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Scene from a multi-day Youth Blast conference for children and youth at Rio+20, June 12. (Photograph by Circuito Fora do Eixo/Flickr)

How You Can Join Rio+20 From Afar

The UN Rio+20 Conference on Sustainable Development is kicking off next week in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.  People from around the world are arriving in that beautiful city, each attempting to change the course of the proceedings, and perhaps of history, in his or her own way.  Member states of the United Nations will negotiate policies to shape the sustainability of human development and our natural resources.  Now, more than ever before, we must make these decisions with an eye on the future.

Unfortunately we can’t all make it to Rio de Janeiro this June.  But with today’s technology and the hard work of the outstanding members of the sustainable development community, we can engage in the process even if we’re not present at Rio in person.   Make your voices heard, spread the word, and keep informed! Here’s how:

Social Media

What’s one huge difference between the Earth Summit in 1992 and what’s happening this year?  Twenty years of mind-bending technological progress, at the most visible forefront of which are new social media tools.  Global citizens can today make rapid, rich, and rewarding connections with each other across giant physical spaces.  Rio+20 is about the future of the planet, the biggest space of all for most of us.  Let’s all connect to what it’s about, and what’s happening.

On Twitter, keep an eye on these hashtags for a stream of updates from negotiations, more than 500 side events, and lots of other sustainability activities in Rio in late June: #rioplus20  #earthsummit  #futurewewant

On Facebook, check out and “like” these pages: UNRioplus20 and Road2rio20. Also, follow these great sources for updates:

UN Rio+20 Conference: @UN_Rio+20

UN Development Programme: @UNDP

UN Environmental Programme: @UNEP

UN CDS Major Group for Children and Youth: @MGCY_UNCSD

Brice Lalonde, Rio+20 Executive Coordinator: @BriceLalonde

National Geographic Environment: @NatGeoGreen

Human Impacts Institute: @HumanImpacts


More detailed and sometimes wonky reports on goings-on at Rio, from what’s being negotiated to the activities of civil society, will be available in quantity as well.  If you’re interested you can begin by checking out these sources:


Want to actually see and hear the sounds of the world’s current and future environmental leadership?  Expect plenty of coverage of Rio+20 events in video format.  Bookmark, and keep an eye there for live updates and video straight from sources on the ground at Rio. Also check out the Live United Nations Webcast site.

Other Coverage

The Earth Summit Watch is a project and website designed to solicit information on what individual countries around the world are doing to prepare for Rio+20, including an interesting map showing which countries have a head of state who has committed to attend.  Also, the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD), which reports on matters concerning the gamut of sustainable development issues, will have dedicated coverage of Rio+20 meetings and side events.

This post originally appeared in part at the Human Impacts Institute Blog and was republished with permission. You will find more coverage of Rio+20 there and at National Geographic’s Sustainable Earth: Road to Rio+20 hub.