Yesterday a trash cleanup action born from the Estonian civic initiative “Let’s Do It!” took place in Rio de Janeiro as part of the UN Conference for Sustainable Development Rio+20. The purpose of the event was to introduce the world cleanup campaign “Let’s Do It World Cleanup 2012”.
Over a hundred people participated in the cleanup event in Rio de Janeiro’s Garota de Ipanema Park, cleaning up the park, beach, forest, and even the ocean floor. Participants hailed from 15 countries: Estonia, Brazil, Thailand, Canada, Lithuania, Korea, Sweden, Iran, Venezuela, Australia, Portugal, Austria, the USA, New Zealand, and Italy.
Foreign Minister Urmas Paet, who also participated in the cleanup event, said that civic initiatives are a good way to change how people think about things. “This year there are almost 100 countries participating in the ‘Let’s Do It World Cleanup 2012’ campaign,” he stated. “All of us want this kind of sustainable development. If each of us does a little bit, we can achieve a lot,” he added.
Paet said that it is essential to know the price of our actions as well as what inaction will cost us. “Developments today are extremely alarming – 85% of the oceans’ fish stocks are over-exploited, in the last 20 years CO2 emissions have increased by 38%, 67 million children in the world do not attend school, forests are decreasing by 5.2 million hectares per year, inequality is growing, and our ecological footprint is very large,” he noted. “Only focused global action can create change. Sustainable development is not a goal in and of itself; it is rather a path that enables us to have a future.”
Estonian Honorary Consul in Rio de Janeiro Oskar Metsavaht and one of the founders of the world cleanup campaign, Rainer Nõlvak, also participated in the event yesterday.
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