In 1992, more than 170 countries came together at the Rio Earth Summit and have agreed to pursue sustainable development, protect biological diversity, prevent dangerous interference with climate systems, and conserve forests.
But, 25 years later, the natural systems on which humanity relies continue to be degraded.
Since 1970 humanity’s ecological footprint has exceeded the Earth’s capacity and has risen to the point where 1.6 planets would be needed to provide resources sustainably. The biodiversity index has fallen by more than 50% as the populations of other species continue to decline.
Greenhouse gas emissions have doubled while the impacts of climate change are becoming apparent. The World has lost more than 48% of tropical and sub-tropical forests.
Brazil’s economy has been booming during the past decade. It grew from the ninth to the sixth-largest in the World. While this growth has brought many socioeconomic benefits, it has come with a downside and significant environmental impacts.
Brazil has the highest rate of deforestation worldwide, while pollution threatens the country’s drinking water supply.
The economic failures stem from the problem that environmentally damaging activities are financially rewarded. A forest is usually worth more money after it is cut down.
Political failures happen when governments can not or will not implement effective policies. Communication failures centre on poor consultation or community involvement in the policy process.