1. Suggestions for Prayer, Study, and Action
PRAYER IN SOLIDARITY WITH ALL CREATION
Oh how beautiful are your ways, O God,
the works of your creation.
Raise our consciousness to know and feel deeply
in our hearts our connectedness to all that is.
Instill in us the gift of being co-creators
and sustainers of LIFE.
Teach us new and unsuspected ways of living
so that current and future generations
can walk humbly in beauty,
love all compassionately,
and live justly in solidarity with all creation.
Loving and gracious God, give us the courage to
seek this transformation of self and society
and the strength to see it through.
School Sisters of Notre Dame Green Team
BE INFORMED ABOUT THE RIO+20 AGREEMENT
A preliminary analysis of the Rio+20 agreement is offered here. Below are links to some substantive reviews published after the end of the conference:
Summany of the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (13-22 June 2012), ENB-IISD, 25 June 2012.
A first reading of The Future We Want, Jose Ignacio Garcia, EcoJesuit, 25 June 2012.
Rio+20: Tim Jackson on how fear led world leaders to betray green economy, Jo Confino, The Guardian, 25 June 2012.
Rio+20 - Red Cross Red Crescent Urges Investment in Resilience and Women, IFRCRCS, AllAfrica, 25 June 2012.
Rio+20: Who owns the 'Green Economy'?, Matthew Rimmer, SBS, 25 June 2012.
Women’s Major Group “Disappointed and Outraged” at the Rio+20 Outcomes, Seyyada Burney, Nourishing the Planet, 25 June 2012.
Rio+20: On the Same Planet, But Not the Same Page, Murray Griffin, Bloomberg News, 26 June 2012.
2. News, Publications, Tools, and Conferences
TOOLS & DATABASES
CONFERENCES & JOURNALS
3. Advances in Sustainable Development
"The third and final meeting of the Preparatory Committee for the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD, or Rio+20), Pre-Conference Informal Consultations Facilitated by the Host Country, and the UNCSD convened back-to-back in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, from 13-22 June 2012. During their ten days in Rio, government delegations concluded the negotiations on the Rio outcome document, titled “The Future We Want.” Representatives from 191 UN member states and observers, including 79 Heads of State or Government, addressed the general debate, and approximately 44,000 badges were issued for official meetings, a Rio+20 Partnerships Forum, Sustainable Development Dialogues, SD-Learning and an estimated 500 side events in RioCentro, the venue for the Conference itself.
"In closing the Conference, UNCSD President Dilma Rousseff (Brazil) stressed that Rio+20 was the most participatory conference in history and was a “global expression of democracy.” Taking place in parallel to the official events, approximately 3,000 unofficial events were organized throughout Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Governments and the Rio Conventions organized Pavilions showcasing their experiences and best practices, and the Forum on Science, Technology and Innovation for Sustainable Development, a Global Town Hall, a People’s Summit, the World Congress on Justice, Governance and Law for Environmental Sustainability and spontaneous street actions were just a few of the many events around the historic city of Rio de Janeiro, discussing the Rio+20 themes and the broader requirements for sustainable development implementation."
To keep reading this comprehensive summary report, click SUMMARY
For coverage on worlwide energy access issues, click ENERGY
For coverage on world justice, governance, and environmental law issues, click JUSTICE
For day by day coverage of the conference proceedings, click DAY BY DAY
4. Advances in Integral Human Development
"This Report explores the integral links between environmental sustainability and equity and shows that these
are critical to expanding human freedoms for people today and in generations to come. The point of departure
is that the remarkable progress in human development over recent decades that the Human Development
Report has documented cannot continue without bold global steps to reduce environmental risks and
inequality. We identify pathways for people, communities, countries and the international community to
promote environmental sustainability and equity in mutually reinforcing ways.
"The cover diagram symbolizes how different policies can have different implications for sustainability and
equity. Whenever available, we should prefer solutions that are good for the environment while also promoting
equity and human development. Pursuing sustainability and equity jointly does not require that they be
mutually reinforcing. In many instances they will not be. Sometimes the most feasible alternative involves
trade-offs between sustainability and equity and requires explicit and careful consideration. No trade-off is
isolated from a society’s structural and institutional conditions, and so we must address the underlying
constraints and identify positive synergies between sustainability and equity. This Report is aimed not only at
finding positive synergies but also at identifying ways to build them."
On RIO+20 and integral human development:
- Time to rethink and regain control over the future of the human family, CIDSE, 5 June 2012.
- Position Paper of the Holy See for Rio+20, Rio de Janeiro, 13-15 June 2012.
- Going beyond GDP, UNDP proposes human development measure of sustainability, UNDP, 20 June 2012. For more information, contact Satinder Bindra or
- Rio+20: Measuring human and environmental progress, Stephen Lacey, Renew Economy, 21 June 2012.
- Migration and Sustainable Development, Rio+20 Issues Brief, UNCSD Secretariat, 22 June 2012.
- Zero Hunger Challenge, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, 21 June 2012.
