The Collaborative Future: From Rio +20 to World Water Day

By Jacob Devaney on Thursday March 12th, 2015

The Collaborative Future: From Rio +20 to World Water Day

When we work together we can create the future Mother Earth deserves.

Solutions are as simple as creating innovative ways to get people to transition from a consumptive economy which depletes resources, to one that is regenerative, a collaborative future where needs are met by bartering, gifting, and sharing goods and services which fosters trust and builds community.

This emergent paradigm is sprouting from the inside-outwards, starting with individuals who self-organize towards common goals and dreams for our beloved planet, peer to peer diplomacy is core to this process. This is the real story, the one that wasn’t told on mainstream media after the Rio +20 and this is what is unfolding right now on a global scale. The story is incomplete without your voice, together we are creating the hopeful future that our leaders turned their backs on.

The voices and concerns of our indigenous people, and of our youth were shut out of the final agreement. EU Commissioner for Climate Action Connie Hedegaard tweeted, “Nobody in that room adopting that text was happy.” Yet the dream is happening, the movement is growing, and the excitement and hope for what we can collectively create is building with each passing day as you will soon see. Before getting ahead of ourselves, please read the youth statement below for some background.

If these sheets of paper are our common future, then you have sold our fate and subsidised our common destruction. Where was our voice, the voice of our children and grandchildren in this? How can you listen to them in the future if you did not show the will to create the space now?

We have one planet. Our being, our thinking, and our action should not be constrained by national boundaries but by planetary ones. You failed to liberate yourself from national and corporate self-­interest and recognise our need to respect a greater more transcendental set of boundaries.

We came here to celebrate our generation. We have danced, and dreamed, and loved on the streets of Rio and found something to believe in. You have chosen not to celebrate with us.

You were supposed to show leadership. It was not just your job to seek consensus. It was your responsibility to commit, show ambition and to lead. You have failed.

You have worked hard to close a deal. So, if any of you think this document is the ambitious, action-­‐oriented outcome you said you wanted, please stand up.

If you are unable to stand up, then you must be unwilling to move forward. So we will move forward for you.

We know this:

We need intergenerational cooperation.

We need innovation and creativity.

We need to embrace the values of sustainability, equity, justice and respect for human rights.

We need to recognise that material resources are finite, but human potential is not.

And so,

We will create strong global institutions

We will create new paradigms of wealth and prosperity

We will act as the voice for future generations, one that you so wilfully ignored.

We will stand united beyond borders and bridge the national interests that divide us

We will implement what you have not.

We are moving forward decisively with action. We are not deterred. -Rio +20 Youth Statement


Though it was more than 2 years ago and it received very little media attention, this is exactly what is happening, and with your participation it will get bigger and become a reality. Organizations like Unify have come together with the United Religions Initiative, the Shift Network, UPLIFT, and many others to focus efforts for World Water Day and beyond. Life starts with Water, and so it is fitting that the movement to reclaim what is sacred, to heal our planet and our communities would start with a commitment to Water.

Rebecca Tobias Quote

We have many issues that separate us, but we all drink from the same world-wide well, we share Water in common. A focus on the commons, what we share together, and our responsibility to steward our shared future is the invitation of our time. We have the wisdom of the elders, the ancestors, the indigenous keepers to guide us.

As indigenous peoples, as humans, our priorities are the land and water, and to the land and water. Our responsibilities are to be stewards to the Earth and the animals, and holding that title we must live by it, and act as if it’s a law. Our ancestors once hunted and fished and lived on the land we remain and thrive on. In order to uphold our traditions we must protect our territory because the land and culture are two parts of the same whole. -Ta’Kaiya Blaney

How do you feel about this article? Join the conversation.

Jacob Devaney

Founder and director of Culture Collective, creative activist, musician, and producer.



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