Rio+20 outcomes have left the big environmental campaigners less than impressed... what can be done?
Brazil hosted the UN Conference on Sustainable Development on June 20 to June 22 in Rio de Janeiro.
It's the follow up to the 1992 conference when world leaders assembled for the first time to draw up global remedies to
combat climate change and safeguard biodiversity.
A recent WWF report indicated how urgent radical action was needed by leaders at Rio, WWF's recent study revealing ongoing biodiversity decline fuelled by accelerating global consumption...
The WWF says consumption of natural resources is 50 per cent greater than what the planet can sustainably produce... And that 2.7 billion people are now experiencing severe water shortages.
WWF's Living Planet Report reveals it is currently taking one and a half years for the earth to absorb the CO2 produced and regenerate the renewable resources needed to replace what people use within 12 months.
A Met Office study in the UK last year of 24 countries also revealed evidence that global climate change is happening, including evidence of rising sea levels, temperature increases, melting glaciers and changes to rainfall patterns...
The erratic weather patterns of recent years and an unprecedented amount of major natural disasters also stacks up a considerable argument that says integrating environmental responsibility into business and social activity is an absolute priority on a global scale.
However, despite the growing mandate for strong action to stop environmental damage and create sustainable economies the final Rio+20 'The future we want' document offers little more than spin say environmental campaigners.
'The future we want' outcomes document promises the world leaders will renew their: "commitment to sustainable development and to ensuring the promotion of an economically, socially and environmentally sustainable future for our planet and for present and future generations."
However, environmentalists have been unimpressed by what is being perceived as a glaring lack of detail about how progress on environmental protection will be reached...
Also a lack of emphasis on environmental protection compared to economic development.
Commitments on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in the document are little more than a promise to hold more talks, for instance...
Greenpeace's Kumi Naidoo describes the results of the Rio+20 Earth Summit as "three days of empty rhetoric and greenwash from world leaders."
Despite the urgency of the situation: "The leaders of the most powerful countries supported business as usual, shamefully putting private profit before people and the planet..."
Mary Robinson, former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, has described the document as a "failure of leadership."
"I had also hoped for greater progress on creating institutions to hold governments accountable..." she said.
WWF Director General Jim Leape has also waded in, labelling the outcomes as a lost opportunity to build sustainable futures for the next generations.
But despite the lack of collective action on a global scale he has been quick to praise many organisations whether they are governments, businesses, non-profit organisations; as well as individuals who are taking positive steps...
This is where the reaction should lie to the disappointments of Rio.
Some of the big commitments made outside the negotiating rooms of Rio include in The Maldives which has announced the world's biggest marine reserve; and also a scheme in the UK to measure companies' carbon footprints.
Consumers, citizens and employees the world over have a responsibility to be pro-active now not just reactive to the latest news on the slow progress towards environmental sustainability...
By making positive lifestyle decisions, including decisions on what products to buy, supporting recycling efforts in the home or in the local community, backing campaigns to address political change and supporting companies and non-profits that are genuinely concerned about the environment.
These should be the positive global responses to Rio+20 by all those who care about such matters...