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A few brief 'bullets' from one participant at the UNED (UK) Forum, 22nd January, School of Oriental & African Studies, London about UK contribution to Preparatory meetings now underway, for Johannesburg Earth Summit. Well attended. Very varied. Participants average age about 40.
John Gummer, MP
* 'stakeholder' inclusion good, although it makes organisation of Earth Summit difficult. Yet to succeed, need 'stakeholder', i.e. all of us, involvement
* since Rio -- changed language of politicians, not actions
* Minister of Environment at bottom of government. Need opposition.
* Blair, like Thatcher, first to say would go
* not clear what we want to achieve
* some of government not enthused about Johannesburg or sustainable development (SD)
* Treasury: and DTI (sustainable trade!) (transport, planning and SD.)
* Opposition needs expert help from FOE, Soil Association etc
* SD not good, but no better alternative, as yet. Need development and sustainability -- SD won't go without justice
* be practical -- start at home
* church very essential (he's read Earth Spirituality) John Gordon (UNED-UK)
* stakeholder necessary if Earth Summit to work. Bottom up -- to government -- to summit
* much involvement, e.g. Unions, womens groups, churches,
* haven't involved media; need more interest, finance from government!
REPORTS FROM THE UNED UK COMMITTEES.
Cities and Communities
* vital. Main consumers.
* planning should be more SD inclusive
* strengthen Agenda 21 globally
* UK government more for 'liveability' than sustainability. Recognise linkage
* include poverty. Environment as human right?
* links with all issues
* water shortages growing
Education in SD
* include in all groups -- at all levels
* part of LA21?
Energy & Climate
* government in denial -- public ignorant and in denial
* Royal Society -- reduce by 60%
* Conclusion -- let government support educational efforts about climate.
Production & Consumption
* need to help individuals to link and make changes. Need consumer demand for sustainable. Not there yet.
* hence producers hold back
* need practical framework for producers and consumers for SD
* includes food miles! -- sustainable water charges -- energy too
* TNCs infiltrating schools to teach 'sustainable' consumption!?
* resistance to sustainable tourism. Public in denial re. damage of mass air tourism.
* still denial (in both worlds) re. population, and its effects on deteriorating environment and poverty. Key issue of Johannesburg Earth Summit
UK in Wider World
1) poverty and development; 2) Globalisation, TNCs, poverty 3) National security
* Earth Summit should discuss limits of globalisation for sustainability
* regional eco-centres?
* governments, including US and UK, don't want on agenda: effects of conflict on refugees and environment etc
* water wars -- arable land wars (UK??), possible.
Michael Meacher, MP
* write all ministers. Involve all.
* use internet
* DEFRA surprised at how little mail on Earth Summit
* many journalists not interested
* no 'big idea' yet
* UK government wants to be practical
* 'make globalisation work for SD?' -- typical rhetoric from DEFRA: The UK government hopes the Earth Summit will 'make globalisation work for sustainable development'.
* government now working on water, forestry, financial services -- SD for Africa.
Dr Edward P. Echlin
Copyright © 2002-2004 Edward Echlin and Christian Ecology Link
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