Monday, June 1
Flying to Rio de Janeiro from New York, we pass over Freshkill Landfill, the largest man-made object in the world. It reminds me that we Americans throwaway twice our body weight in garbage every day.
In Miami Airport’s red-carpet lounge a journalist calls in his “angle” on his way down to Rio: “I’ve got it. It’s good. Are you there? Yeah, well here it is. It’s chaos, it’s impasse, gridlock if you will, but it’s the future of diplomacy. It’s how business will be done from now on—big, unwieldy gatherings. Okay? Good.”
I talk with a lobbyist for a breast-feeding advocacy group. Talking with her reminds me of the baby, just weaned, who I’ve left behind with his father. Why am I on this plane to Rio? As a mother of a child of the twenty-first century, as an environmental foundation director, or as a dharma student?
I read the World Bank report on Environment and Development which concludes that development must still be the primary goal for the Third World. The report sets the tone for the conference. Two years ago conceived of as “Environment and Restoration” it is now “The U.N. Conference on Environment and Development”—UNCED, nicknamed UNSAID for all that various nations have negotiated not to discuss; the U.S.: overconsumption; the oil-producing nations: energy; Israel: water in the occupied territories; Latin America: population issues; the forest-owning countries: forest management.
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