Friday, 15 June 2012

Plus ca change?

It's only five days to go before the Rio +20 Summit. Twitter is awash with comment and speculation, exhortations to politicians and prophesies of doom. The politicians themselves, meanwhile, are peppering their rhetoric with talk of green growth, sustainable prosperity, and similar oxymorons.

So I thought I'd check out the Rio+20 website myself to find out what is actually meant to be happening. Among the polit-speak of compromise and collaboration, commitment and committees, I came across a clip of Ban Ki-Moon, the UN's Secretary General, explaining what he wants - for everyone - in the post-Rio future. They were simple aspirations. Clean air, he said; safe water; enough food for all; a good education: and a decent living. It was inspiring of course, but also strangely familiar.

Then I remembered a favourite quote from Jerome K Jerome's Three Men in a Boat, written in 1889:

'Throw the lumber over man! Let your boat of life be light, packed with only what you need - a homely home and simple pleasures, one or two friends, worth the name, someone to love and someone to love you. A cat, a dog, a pipe or two, enough to eat and enough to wear, and a little more than enough to drink; for thirst is a dangerous thing.... You will find the boat is easier to pull then..'

I wonder if he's read it?

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