Managing Change for Environment
A sweeping plan of environmental action, called Agenda 21,
made its world debut in June 1992 at the United Nations Conference on
Environment and Development, held in Rio de Janeiro,
Brazil. More formally identified as the Rio Declaration on
Environment and Development, the plan called upon every man, woman, and
child on Earth to take part in this global initiative to develop
lifestyles that would sustain a vibrant environment and create a world
in balance for all.
Leaders from 178 nations were present at the conference when
Agenda 21 was ratified. The number 21 refers to the 21st
century, considered the turning point for Earth-friendly sustainability
by many activists from scientific and environmental
communities. To do one's part effectively, it is important
gain familiarity with the four major components of Agenda 21.
Section I: Social and Economic
Dimensions is a seven-part section of the agenda which
focuses on everyday living aspects, including how the individual is
affected by global policies and how our daily habits affect the
- International Cooperation to Accelerate
Sustainable Development and Related Domestic Policies - Read the news from around the world
to know how foreign policy affects every individual everywhere.
- Combating Poverty - Hungry
people can't work. Send free food
around the world; 657 million cups of food have been distributed so far.
- Changing Consumption Patterns
- Buy local.
- Demographic Dynamics and Sustainability
- Learn how household demographics
affect the environment.
- Protecting and Promoting Human Health
Conditions - Healthy children become healthy adults. Become one of 70,000+
individuals every day who contributes health care for
- Promoting Sustainable Human Settlement
Development - Promote urban growth boundaries
in your community.
- Integrating Environment and Development in
Decision-Making - Learn how your elected officials view
environmental sustainability and vote accordingly.
Section II: Conservation and Management
of Resources for Development reinforces the impact
humans have on the plants and animals of the world and how our
personal, government, and business policies affect wildlife at every
- Protection of the Atmosphere -
Choose public transportation
- Integrated Approach to the Planning and
Management of Land Resources - Discover how partnerships between
people and industry, individuals and governments have solved
issues of sustainable land management.
- Combating Deforestation - Save 11.4 square feet
of rain forest every day. More than 41,000 acres of
rain forest have been saved thus far.
- Managing Fragile
Ecosystems: Combating Desertification and Drought
- Learn how desertification
encourages drought and how to combat it.
- Managing Fragile
Ecosystems: Sustainable Mountain Development -
Learn about the disastrous effects of mountain top removal
mining and how alternative fuel sources and
technologies can save the mountains and save lives in the
- Promoting Sustainable Agriculture and Rural
Development - Eat local. Eat in season. Enjoy farmers' markets.
- Conservation of Biological Diversity
- Without the entire ecosystem as we know it, human life could simply
not exist on Planet Earth. Learn how important sustained biodiversity
is for the sake of humankind.
- Environmentally Sound Management of
Biotechnology - Biotechnology
is here to stay but consumers want the freedom to make informed choices.
- Protection of the Oceans, All Kinds of Seas,
Including Enclosed and Semi-Enclosed Seas, and Coastal Areas and the
Protection, Rational Use, and Development of their Living Resources
- A sea of garbage the size of Texas is growing ever larger in the
Pacific Ocean, prompting marine scientists to caution us on how we dispose
of the many things we buy.
- Protection of the Quality and Supply of
Freshwater Resources: Application of Integrated Approaches to
the Development, Management, and Use of Water Resources
- The Dead Zone
in the Gulf of Mexico is a prime example of how our misuse of
freshwater resources upstream can destroy marine life hundreds of miles
- Environmentally Sound Management of Toxic
Chemicals, Including Prevention of Illegal International Traffic in
Toxic and Dangerous Products - Growing consumer awareness and safety
concerns led to executions and life-long prison sentences for
executives responsible for last year's global distribution of baby
formula and milk products tainted with the toxic industrial chemical,
- Environmentally Sound Management of Hazardous
Wastes - Toxic waste isn't just the stuff of science
fiction movies. Most Americans trash
hazardous waste every day. Find out how to do it
safely in your community.
- Environmentally Sound Management of Solid
Wastes and Sewage-Related Issues - Do away with solid
waste and sewage-related issues by embracing the humanure composting
toilet. Learn how to make one for just $25.
- Safe and Environmentally Sound Management of
Radioactive Wastes - This is one issue best left in the
hands of professionals but the more consumers know
about radioactive waste, the safer and more environmentally friendly
the solutions will be.
Section III: Strengthening the Role of
Major Groups highlights the responsibility of every
individual to do his or her share and acknowledges the ability of every
individual to have a direct effect managing change for environment
health and sustainability:
- Global Action for Women Towards Sustainable
and Equitable Development - Women are a driving force in the
battle for sustainable and equitable development the world over.
- Children and Youth in Sustainable Development
- Encourage children to participate
in an organic schoolyard garden project.
- Recognizing and Strengthening the Role of
Indigenous People and their Communities - Listen to what
the Earth's indigenous peoples are saying about listening to the Earth.
- Strengthening the Role of Non-Governmental
Organizations: Partners for Sustainable Development
- Get involved with private and non-profit organizations promoting sustainable
development from the local to the global communities.
- Local Authorities' Initiatives in Support of
Agenda 21 - Encourage local leaders
to join the International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives.
- Strengthening the Role of Workers and their
Trade Unions - Trade unions around the world understand
the significance of climate change on the workplace environment and
encourage workers to join a unified drive for
- Strengthening the Role of Business and
Industry - Money talks. Invest in 'green
stocks' to show support for companies that conduct business as if the environment matters.
- Scientific and Technological Community
- Organize a drive to collect castaway cell
phones to donate to battered women, the elderly, and disabled.
- Strengthening the Role of Farmers
- If there were no farmers, there'd be no food. No question.
Section IV: Means of Implementation
calls for strengthened coordination and cooperation from financial,
scientific, educational, commercial, legal, and governmental
- Financial Resources and Mechanisms
- Got a few bucks to spare and want to change somebody's
life? Consider funding a microlending project
in a developing country.
- Transfer of Environmentally Sound Technology,
Cooperation, and Capacity Building - Donate to
one of the many organizations that provide support, training, money,
and equipment to people in need.
- Science for Sustainable Development
- Spread the wonder of science by donating a low-cost, solar-powered
wireless computer to a child
in a developing country.
- Promoting Education, Public Awareness, and
Training - Join a grassroots
movement devoted to fighting poverty and improving the lives
of people everywhere. Happy, healthy people care about their
- National Mechanisms and International
Cooperation for Capacity Building in Developing Countries
- Sometimes all it takes is a baby chicken, pig, goose, or rabbit to
give someone the capacity to build a new,
- International Institutional Arrangements
- War, violence, and natural disaster destroy lives and the environment
both but your donations
of time, talent, or money can change lives.
- International Legal Instruments and Mechanisms
- Familiarize yourself with environmental laws that affect your
community to prevent catastrophic events in the future.
- Information for Decision Making
- Simple decisions, like putting computers to sleep, can help reduce global warming.
No one person can take action in every part of the agenda but
if every one of us chose one, two, or several of these initiatives and
made them an active part of our everyday living, change would quickly
become visible. Every adult can implement change by casting
votes for public policies and officials with an eye toward
environmental impact, honoring environmentally conscious
businesses by buying their products, teaching our children the
importance of the natural world we live in, and leading by example.