'Green Economy' sparks protests
The UN's plan seen by local groups as profiteering under the guise of environmental protection
Activists reject Rio+20’s green economy during a protest action in Manila (Photo by Kalikasan Party)
Indigenous peoples and environmental groups joined in speaking out on Thursday against the “Green Economy,” an idea being touted at the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20) in Rio de Janeiro this week. A "Green Economy" is a contradiction, said tribal leader Kakay Tolentino, secretary general of the Katribu Party. “The so-called green economy aims to maximize profits in the destruction of the global environment, without truly addressing the consequences of environmental degradation and people’s welfare,” Tolentino said. The UN launched the Green Economy Initiative in 2008, with the aim of developing economies "whose growth in income and employment is driven by public and private investments that reduce carbon emissions and pollution, enhance energy and resource efficiency, and prevent the loss of biodiversity and ecosystem services." Some civil society groups also assail the proposed mechanisms behind the initiative. Ricardo Reyes, president of the Freedom from Debt Coalition, said that although "Green Economy" sounds environment-friendly, it "will result in the exact opposite of the principles and objectives of the Earth Summit in 1992. "The development of renewable energies and the reduction of resource use are pushed aside in favor of the 'resource efficiency' of centralized, corporate forms of energy production and supply," he said. In preparation for this week's Rio+20 meeting, more than 35 financial institutions launched the Natural Capital Declaration last Saturday to demonstrate their "planet-saving intentions" and to "work towards integrating Natural Capital considerations into our financial products and services for the 21st century." Reyes, however, described the pledge as "the height of greed” from the financial sector. "We will not allow Mother Nature to have a price tag. We will not allow the commons or traditionally shared resources to be allowed in the hands of a few profit-driven corporations," Reyes said.