Time to bring this blog back to life! What a great opportunity to do so as I embark on the road to Rio+20. So, what is Rio+20? Rio+20 is the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (a.k.a Earth Summit…yeah this conference has many names). More specifically, the conference is titled “+20,” to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the first Earth Summit, which took place in Rio de Janeiro in 1992.
1992: I was 3 years old and learning how to write my name while the UN developed sustainable development goals.
2012: Marisol +20. Graduate student traveling to Rio. Hopeful that the UN will develop, implement, and meet sustainable development goals.
What’s the difference? Not much, honestly. Twenty years have passed and the Rio+20s (the babies of the 1992 era) are inheriting a world with many wicked problems. I believe that the root cause of inequality and conflict is due to the lack of strong environmental management and leadership. Additionally, I also believe that change is created from the bottom up: grassroots.
So, why am I going to Rio+20? To amplify the voices of youth in the environmental justice movement and share my community’s story. To get a close look at how sustainable development is framed in negotiations/discussions and try to influence the outcomes Rio+20 with other colleagues.
One of the sustainable development themes I am interested in following at the negotiations is the idea of moving beyond Gross Domestic Product (GDP) to Gross National Happiness (GNH), which was developed and implemented in Bhutan. GNH takes into account social, environmental, and economic indicies such as education, health, democracy and ecological well-being, thus making this measurement more holistic. My hope is that a concrete plan on developing and implementing measurements for sustainable development include this integrated approach.
This is my first time traveling to South America. I am very excited to arrive in Brazil and work with global youth towards The Future We Want: A Sustainable World.
Have to catch my flight, boarding time!