Step at a Time
On the eve of the Rio+20 Summit,I look back on four decades of global environmental experience, starting in 1972, the year of the Stockholm Conference on the HumanEnvironment. That same year, I started researching my Masters thesis at the Norman PatersonSchool of International Affairs at Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada. My thesis topic was theArctic Waters Pollution Prevention Act in international law. I obtained my Masters degree fromCarleton two years later, in 1974. Then, six years after that I was awarded a Ph. D. inInternational Relations from the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studiesat the University of Geneva, Switzerland. My Ph. D. thesis topic was the freedom of scientificresearch in international law: the oceans, the Antarctic and outer space.The public's interest in environmental issues has ebbed and flowed over the years, roughlyreflecting the state of the global economy. When times are good, people tend to be concernedabout environmental issues. On the other hand, during economic downturns, attention focuseson jobs, security, etc. Right now, we are in a bit of a slump, which may explain why some of theworld's political leaders have apparently decided not to attend the Rio+20 Summit.This failure to show is disappointing, to say the least. Strong direction is needed to get not justthe global economy back on track but also the global environmental agenda. Sadly, in spite of the existence of over 700 treaties on environmental and other important issues such as povertyand malnutrition, the latest Global Environmental Outlook report ( GEO-5 ) observed significant progress on only four out of 90 environmental goals over the years. The report also warnedthat if current trends continue, there
will be “unprecedented levels of damage anddegradation”. Within hours of the GEO
-
5 report’s release, an equally alarming scientific paperentitled
 was published in Nature.This particular study predicts massive, potentially irreversible changes for the biosphere if presenttrends continue in areas such as land use, resource extraction, population increase and foodconsumption, particularly meat. Clearly, drastic changes are needed if sustainable developmentis ever to be achieved.It is easy to become discouraged in the face of all these challenges. Tackling climate changealone, when, for example, China is reliant on increasing amounts of fossil fuels as an energysource, will be a daunting task for governments, industry and private citizens alike. Where isone to start if one is to make a difference in the world? A big part of the solution could lie ingetting people to think about the impact of decisions they make about consumption, andthereby to change their spending habits. We, as consumers, need to appreciate that the choiceswe make every day have an impact on the planet. So, the water we choose to drink, theproducts we refuse, reuse, etc. - everything has an impact. Individually, our decisions may not
seem to matter; but, taken together they can lead to that ‘tipping point’
- the point of no return,as it were. But that tipping point can also tip the other way.
 
Much as we might hope for it, there is unlikely to be a “Magic Bullet” that is going to solve all of the world’s ills
- any more than there is ever a simple solution to all the personal challenges weeach face in life. More likely than not, our ultimate fate will be determined by a series of small,

You're Reading a Free Preview

Download
scribd
/*********** DO NOT ALTER ANYTHING BELOW THIS LINE ! ************/ var s_code=s.t();if(s_code)document.write(s_code)//-->