That is a direct quote from the then former American Senator Al Gore as he was interviewed on the CBC Radio Show Quirks and Quarks in 1992 before the Rio Earth Summit twenty years ago this past week (you may hear the quote if you listen to the podcast here).
Its pretty clear to me what he was thinking, here was a chance for governments around the world to join together and defeat the newest boogie-man. Now that the cold-war was over and the evil empire was defeated, it was time to turn to the real enemy, and it was us, you and me. What better way to defeat "us" than by forming a supra-governmental organization under the auspices of the United Nations, that benevolent protector of all that is right and good with the world?
The Rio Earth Summit was an historic attempt to grab power, without a shot being fired anywhere. The governments and citizens of earth were about to have a massive guilt trip dumped onto them by the self-appointed protectors of the planet. The global organizing agenda, as Gore put it, is clear: "We are not entitled to exploit it (Earth) with impunity with no concern for the integrity of the ecological system." How dare we lowly humans aspire to live in comfort at the expense of any planetary resources? What could we be thinking? Woe to us for disturbing the habitat of the three-spined stickleback, the Northern Spotted Owl or the Frankston spider orchid, in a selfish attempt to provide food and shelter to mere humans. "Its just unforgivable if we allow the selfish impulses of the short term considerations," like harvesting logs for building or eating perhaps. How dare we?
The Rio Summit in 1992 promoted sustainable developement. I have nothing against that concept in general, it's eminently sensible. Owners who would destroy their very means of earning a living are just plain stupid. So, overfishing or over harvesting a renewable resource, just makes no sense. Notice the key word "owners," when ownership is not assigned or left to the commons, thats when the trouble begins. Today my interpretation of "sustainable" in the current enviro-babble includes ideas like, stagnant, no-growth, heavily regulated, uncompetitive, subsidized and top down. Nothing to do with ownership and more to do with the favourite new buzzword "stewardship," which comes complete with the guilt trip and none of the benefits of ownership.
Rio's successors have morphed into conferences against climate change, as if we humans controlled climate, more powerful than the Sun are we. A succession of meetings and treaties over the years backed by questionable data, produced by self-serving researchers, under the direction of the IPCC has made everyone guilty of tromping their filthy carbon footprints on everything. We are guilty of using fire for heat, light and to drive our machines. We are guilty of contravening the questionable hypothesis of anthropogenic global warming (AGW). By merely breathing, we, you and I, add to the carbon burden of the planet's atmosphere, adding, by the way the one essential gas of photosynthesis, carbon dioxide, from which all earthly organic food originates. Do you aspire to a low ecological footprint? Then the poverty of Sierra Leone is for you (see the graph above), or if you want to be in the green zone of sustainability and human welfare, then the wealth and freedom of Cuba beckons.
Rio+20 convenes this week, committed to continue the fraud of sustainable development. While all the major leaders of the world were in Rio twenty years ago, none are coming to Rio+20, things have changed. Much to the chagrin of enviro-statists like George Monbiot who warns that its "make-or-break" time. So deluded are he and his colleagues, that they fail to grasp that the no-growth scenario is coming fast, as nation states crumble under massive debt-loads and unfundable liabilities, and depressed economies become the norm. Be careful what you wish for George.
The only good news is that people are slightly more skeptical about AGW, and the ability of governments to solve anything. One can only hope.