Like so many in Greenpeace, I love boats. Put me on water and I am happy. So when I heard back in March at one of the preparatory meetings for the Rio Earth Summit taking place in New York that our new Rainbow Warrior was there, I just had to visit. And today I made the trek again to see the Rainbow Warrior, as she had just arrived in Rio de Janeiro for the final preparatory meetings for the Earth Summit. It was an honour to brief some of our activists and volunteers about the Earth Summit tonight. The crew onboard is the one that managed to hold a “Rio+20: bla bla bla or action?” banner on an anchor chain in the Amazon just weeks ago.
It was great, though, to be able to share at least a little bit of good news with the crew. The European Union, Brazil and other countries who want to make sure that Rio+20 is the beginning of the end of the Wild West exploitation of our oceans are standing firm here in Rio. We hope that is not just talk, as future generations need healthy oceans if they are to survive. You can support marine reserves now by adding your voice to the hundreds of thousands of people who want a future of living oceans. We will be presenting these signatures to those who need to hear your voice in the coming days.
Beyond that, the negotiations were not inspiring. Some paragraphs of the text were agreed by reverting back to lowest common denominator language already used at – yes - previous meetings. Other parts of the text did not move at all as governments simply restated their well-known positions. We were not able to enter some meetings – so the Future We (allegedly) Want will for now remain the negotiators´ secret.
Walking around the Riocentro, where the 1992 Earth Summit also took place, corporate greenwash from corporate polluters was on display. There is a huge banner declaring that Petrobas, Brazil´s state-owned oil company, is sponsoring the summit - the very company that wants to drill off the coast of New Zealand and make Brazil into a major oil producer. If Brazil goes ahead with its planned oil development, it will be among the five largest oil producers in the world by 2020. This is not the Future We Want, nor the one we need.
Returning from the Rainbow Warrior tonight, I am determined to not let corporations get away with greenwash or allow governments to bow to corporate pressure and turn their backs on the Future We Want for our children.
Daniel Mittler is the Political Director of Greenpeace International