By Felix Dodds, Michael Strauss with Maurice Strong, publishers Routledge (2012)
Forty years after the United Nations Conference on the Human Environment in Stockholm, the goal of sustainable development continues via the Rio+20 conference in 2012. This book will enable a broad readership to understand what has been achieved in the past forty years and what hasn’t. It shows the continuing threat of our present way of living to the planet.
It looks to the challenges that we face twenty years from the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development, "The Earth Summit," in Rio, in particular in the areas of economics and governance and the role of stakeholders.It puts forward a set of recommendations that the international community must address now and in the the future. It reminds us of the planetary boundaries we must all live within and and what needs to be addressed in the next twenty years for democracy, equity and fairness to survive. Finally it proposes through the survival agenda a bare minimum of what needs to be done, arguing for a series of absolute minimum policy changes we need to move forward.
"At a time of mounting threats to the sustainability of the planet, and as we prepare for the 20 year review of the original Rio Conference, it is essential to understand the road that has brought us to this juncture, so that we can understand the momentous opportunities and tremendous challenges that we face in reaching for a sustainable future. Dodds, Stauss and Strong provide a compelling narrative of the road that brought us to this point and outline a potential path for moving forward." – Adnan Z. Amin, Director-General, International Renewable Energy Agency
"40 years ago Olof Palme reminded us that we must share and shape our future together – it is a shared responsibility containing difficult choices. A transition towards a green economy is one of those difficult choices. One that requires political leadership. It will not happen unless we make it happen. Let's put the world economies to work for a common, sustainable future – we can't afford otherwise. Dodds, Stauss and Strong provide... suggestions on how we might address these future challenges." – Ida Auken, Minister for the Environment of Denmark.
"Felix Dodds, Michael Strauss and Maurice Strong uses their intimate experience of UN processes to detail the long and sometimes painful journey from the Stockholm summit of 1972 towards Rio +20 in 2012. The distillation of history would be useful to anyone new to the issues. But more important is the dissection of the various forces at play, including trade, competitive development, aid and environmental awareness. Those forces are still here, and will play a major role in shaping the path towards global sustainability - or not - well beyond Rio." – Richard Black, BBC Environment Correspondent
"It is a privilege to review the recent history of a remarkable initiative that changed attitudes and perceptions, and introduced a new approach for determining the future of Planet Earth. Written by outstanding players that contributed effectively to the success of this major effort, it covers in detail scientific, diplomatic and strategic aspects of a process that peacefully brought together all nations." – Henrique B. Cavalcanti, Federal Minister of Environment in Brazil. Former Chairman of the UN Commission on Sustainable Development and Former Deputy Minister of Mines and Energy, Former Deputy Minister of Interior, and Former President of Siderurgia Brasileira SA – Siderbrás, President of FUNATURA (an NGO), Delegate to Stockholm-1972, to Rio de Janeiro-1992, and Johannesburg-2002.
"This is a crucial book for any who want to see how much has been achieved and how much remains to be done in combating Climate Change. Incisive and realistic, it provides an essential background for all who want to understand the most important material issue of our time." – John Selwyn Gummer, Baron Deben, PC - Former Secretary of State for the Environment
"The first Rio Earth Conference set us on three tracks to sustainable development – social, environmental, economic. In this definitive book, Maurice Strong, one of the architects of that iconic conference, joins with Felix Dodds and Michael Strauss to review the convergence and collisions on the development journey since 1992 and to consider how Rio+20 can truly become a platform for achieving 'the future we want.' Their relevant and enduring message – we are all shareholders in Earth Incorporated and have a responsibility to take the most sustainable paths to prosperity, for people and planet." – H. Elizabeth Thompson L, Assistant Secretary-General, Executive Coordinator UN Conference on Sustainable Development Rio+20 and former Minister for Energy and Environment of Barbados.
"Only One Earth is a most influencing call to significantly modify the path of economic and social behavior. It is impressive as it spans 40 years of environmental diplomacy at the highest level. It is unique in doing so as the authors were main actors and the first-row participants of at least the last 20 years of the period which is described in the book." - Luc Hens, Gaia (22, 55, 2013)
"Only One Earth is ... undoubtedly the best volume ever to trace the history of sustainable development within the UN." – Crosslands Bulletin
"... there are many worthwhile chapters that make this an important book and one that shuld be used by those that teach in these issues and read by those who are responisble for addressing the challenges of peace, security and development." –Michael Bradshaw
About the Author
Felix Dodds is the Executive Director of Stakeholder Forum for a Sustainable Future. He has been active at the UN since 1990 and set up three global NGO coalitions for UN Conferences, Summits and Commissions, including the UN Commission on Sustainable Development. He is the author or editor of several books, including How to Lobby at Intergovernmental Meetings and Climate Change and Energy Insecurity.
Michael Strauss is Executive Director of Earth Media, an independent political and communications consultancy based in New York. Michael serves as media consultant and advisor to governments, UN agencies and civil society coalitions. For the Rio+20 Summit in 2012, he was designated Civil Society/ Media Liaison by the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA). He has served as media coordinator for NGO coalitions since the lead-up to the 1992 'Earth Summit', and has worked extensively with NGOs, Trade Unions, Youth, Women, Indigenous Peoples, Local Authorities at the UN Commission on Sustainable Development in New York.
Maurice Strong served as Secretary-General of both the United Nations Conference on the Human Environment (Stockholm, 1972), which launched international negotiations on environmental issues and led to the establishment of UNEP, and the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development ('The Earth Summit', 1992, Rio de Janeiro). He was the first Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). He has played a unique and critical role in globalizing the environmental movement, as part of an extraordinary career that spanned both business and public service in the fields of international development, the environment, energy and finance. The trail that he pioneered has continued to the Rio+20 conference of 2012.