1992 Rio Earth Summit — Firmly established the concept of sustainable development
Foto: Evangelista Ferreira
The area reserved for the LBV in the Global Forum attracted the attention of the public and became known as “Christ’s Booth”, precisely because of the emphasis the Organization gives to the brotherly and ecumenical message of Jesus, for believing that values like Solidarity, Respect, and Love are of utmost importance when it comes to consolidating a better world.
Twenty years ago, the world was beginning to better understand the serious implications of climate change on the planet. Much of this awareness, it can be said, is the result of the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development, better known as the 1992 Rio Earth Summit, which was held in Rio de Janeiro (Brazil). The meeting brought into our everyday lives the defense of the paradigm of “sustainable development” (a then recent concept and not fully understood today) thanks to the active participation of organized civil society. At the time thousands of activists and sympathizers of socio-environmental causes took part in the main parallel event: the Global Forum, at the Aterro do Flamengo.
The Rio de Janeiro summit contributed towards a real advance compared with the first international conference on the Human Environment, which took place in Stockholm, Sweden, in 1972. The debate gained new dimensions and the conviction that economic growth must be alert to the limitations created by exhausting natural resources and to the danger that this represents for life on our planet. The event was also marked by the fact that it brought together the greatest number of Heads of State in the whole History: 117 Heads of Government attended the meeting in Rio. The conference was also notable for the signing of important treaties and agreements, among which were the Agenda 21, the Convention on Climate Change and the creation of the Fund for the Environment.
LBV’s campaign was a highlight at the conference
During the 1992 Rio Earth Summit, the Legion of Good Will launched its campaign “Human beings are animals too. Protect the Brazilian children”. The response from society was immediate. With the support from the media and the involvement of almost 100 Brazilian celebrities, the initiative was a success. Its main objective was to awaken people to the urgent need to invest in the future of the greatest exponents of Nature: children. From them it is expected that a better world be built through an Education for Peace and a mentality that favors environmental conservation. The campaign, created by the advertising agency DPZ, won the Gold Lion Award at the International Advertising Festival in Cannes/France, and the Golden Rooster Award at the Gramado Festival, in Brazil, both in 1993.
Also two decades ago, in a pioneering way, the Organization warned of the fact that the debate about the environmental issue would have to include the economic and social pillars, because it is impracticable to discuss sustainability and taking care of the environment without considering the urgent need to take so many people from all over this Earth out of extreme poverty.