20 Jun

“Grow, Include, Protect”

Today marks the beginning of the United Nation Conference on Sustainable Development taking place over the next few days in Rio de Janiero, Brazil. The conference commemorates the first Earth Summit twenty years ago in 1992 at which present nations adopted Agenda 21, which was meant to be  “a blueprint to rethink economic growth, advance social equity and ensure environmental protection.”

With the working definition of sustainable development as meeting “the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs”, you might think sustainability is a hard metric. Conversely, it is actually very easy to measure, or at least it seems to be in the recent report released by the UN, Keeping Track of our Changing Environment: From Rio to Rio+20 (1992-2012).

While the report is pretty lengthy, it is full of a lot of interesting facts that are important in considering ways our world needs to move forward toward a sustainable future. One fact I found particularly interesting:

“The average global citizen consumes 43 kg (about 95 lbs.)  of meat per year, up from 34 kg (75 lbs.) in 1992

Based on different studies and considering the entire commodity chain (including deforestation for grazing, forage production, etc), meat production accounts for 18-25% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions (UNEP 2009, Fiala 2008, FAO 2006).”

Just another reason to go vegetarian, or participate in Meatless Monday!

To learn more about Rio+20, check out Al Jazeera’s feature or the UN website.


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