Message for Rio+20 - Pierre-Yves Cousteau

14 May 2012 | Article

Twenty years ago, my father Jacques-Yves Cousteau was at the Rio Summit. One year after the conference, this is what he wrote:

"What concrete results were adopted in Rio? A revolutionary program of badly needed reforms? Of course not! Two timid conventions signed, about biodiversity and global warming, as well as an inflated document, Agenda 21, were immediately criticized by a sarcastic press, still under the influence of industrial lobbies. We must open our eyes, our ears, our hearts! It is urgent to introduce, in international politics, a new concept: the management of risks. This management begins by choices that must eliminate all the risks that have a chance, even minute, to threaten the essential survival of our species. However serious problems are, such as pollution, desertification, depletion of the ozone layer, warming of the planet or elimination of living species, we remain practically unaware of the main cause of all the threats that menace our planet and future: the population explosion."

Twenty years later, I wish I could say that our leaders have heard this alarm call and acted accordingly, responsibly, to ensure sustainability and human dignity. Today, for the Rio+20 summit, all I can do is hope that they will open their eyes to the emergencies we face, before it is too late.