Countries will be asked this summer to sign up for 10 new sustainable development goals for the planet and promise to build green economies at the first earth summit in 20 years.

According to a leak of the draft agenda document seen by the Guardian, they will also be asked to negotiate a new agreement to protect oceans, approve an annual state of the planet report, set up a major world agency for the environment, and appoint a global “ombudsperson”, or high commissioner, for future generations. Dozens of heads of state, political leaders and celebrities are expected to go to the UN’s Rio+20 sustainable development meeting, to be held in Brazil in June.

Unlike the 1992 earth summit when over 190 heads of state set in motion several legally binding environment agreements, leaders this time will not be asked to sign any document that would legally commit their countries to meeting any particular targets or timetables. Instead, they will be asked to set their own targets and work voluntarily towards establishing a global green economy which the UN believes will reduce poverty and slow consumption. 

(The Guardian)

Collage source: Rio+20

Leaders in Sustainability: RIP Dr. Elinor Ostrom, First Female Recipient of the Nobel Prize in Economics

In this short video for the Stockholm Resilience Centre Dr. Ostrom: 

explains how people can use natural resources in a sustainable way based on the diversity that exists in the world.

Related:

Thinking Globally: 'Living Planet Report 2012'

From WWF:

The Living Planet Report is the world’s leading, science-based analysis on the health of our only planet and the impact of human activity. Its key finding? Humanity’s demands exceed our planet’s capacity to sustain us. That is, we ask for more than what we have.

Thinking Globally: ‘Living Planet Report 2012’ - Ecological Footprint Index

From WWF:

‎”The Living Planet Report is the world’s leading, science-based analysis on the health of our only planet and the impact of human activity. Its key finding? Humanity’s demands exceed our planet’s capacity to sustain us.” 

You can find your country and see how it compares to others using the interactive Eco Footprint calculator above. 

Related:

'How to be a conscious consumer' (WWF)

'Earth's environment getting worse, not better, says WWF ahead of Rio+20' (The Guardian)

From The BBC:

What might the Rio+20 summit deliver?

We have a little more idea now, following publication of the "zero draft" outcome document for the June summit.

This Rio summit, like the last one 20 years ago, isn’t part of the UN negotiations on climate change or biodiversity or desertification or anything else.

It’s bigger than that. It’s a chance for world leaders to take a long view of where the global society is heading, and whether they’re happy with that.

If they’re not - and there’s a welter of evidence showing that we’re doing a pretty poor job of looking after the liveable bits of Planet Earth, let alone many of its inhabitants - it’s a chance to agree some new principles.

At its most basic, the zero draft is basically a set of ingredients for changing direction onto a new sustainable course.

If environmental decline is a major driver, others are the lack of resilience in the global economy shown up by the current extended financial crisis, and the continuing lack of development in the world’s poorest countries.

So - what might the Rio+20 summit deliver?

The zero draft sets out principles of universal access to the essentials - food, water and energy.

A major goal is “to free humanity from hunger and want through the eradication of all forms of poverty and strive for societies which are just, equitable and inclusive, for economic stability and growth that benefits all”.

In order to provide “proper nutrition” for all, it calls for “sustainable intensification of food production” - expanding the food supply without expanding the amount of land, water and other resources needed.

Another goal is to provide “universal access to a basic minimum level of modern energy services” by 2030.

And to make that sustainable from an environmental perspective, the proportion of energy coming from renewable sources should double by the same date.

One of the routes to achieving these aims would be to phase out “market distorting and environmentally harmful subsidies that impede the transition to sustainable development, including those on fossil fuels, agriculture and fisheries…”

Check out the rest of the article here.

(Photo credit: Adelia Di Buriasco via Rio+20 - UN Conference on Sustainable Development)

We’re Drawing Down Our Account: Responses So Far to our Natural Capital Challenge
The picture above is a screen grab from Scientific American’s new interactive, media rich presentation, How Much Is Left?, described as:

A graphical accounting of the limits to what one planet can provide

The thing to keep in mind of course is that it’s our planet or rather the planet we share with future generations and our non-human partners on Earth. Depressing stuff but also the reality we have to deal with. So rather than dwell on the negatives I thought I’d profile some of the efforts afoot to address this ultimate of challenges and advance global sustainability:
 The Biosphere Economy initiative seeks to build a “a future where business-as-usual and politics-as-usual increasingly take  account of natural capital and related forms of value, bridging the gap  between man-made assets and nature’s ecological infrastructures that  underpin our economies and societies.” Worldchanging profiles the initiative in the article The Emergence of a Biosphere Economy. 
The latest report on The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (TEEB) is due shortly. TEEB is a “major international initiative to draw attention to the global economic  benefits of biodiversity, to highlight the growing costs of biodiversity  loss and ecosystem degradation, and to draw together expertise from the  fields of science, economics and policy to enable practical actions  moving forward.” The Guardian article Economic report into biodiversity crisis reveals price of consuming the planet profiled the initiative in the spring.  
World Wildlife Fund is campaigning to convince 100 key companies to go sustainable based on thinking that if they do “global  markets will shift to protect the planet our consumption has already  outgrown.” There is a great TED lecture Jason Clay: How big brands can help save biodiversity explaining the initiative.
2010 is the UN’s International Year of Biodiversity. Their website shows a raft of initiatives.
The Rio +20 Conference, known officially as the 2012 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, is coming up. At a workshop in May a group of "seasoned experts" produced a statement explaining their ideas on the way forward. 

We’re Drawing Down Our Account: Responses So Far to our Natural Capital Challenge

The picture above is a screen grab from Scientific American’s new interactive, media rich presentation, How Much Is Left?, described as:

A graphical accounting of the limits to what one planet can provide

The thing to keep in mind of course is that it’s our planet or rather the planet we share with future generations and our non-human partners on Earth. Depressing stuff but also the reality we have to deal with. So rather than dwell on the negatives I thought I’d profile some of the efforts afoot to address this ultimate of challenges and advance global sustainability:

  1. The Biosphere Economy initiative seeks to build a “a future where business-as-usual and politics-as-usual increasingly take account of natural capital and related forms of value, bridging the gap between man-made assets and nature’s ecological infrastructures that underpin our economies and societies.” Worldchanging profiles the initiative in the article The Emergence of a Biosphere Economy.
  2. The latest report on The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (TEEB) is due shortly. TEEB is a “major international initiative to draw attention to the global economic benefits of biodiversity, to highlight the growing costs of biodiversity loss and ecosystem degradation, and to draw together expertise from the fields of science, economics and policy to enable practical actions moving forward.” The Guardian article Economic report into biodiversity crisis reveals price of consuming the planet profiled the initiative in the spring.  
  3. World Wildlife Fund is campaigning to convince 100 key companies to go sustainable based on thinking that if they do “global markets will shift to protect the planet our consumption has already outgrown.” There is a great TED lecture Jason Clay: How big brands can help save biodiversity explaining the initiative.
  4. 2010 is the UN’s International Year of Biodiversity. Their website shows a raft of initiatives.
  5. The Rio +20 Conference, known officially as the 2012 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, is coming up. At a workshop in May a group of "seasoned experts" produced a statement explaining their ideas on the way forward.