It was June of 1992. The location was Rio de Janeiro. The occasion was the world conference on environment and development. A large number of people had come out on the streets. They were protesting the arrival of George Bush senior, the then president of the US.
UNCED saw the largest ever gathering of heads of government in history. Ceremony, glitter and pomp were played out against a backdrop of demonstrations, haggling and scandal. The Down to Earth team, which witnessed the entire pageant, records its impressions
EVERY time an American family decides to take its car out, the resulting carbon dioxide adds to the existing stock in the atmosphere for at least a hundred years. When the polar cap cannot bear the trapped heat, it will melt and drown the distant country of Maldives or Bangladesh. Every time somebody in the United Kingdom decides to use a fire extinguisher with halons, it is the Australians and the Chileans who are likely to feel the impact of the ozone hole.
Over 50,000 people representing a cross section of society, from environmental activists to corporate representatives and from civilians to government delegates, are expected attend the UN summit on sustainable development at Rio this year.