To The Swedish Government and all participants at the Rio +20 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro in June 2012.
From the Gothenburg Conference: Celebrate! Resist! Transform! for environmental justice and just transition 18th to 20th of May 2012
A JUST TRANSITION NOW – NO TO ”GREEN ECONOMY”
On 18-23 June 2012 NGOs, governments and businesses gather at the UN World Summit on Sustainable Development held in Rio de Janeiro. Simultaneously social movements from around the world organise an alternative meeting with focus on human rights and environmental justice.
Prior to this meeting, representatives from social movements all over Sweden gathered in Gothenburg during the weekend of 18 to 20 of May 2012, under the motto of Celebrate! Resist! Transform! (Fira! Stå emot! Ställ om!)
The Gothenburg conference has reached the conclusion that the prevailing development model must be reconsidered in its foundation. Together we need to develop new narratives that unite North and South, and that reunite mankind with nature.
The meeting in Gothenburg has evaluated 40 years of struggle for environmental and social justice. We recognize that previous UN conferences and pressure from social movements have led to valuable changes in several areas. But efforts have been insufficient. The problems have become increasingly global and the burden on the environment has increased.
Large ecosystems risk collapse, the oceans are over-exploited and global temperature rise with floods and droughts as a result. In 2010, for example, Sweden’s domestic greenhouse gas emissions increased by 11 percent, when they would have to fall sharply instead. Yet we have not included the emissions caused by our consumption of goods produced in other countries. If everyone on earth would consume as the average Swede, we would need about three Earths. Even now almost two-thirds of our ecosystems are exploited past their resilience.
World leaders have repeatedly failed to address the critical development issues. After the climate negotiations in Copenhagen, Cancún and Durban, we see the result. Despite all the proclamations, carbon dioxide emissions have grown steadily and we risk a global catastrophe of historic scope: We are also at risk of exceeding the irreversible ecological limits on several other critical areas such as biodiversity and chemical emissions.
Prior to the Rio +20 meeting in summer those in power, unfortunately, are considering to take the wrong direction by the process called ”green economy”. It is not about a truly green economy, but it is a cosmetic greenwashing, which emphasizes markets as solution and where many parts of nature are turned into commodities. They want to put confidence in the same players who drove us in the trench of the financial crisis, and simultaneously block out the popular movement’s influence.
Genetic engineering, chemistry, agriculture, industrial forestry, large-scale agrofuel production, nanotechnology, synthetic biology, nuclear power and the like, are described as technological solutions to overcome the natural limits of the planet sets, as well as overcome the environmental crises and economic crises we face today. But they face in no way the real reasons that are built into the economic system.
We see an obvious risk that the ”green economy” creates a huge amount of ”sustainable” trading permits, for example, ecosystem services and social services turned into commodities in global markets, in analogy with the failed system of emissions trading, but in a much larger scale. This creates speculation, concentration of ownership and further social divisions. This game with the planet’s future strikes against the most vulnerable. A comprehensive agrofuel cultivation affects the poor’s food supply. A crude depletion of finite resources worldwide causes a breach of human rights and displaces indigenous and local communities and their traditional knowledge of how the landscape can be managed in a sustainable manner.
The rich countries have a fundamental responsibility to transform their communities. An equalization of living conditions in the world must happen simultaneous to the adjustment of production and consumption to what the planet can support long-term. Each country must not occupy more than their share of the space allowed by one planet, calculated based on the principles of the ecological footprint.
A long-term sustainability rests on self-reliance and popular influence over basic natural resources such as water and soil. Food sovereignty means that the power over the food supply is in the peoples and farmers” hands, not the global industrial capital’s.
A transition program can create hundreds of thousands of new jobs in Sweden, while environmentally harmful activities will be phased out as quickly as possible. We encourage environmentalists, family farmers” movement, the solidarity movement, the indigenous movement, welfare movement, the women’s movement, trade unions and migrant organizations to collectively and democratically develop such programs at local, regional and national level! A popular movement for just transition needs to grow, working for constructive solutions to environmental crises while at the same time fighting privatization of common welfare and the environment.
WE SAY: * System change – not climate change * Respect the rights of nature and the planet’s limits * Natural resources in the hands of the people * Nature is not a commodity – NO to the ”green economy” * Fair and sustainable transition NOW!
Gothenburg, Sweden, May 20, 2012
The statement was adopted by participants at the conference Celebrate! Resist! Transform! (Fira! Stå emot! Ställ om!) in Gothenburg, May 18 to 20, which was organised by the following organizations: Jordens Vänner, Nätverket Global Rättvisa Nu, Attac, Emmaus Björkå, Folkrörelsen Nej till EU, Forum Syd, Framtiden i våra Händer, Färnebo folkhögskola, Föreningen Aktivism.info, Gröna Kvinnor, Klimataktion, Latinamerikagrupperna, NOrdBruk, Studiefrämjandet and Svensk-Kubanska föreningen.