Sunday, June 24, 2012

Transportation and Rio+20

Transportation policies and principles in Urban Design is the crux of issues concerning Climate Change. Modern cities are built around the use of only one form of transportation - the automobile. Pedestrians, bikes, and public transport, of which combined creates a walkable city, are left on the wayside and those that can afford to are often forced to use a car to make it to work, do shopping, drop off the kids, go to a friends house, etc. Those that can't afford to are forced to take cramped public transportation, breath carcinogenic air, and many times do not make it to work at all. That is why the $175 billion pledge made by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and seven other multilateral development banks (MDBs) towards the improvement of sustainable transportation in developing countries is such an important step made in the recently concluded Rio+20 Summit. I look forward to seeing the changes this commitment will bring to countries around the world, especially the Philippines.

The Rio+20 Summit was a failure by many standards, but this is not to say that all is lost. The significance of Rio+20 is that it has become perfectly clear that leading governments across the globe are not going to do a thing about the environmental crisis. It makes me wonder why they even showed up.

Twenty years after the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro promised an era of aggressive action on biodiversity loss and global warming, the United Nations Rio+20 sustainability summit ended Friday with recriminations and a growing sense that international institutions will play an increasingly diminished role in solving environmental problems. World leaders — with the notable absence of the heads of the U.S., U.K, Germany, and Russia — approved an agreement that lacked specifics, commitments, and measurable targets on how to promote sustainable economic development. Numerous conservationists and officials said that cities, local governments, the private sector, and environmental groups will now have to play the key role in fostering sustainable economic growth, slowing climate change, and preserving biodiversity. “The greening of our economies will have to happen without the blessing of world leaders,” said Lasse Gustavson, executive director of the World Wildlife Fund. Speaking on the final day of the summit, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced that the U.S. would partner with 400 companies to eliminate deforestation in their supply chains and would provide $20 million in grants for clean energy projects in Africa.

Important as it is that governments cooperate, it is even more important that individuals, businesses, and cities or nations move towards a sustainable future inspite of what is happening with their national governments. Indeed these things are already happening and well on it's way to a movement strengthened by nothing more than the will to do what is right.

Ban Ki-moon: the momentum for change at Rio+20 is irreversible

Cowards at Rio?: organizations decry 'pathetic' agreement

Rio+20 Outcome: The Anthropocene Challenge

No comments: