Friday, June 22, 2012

Youthful Plan Bs needed for our Earth

By Gary Berg-Cross
With 2012 Rio+20 concluding and its draft text in the air it is seems an apt time to talk about alternative plans for sustainability. There is wide recognition that current approaches and default tactics are failing. the Resulting trends are unsustainable but no committed agreement on how to proceed. For some the proper course is what they call "sustainable development" or as the term has been turned to "sustainable growth". To political economist Robert Skidelsky this is not balance or wise and just more of the same and part of “politically orchestrated insatiability that we call economic growth.”
The fight over visions of a sustainable future remains. Time to consider a Plan B, the  popular term used to mean a reserved, secondary plan, in case a first plan (a hypothetical 'Plan A') fails. There seems no alternative or Plan B for climate change in part because it involves other difficult topics like energy, financial systems etc..  An example is the reported stumbling blocks with climate is the evolving concepts of what is commonly called “green technology” and “green economies.” Part of this is the legacy of unfulfilled promises made 20 years ago by rich countries to help poor countries develop by funding efforts to leap into a green economy and avoid a dirty economy trap. That would contribute to a sustainable world, but there is yet no agreement on the Equity Principle formulated in Rio 20 years ago.

All of this suggests there are many alternative visions of the future. Perhaps it is time to consider Plan Bs ourselves. This is an idea that an organization called “Our Task” is pursuing. The Our Task group, located here in the DC area focused on giving young adults a chance to create a mutually enhancing relationship between humans and Earth. After all it will their Earth we leave them with. Our Task tries to help youth:
  • Understand what is happening to our Earth and global civilization;
  • Develop their own vision of the Earth they want to inherit;
  • Developing communication and leadership skills; and
  • Advocating for changes that might allow everyone to live out the 21st century.
As a first they have are looking at Plan Bs and assembled examples of “Plan Bs” including:
· World on the Edge by Lester R. Brown;
· The Youth Earth Plan (this by the Our Task group itself);
· Limits to Growth and later editions;
· Living Planet Report 2010, Global Footprint Network; Millennium and,
· Declaration and Development Goals, by the United Nations
All of the research is being assembled to support Our Task’s first in a series of youth conferences. The first is Saturday, August 11th in Arlington, Virginia, and will feature a vision of Earth in 2100. The event will be streamed live and people can sign up to get news on the event by going to conference site.
They are still gathering Plan B nominations and the final set will be shared with in advance of the meeting “Earth-2100 Conference: What’s the Plan?”. It will be interesting to see what comes out of this. I expect it to be more of a sustainability view than our leaders can agree on at Rio+20 and that is what we and our children need.

1 comment:

Gary Berg-Cross said...


There will be another "Earth 2100: What's the plan" workshop in July 2013. It will be GMU.
Check for details and volunteer opportunities.