Youth have had to mobilise and express discontent about the lack of substance at Rio+20. Although the "official" aspects of the conference have just begun, it's already over.
Brazil placed enormous pressure on negotiators to fast track preparatory talks so that something would be ready, regardless of the quality. Now they do not want leaders to not reopen negotiations. And it seems that their strategy has worked: two-thirds through the high-level segment, leaders are still supportive in their introductory speeches.
People around the world are not willing to let this pass over though.
Trilford's message has gone viral with over 20,000 views in the first 24 hours.
Youth and other civil society participants in Rio have taken matters into their own hands as frustration at the leadership paralysis. They established a "people's plenary" occupying the venue earlier today holding a "sit in", refusing to move as security threatened them. A symbolic final text was produced entitled "The Future We Brought" before being torn apart. Many participants left the conference centre without their accreditation badges to never return in defiance of the likely outcomes.
Participants who have opted to stay on the "inside" are also vocal in demonstrating their disdain of the text. The French Teaching League collected messages for displaying by highly frequented walkways in response to the question, "What will future generations remember of Rio+20?".
Prominent individuals including Mary Robinson and Gro Harlem Brundtland also believe that the document "is a failure of leadership."
The vagueness of the final text is evident in a quick scan with 147 "recognises," 59 "reaffirms," 49 "encourages," and only six "adopts" and five "decides".
Even key people within the process like UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon encouraged youth to act and "make some noise."
"The truth is I am disappointed with the negotiations. They are not moving fast enough. That is why I need you. When I say make some noise, I mean raise your voices. Demand real action. Shame those governments into doing more."
Youth have made their voices heard but politicians have not listened; they have been too busy talking.
Rio+20 has been an international gathering of over 50,000 people, whose ecological footprint was in infinitely bigger than its outcomes.
Rio+20 lacks commitment. It lacks ambition. It lacks the voice of the people. It has forgotten the people's voice, despite the mass mobilisations that occurred globally. It has forgotten the importance of intergenerational justice or the rights of women.
Governments have missed the boat. Rio+20 has missed the deadlines for creating a sustainable future.
Tck. Tck. Tck.
By Cécile Schneider, photo by Ben Powless.
Follow Cecile Schneider on Twitter: www.twitter.com/CcilSchndr