5. Advances in Integrated Sustainable Development
RECENT UPDATES ON "LIMITS TO GROWTH"
6. Sustainability Games, Databases, and Knowledgebases
7. Sustainable Development Measures and Indicators
2012 Environmental Performance Index (EPI)
Switzerland Ranks at Top of the 2012 EPI
and Latvia Takes #1 Spot in New Trend EPI Rankings
Ysella Yoder, Yale University, 26 January 2012
Summary for Policymakers provides a quick look at the EPI framework and methodology,
and summarizes the overall EPI and Pilot Trend EPI rankings, results, and conclusions.
8. Sustainable Development Modeling and Simulation
The graph below is a simple simulation of
world population, gross production/consumption, and energy availability trends:
As of EOY 2011, World Population = 7 Billion, World GDP = 61 Trillion PPP Dollars,
World Energy Use = 0.5 Zeta Joules (or approx 82 billion barrels of oil), and
Average Consumption per Capita = 9000 Dollars
The simulation tipping points would seem to approximate current trends. If the supply of usable energy from fossil fuels peaks and declines as shown by the green curve, how much energy would have to be generated from other sources to support the current GDP output? Even for the sake of social solidarity and ecological sustainability, would most people in the "developed" nations be able/willing to "survive" with $9000/year?
The past cannot be changed, and the future is unknown, but there is empirical evidence to the effect that:
1. Fossil fuel resources are high in energy content but are not infinite.
Given that fossil fuels are being depleted, pollution levels are damaging the environment, and clean energy alternatives may not provide enough energy to sustain industrial economies, is it wise to just continue doing "business as usual" and trusting that some earthshaking technological breakthrough will come to pass soon enough? Is it fair for people in the "developed" nations to keep indulging in energy consumption and waste while approx. one billion people must subsist on $2 per day or less?
2. Fossil fuel emissions are environmentally detrimental and/or potentially unsafe.
3. Currently known clean energy alternatives offer relatively low energy content.
9. Fostering Sustainability in the International Community
Three highest priorities:
Aligning governance to the challenges of global sustainability
Transforming human capabilities for the 21st century
Ensuring food safety and food security for 9 billion people
Global Environmental Outlook (GEO-5)
RECENT ARTICLES & REPORTS ABOUT RIO+20
General Assembly President calls on States to implement Rio+20 outcome document, UN News Centre, 27 July 2012.
Rio+20: Some “nuggets” to work with despite disappointment, Oikoumene, World Council of Churches, 26 July 2012.
The Indigenous Declarations of the Rio+20 Conference, Rick Kearns, Indian Country, 26 July 2012.
People's Summit At Rio+20: Movements Demand Structural Changes!, Alejandra Scampini, AWID, 20 July 2012.
Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs): The Light at the End of the Summit, Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, Huffington Post, 20 July 2012.
Citifying the Global Vision of Rio+20, Shin-pei Tsay, Carneige International Economic Bulletin, 19 July 2012.
A Platform for Delivering on the Rio+20 UNCSD Commitments, Suseno Sokoyono, CTI-CFF, 19 July 2012.
Rio + 20: what next?, FIELD, 19 July 2012.
Rio+20 Report: Summaries of statements by delegation leaders, Asahi Shinbum, AJW, 18 July 2012.
Voluntary Commitments—The Way Forward After Rio+20?, Michael Renner, Sustainable Prosperity, 17 July 2012.
Outcomes of Rio+20 profoundly disturbing , Irene Hoaes, New Era, Namibia, 13 July 2012.
European Commissioner for the Environment Assesses Rio+20 Outcomes, Janez Potocnik, European Economic and Social Committee, 11 July 2012.
Despite Setbacks, UN “Sustainability” Agenda Marches on After Rio+20, Alex Newman, The New American, 11 July 2012.
World Leaders Accused Of Backsliding On Women's Rights, Jane Martinson, The Guardian, 5 July 2012.
RIO+20: A Citizen’s Background Document, Alejandro Nadal, Center for Economic Studies, El Colegio de Mexico, 4 July 2012.
U.S. Signature Initiatives At Rio +20, Joan DeLuca, VOA, 2 July 2012.
Rio+20 – Conclusions, Gianna Lohnn, The 8 By 15 Project: Reaching the Millennium Development Goals by 2015, 2 July 2012.
Rio+20 Media Round-Up: Outcomes Emphasize Soil, Gender, UNCSD, 3 July 2012.
Earth Charter Short Report from Rio+20, ECI, 3 July 2012.
Africa: Rio+20 Shortchanges Continent, Jeffrey Gogo, All Africa, 2 July 2012.
Rio+20 in Numbers, UNCSD, 2 July 2012.
World Bank pushes ‘natural capital accounting’ at Rio+20, Keith Brunner, Climate Connections, 1 July 2012.
After Rio+20, developing countries must take the lead, David Dickson, Science & Development Network, 29 June 2012.
The Future We Need: Reflections on Rio+20, Michael Renner, Worldwatch Institute, 29 June 2012.
Rio +20 makes no fresh, green breast of the new world, Fiona Harvey, The Guardian, 25 June 2012.
Rio+20: Many “mays” but few “musts” – A limp agreement at the UN’s vaunted environmental summit, The Economist, 23 June 2012.
Life After Rio, Mark Halle, International Institute for Sustainable Development, June 2012.