World Environment Day

2012-06-05 Vatican Radio

Combating climate change and water scarcity and supporting agricultural entrepreneurs for sustainable food security – those are just some of the issues at the heart of World Environment Day June 5. The theme for 2012: Green Economy- does it include you?

The United Nations Environment Programme describes the Green Economy “as one that results in improved human well-being and social equity, while significantly reducing environmental risks and ecological scarcities.” A Green Economy then, is “an economic environment that achieves low carbon emissions, resource efficiency and at the same time is socially inclusive.”

For a Green economy to work, it must begin at “an individual level, scaling up to macroeconomic and global levels.” Hence, the question “does it include you?”

With a global population of 9 billion people projected by the year 2050, countries are increasingly hard pressed to guarantee food and water security and demand could soon exceed supply. According to estimates from the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), “1.8 billion people will be living in countries or regions with absolute water scarcity by 2025.” Moreover, the U.N. says world resources continue to be exploited unsustainably, leading to dire environmental degradation.

Immediate interventions are needed to curb the situation. And delegates to the U.N. Conference on Sustainable Development will be discussing these June 20-22nd in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Dubbed Rio +20, the Conference marks the twentieth anniversary of the 1992 U.N. Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED), in Rio de Janeiro.

But Fr. Joe Rozansky ofm says “there’s a lot of concern about what has not happened” over the last twenty years. “We haven’t been caring for Creation in the way that we need to do to keep things sustainable.”

As Director of the ofm office for Justice, Peace and the Integrity of Creation,
Fr. Rozansky will be among a delegation of some 60 Franciscans to go to Brazil for Rio +20 and other meetings on the sidelines of it.

“From the outside looking into the U.N. conference, we want to ask them ‘why is it that way? What are the real concerns that we have in the world today?’”

Fr. Rozansky even takes issue with the term “Green Economy” itself saying many people are concerned that instead of being “white washed,” issues are being “green washed.” There’s a concern, he clarifies, “that (in) using certain kinds of vocabulary, people are going to be satisfied that something’s happening.”

“There is a major concern that there is not enough happening or that what’s being sold as green economy is really in a sense an excuse to keep things going the way they have been going.”

In this interview with Tracey McClure, Fr. Rozansky also raises the alarm about what he calls the “commodification of the common goods of our world – things like air and water…”

Listen to the interview: