18 juni 2012

Stirred emotions

There is an upset atmosphere here in YMCA Ilha's office. Or ACM as it's said in Portugese: Asociasão Christo de Mocos (did I spell that right?). Ilha is short for Ilha do Governador, the name of the island just north of Rio de Janeiro where our host YMCA is located.

We are upset for two different reasons. Firstly, our new friend Fred from the Kenyan delegation has been missing since lunch, when we split up into three groups for the afternoon activities. He has a cell phone but it doesn't work here in Brazil, and his efforts to communicate with the not-so-English-speaking population has so far shown to fall short. But we think he has enough money to take a taxi all the way out here - approxiamtely  90 min ride from downtown Rio where we split up - if he remembers the address...

Secondly, the latest draft of the outcome document just dropped into Marcus's inbox and he is explaining the changes in it with tears in his eyes. For example, the paragraph on dropping GDP as measure for development and exchanging it for something that includes social development, happiness and sustainability, is basically gone. He keeps muttering and whispering curses as he continues to read, mentioning complicated words and formulations that unfortunately pass through my hand without sticking. I am glad he and Sofia study political science and are trained to understand formal, judicial, political text so they can explain to me... But this turnout was expected for Rio+20. We have heard warning voices in media before coming here that the hope for a strong outcome document from Rio was low and that noone should expect much.

But I am a person of strong hope. What has helped me develop and be who I am today is in short the phrase "never ever give up". I will keep hoping for global sustainable change, whether it comes from above or below, it must and will happen. And I hope that Fred comes back safely. I know he will. We are doing our best to find him, and we will all do our best to at least make our own experiences from Rio+20 be a strong motivator for change, both for ourselves and the people we share it with.   

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