Friday 27 May 2022

Sad but Necessary Lessons at Rio+30 and Stockholm+50

If you are over 40 years old, you might recall this cover from the first week of June in 1992. That means it is the 30th anniversary of that UN summit, which launched the sustainable development paradigm. It is also the 50th anniversary of the Stockholm conference, which alerted world leaders to environmental challenges. Such anniversaries previously brought much fanfare from the UN. Not this year. The backsliding on poverty and the environment is so shocking and undermining of the efforts and ideologies of our elite institutions, that these milestones might not get much attention. To learn about how bad that backsliding is, according to official UN data, see a paper from Professor Jem Bendell on Replacing Sustainable Development, currently in review.

Because of an apparent lack of introspection on the implications of failure, over 100 scholars from 27 countries signed a public letter to delegates at a recent UN summit. It appeared in The Independent newspaper, was presented to delegates at the UNDRR conference and was accompanied by three Op Eds from signatories (links below). You can help promote attention to such views during these milestones, and what could be learned from decades of failure. To do so, please engage online with the hashtags #RioPlus30 #Stockholm50 #StockholmAt50 #StockholmPlus50 #sdgFailure. One option is to share that latest letter from Scholars' Warning.

Unfortunately, the misrepresentation of anticipating massive disruption and even breakdown of industrial consumer societies due to environmental change, or in reaction to it, is increasing in mass media. They label it ‘doomism’ and argue it is wrong and harmful, without reference to relevant psychology theories or actual data, some of which shows the opposite can be true. Journalists typically cite a few senior experts in various fields of environmental study to make their case that certain analyses are ‘disinformation’. Their efforts might reduce public learning from past decades of failure, undermine calls for radical action and delay focus on climate adaptation – a form of ‘adaptation delayism’. 

If you have conversations with academics about these issues, please invite them to consider signing the original Scholars’ WarningSome signatories to the Scholars' Warning will be meeting in person in Lancaster (UK) on June 18th for a free open space gathering, hosted by the University of Cumbria.  

The Independent news story on the latest public letter

100 scientists urge UN to drop sustainable development targets after ‘failure’ | The Independent

The full text of the letter with full list of signatories

People will suffer more if professionals delude themselves about sustainable development – Letter to UN - Resilience

Press release on the latest public letter

Over 100 scholars from around the world tell the UN to ditch Sustainable Development ideology | LinkedIn

Op Ed in The Independent about the letter from Professor Jem Bendell

The rich are gathering for Davos - but elsewhere is the summit that actually matters | The Independent 

Op Ed about the letter from signatory Dr Jeremy Jimenez

Why the UN must rely more on indigenous wisdom and less on fossil fuels - Resilience

Op Ed about the letter from signatory Dr Rupert Read

Rupert Read - The failed ideology of Davos - Brave New Europe

Personal blog from Prof Jem Bendell, giving more context for the new letter

What has the UN Disaster Risk Reduction agency got to do with you? – Professor Jem Bendell

The pre-print of a paper on “Replacing Sustainable Development” which explores the latest data on SDGs

Replacing Sustainable Development: Potential Frameworks for International Cooperation in an Era of Increasing Crises and Disasters.[v1] | Preprints

Background on the Scholars’ Warning initiative

Over 500 sign #ScholarsWarning on collapse risk (iflas)


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