Is anyone listening?
By far the most passionate and provoking speech at the plenary this past evening was given by the president of Uruguay. While most other heads of state echoed routine statements about their support for sustainable development, a green economy, poverty eradication, and how impressed they were with the outcomes of the conference, President Jose Mujica spoke to his colleagues, not at them, and raised questions that none of the other participants were willing to voice.
President Mujica noted that while poverty eradication and sustainable development are laudable goals, we are constrained by the processes of production and consumption that we have created for ourselves. That if we all aim for a type of lifestyle that only a small portion of the global population can sustain, and if we are not willing to change our attitudes and behaviors, the world that we want for the future generations will be tenuous at best.
He expressed his uncertainty about the effects that a growing consumer society will have on both our ecological and social systems. And whether or not the negotiations have seriously considered these issues.
Unfortunately, very few of the heads of state and delegates were even around to hear Mujica’s words. As the evening progressed fewer and fewer of the president’scolleagues remained, until finally he was speaking to a nearly empty conference hall. It was more than a little disheartening to see so many of the world’s leaders travel halfway around the world to speak at the conference, and not even bother to listen to what each other has to say. Hopefully someone was listening…
I would recommend that if you have any interest at all in the conference you should at least listen to Jose Mujica’s speech on the UNCSD website. Start at around the 58th minute.