There's a saying in Portuguese, one of the few that I know: Mais ou Menos.
It means more or less. Brazilians often use the phrase when you ask them how they’re doing. Mais ou Menos: Good, more or less.
Looking back, with the road to Rio+20 now behind us, the expression seems to be a fitting way to sum up the successfulness of the Earth Summit.
Mais ou Menos.
No, the document that government officials produced after months of negotiation doesn't contain much that will make the planet a better place for me or my daughters. It lacks teeth. It ignores pressing issues like the need to expand renewable energy and protect ocean life on the high seas. And the goals and objectives that the document does set are weak.
Yet there is more to Rio+20 than a document.
The Earth Summit created a hook for countries, communities, and companies to announce hundreds of new initiatives (see below) to address climate change, global warming, and sustainability -- irrespective of the official United Nations document agreed to by more than 150 countries.
All of us who were in Rio de Janeiro also witnessed the energy of and saw the desire for change in the 50,000 or so people who came here to be a part of the global dialogue on environmental and sustainability issues. We heard it in the worried voices of the youth who will inherit this planet, and we saw it in the disparate postings from every corner of the world via Twitter and Facebook and YouTube.
And for at least a week or so, Rio+20 helped focus the world and its leaders on the most pressing problems of our planet. That's important, especially in these times when some seem to care more about what's happening on Dancing with the Stars than with what's happening on Earth.
Without Rio+20, none of that would have happened.
Read the rest at Huffington Post.
Photo: A crew of foresters plant trees in Costa Rica, where farmers and nursery workers reforest the land. (Gary Braasch/Corbis)