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International Society of Ethnobiology Supports Biological and Cultural Diversity at Rio+20 and Beyond

  The International Society of Ethnobiology (ISE) made news at the Rio+20 UN Conference on Sustainable Development this summer. Introduced to almost 700 governments, businesses, civil society groups, and universities was the “Montpellier Statement,” delivered by Helene Mandrous, the Mayor of Montpellier, France. The statement was developed at ISE’s 13th Biannual Congress held earlier this…

Rio+20 Aimed for “Sustainable Energy for All”

  The UN’s Sustainable Energy for All initiative aims to drive economic development, improve living conditions, and protect the planet by meeting growing energy demands with renewable, environmentally responsible sources. Will Rio+20 be someday seen as the launchpad for these accomplishments or simply another missed opportunity? UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon touted the new program at…

SOIL Wins the UNCCD Land for Life Award

SOIL (Sustainable Organic Integrated Livelihoods) won first place at this year’s UNCCD’s Land for Life Award ceremony and will receive $40,000 to support the development of an integrated agricultural livelihood learning center and demonstration farm located near Cap-Haitian, Haiti.

Rio+20 Brought a “Spiritual Lift” Despite Disappointments

“I’ve been to a lot of international conferences, in Nagoya, Durban, and so on, but Rio [Rio+20, the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development] was bigger than any I’ve ever seen,” Matthew Shirts, the editor of the Brazilian edition of National Geographic, told a large audience at the Aspen Environment Forum this past weekend in…

Sustainable Cities “Can Improve Lives and Build a Healthier Planet”

It may seem counterintuitive in a world where giant urban concentrations of billions of people are snagged in traffic congestion and endless sprawl, but cities may well be the smartest way to both make our use of the planet sustainable and raise prosperity.

What’s Going on in the Amazon?

An interactive map, launched at Rio+20, seeks to help people keep up-to-date on the state of the Amazon basin.

Water Runs Through Rio+20

   Freshwater species of the week will return next week. Although it looks like world leaders are not going to adopt specific Sustainable Development Goals at Rio+20, the delegates from 190+ countries did spend a lot of time talking about water in Rio de Janeiro. Before the United Nations conference this week, advocates had hoped…

UN Foundation Head Tim Wirth on Sustainable Energy For All

  As the president of the UN Foundation, former U.S. Senator Tim Wirth’s job is to connect people, ideas, and resources to help the United Nations solve global problems. Two kinds of power, electricity and empowerment, were on Senator Wirth’s mind when he sat down to discuss Rio+20, the UN’s largest sustainable development conference happening…

Disaster Risk Reduction and Rio+20

  By Antony Spalton and Lisa Guppy Over the last twenty years, disasters have affected up to 4.4 billion people and have cost around $US 2 trillion. Women and children are 14 times more likely to die than men during a disaster, and typically the poorest and most vulnerable children suffer the highest disaster risk and…

NG Radio Interview: Rio+20 Shows Cooperation and Roadblocks

  Rio+20 continues in the gorgeous city of Rio de Janeiro, as a steady stream of world leaders take the podium and wax poetic on sustainable development. Yesterday, I called in to Carmen Russell-Sluchansky’s show on Voice of Russia to give my impressions of how the conference is going. Listen to the brief interview here.

Leap of Faith Needed on Green Economy

RIO DE JANEIRO Delegates in Rio will need to take a leap of faith and agree on concepts like the green economy and sustainable development goals without really knowing what they involve, suggest experts on the sidelines of the Rio+20 Earth Summit. “The green economy is a black box right now. We don’t know what…

Calling for Environmental Health Solutions in Cities

  By Kerry Constabile Half of the world’s children and adolescents live in urban areas. As the world urbanizes, people and particularly children are faced with increasingly unhealthy communities. Environmental health hazards – ranging from air pollution, garbage and inadequate sanitation – are problematic for the poorest city dwellers who persist under the radar, neglected by…

Tour of Rio’s Favelas Shows Hope and Ingenuity

Some of the paths through Vila Canoas are so narrow that only one person can pass at a time. When our tour group ran into a resident of the favela coming the opposite direction, we leaned into a corner, letting them pass with a smile and a bom dia (good morning). Brick and concrete blockhouses…

Indigenous Message to Rio+20: Leave Everything Beneath Mother Earth

  An indigenous caravan is bringing to the Rio+20 conference the philosophy of “buen vivir” – “living well” in harmony with nature – as a solution to the world’s environmental and economic crises. Indigenous leaders from all over South America are making their way by foot, canoe and eventually on buses to be part of…

Rainforest Alliance Celebrates 25 Years of Saving Forests With Farmers

  “We need to vote with our dollars and choose products that are helping each other,” said Ana Paula Tavares, executive vice president of the conservation group Rainforest Alliance.  It’s a statement that sums up her organization’s goal, but it could also serve as a call to action for all consumers from Rio+20 (The UN…