Nearly two billion people, about one-third of the world’s population, don’t have access to energy, according to the United Nations. So the leading goal for the upcoming 2012 United Nations Earth Summit is “energy for all” by the year 2030, mostly from renewable and sustainable resources. VOA’s Zulima Palacio reports (15 May 2012).
On the dedicated website one can read the following: ‘On 20th – 22nd, June 2012, the UNCSD will take place in Rio de Janeiro. Also referred to as the Rio+20 or the Earth Summit 2012 due to the initial conference held in Rio in 1992, the objectives of the Summit are: to secure renewed political commitment to sustainable development; to assess progress towards internationally agreed goals on sustainable development and to address new and emerging challenges. The Summitwill also focus on two specific themes: a green economy in the context of poverty eradication and sustainable development, and an institutional framework for sustainable development’.
Another talking shop leading to another missed opportunity??? On the website Swichboard, the Natural Resources Defense Council’s staff blogpage, Jacob Scherr writes optimistically that “[y]et we believe that this Earth Summit can [nevertheless] be a success – indeed historic and transformative. But first we need to recognize that it is impossible to negotiate – let alone implement – a single business plan for the entire planet. We have tried that approach before in Rio, Johannesburg, Copenhagen, and elsewhere. We need instead to create new platforms to encourage and facilitate governments and stakeholders to take actions to meet the numerous globally-negotiated goals and to hold them accountable for their commitments. In other words, we need to crowdsource sustainability”.[ii] Now that does sound hip and cool, “crowdsourcing sustainability” . . . but how feasible will that prove to be??? Scherr explains that during “the Rio+20 preparatory meetings, we were encouraged by the increased discussion among governments and civil society of this new approach to global summitry. Gustavo de Fonseca of the GEF recently blogged that “the dream for Rio – ‘The Future We Want’ – will most likely emerge from the realization that groups of committed people, organizations, businesses and states can indeed make a difference in the time frame that the planet and our society require,” but not from another conference text. My colleague Michael Davidson calls it the “potluck” approach, which involves all the stakeholders bringing something worthwhile to the party and not trying to mix it up all into one dish. Finally, an environmental reporter with fresh eyes contrasted the futility of the negotiations with the potential of “individual countries, communities, companies, and nonprofit organizations” taking concrete actions to move us towards a more sustainable future”. But, really???
 Jacob Scherr, “Reflections on the Race to Rio: Crowdsourcing Sustainability at Earth Summit 2012” Switchboard (14 May 2012). http://switchboard.nrdc.org/blogs/jscherr/reflections_on_the_race_to_rio.html.
 Jacob Scherr, “Reflections on the Race toRio”.