Juan’s Personal Experience at Rio+20

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Rio +20 The United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development

Is not often that we have opportunities in which we can feel that we are align with destiny, but my experience of Rio de Janeiro (Brazil) is one of those stories in which we feel that we are part of something greater than ourselves, part of an energy of hope and part of a generation that keeps a vision and creates actions for a better world.

The Future We Want was the title given to the Rio+20 conference where many world leaders, governments, private sector NGOs, children-youth and other groups came together to discussed on how to reduce poverty (a green economy in the context of sustainable development poverty eradication) advance social equity and ensure environmental protection( institutional framework for sustainable development.)

My journey begin with Youth Blast a five day conference held by the Major Group for Children and Youth. The Youth Blast was divided into a Brazilian meeting (June 7th and 8th) and an international meeting (June 10th till 12th). In total, more than 2.000 youths have attended the event. Representing the BK, Augusto, Cleide, Cristina, Kamila and Vinícius (Brazil) and Juan by Canada.

The workshop “Avatar, an experience” took some extracts of the film “Avatar”, from James Cameron, were used to explore the BK perspective on the environment. There were 15 persons in the Brazilian event and 22 participants in the international meeting. The activity inspired the youths to explore their inner qualities, which were used in the final exercise: through drawings, all the participants represented the world we want based on the inner qualities of each one of them. A lot of enthusiasm was visible in this creative process.

Another workshop, “EcoShanti: it’s our lifestyle”, there were around 20 participants, during the international meeting. The activity gave a great opportunity for the participants to reflect on inner sustainability, as well explore the impact that the seeds we sow through thoughts, words and deeds have on the planet. A powerful atmosphere of silence was created by a meditation experience and the beautiful images used during the activity.

We also had the opportunity to present these workshops at the People’s Summit the event where civil society had the opportunity influence the decisions made by the heads of state who attended Rio+20.

My journey continue at the official Conference of Rio+20 where we had the chance to get involved in a few actions as part of the UN Major Group (MGCY). BK Youth also collaborated with the objectives task group, which is a branch of the MGCY.

For the conference, BK participate in the proposal of introducing peace and non-violence as part of the sustainable development goals statement. This action was named “Sustainable Development Needs Peace” and drew attention of different delegates from around the world, as well as some Brazilian media channels like the Globo News TV. That brought a very different perspective on the normal ideas for bringing a new environment, being very nourishing and inspiring for all the participants.

During the Youth Blast BK Youth lead the workshops “Avatar, an experience” and “EcoShanti: it’s our lifestyle”. So, during the official UN Conference, there was an exposition about these workshops at the MGCY wall, within the Pavilion T, where all the side events were taking place. A display of pictures was put as part of the BK contribution for the Youth Blast conference.

BK Youth also organized a “Meditation for the Future We Want”, just in front of the Pavilion 3, where all the main events were happening. This activity was made in two days, and 11 participants had a chance to experience 30 minutes of silence, going within themselves and exploring their inner potential as the basis for a deep reflection on the future we want.

Another activity that counted on the BK participation, with a big contribution from the youths, was a beautiful ceremony of the award “Ray of the Day”. Bhutan was recognized for offering a different perspective on the progress of Sustainable Development: the country included happiness as a measure of growth, going beyond the simple economical aspect an contributing with their carbon footprint positive, meaning not only reducing carbon from the atmosphere but actually storing carbon while creating sustainable energy.

In summary Brahama Kumaris carry with honor the spirit of hope specially by the end of the conference where many participants were disappointed with the outcome of the Rio+20 document, our message was clear by saying that to find solutions to the world we need to include the spiritual dimension and the inner values of the self, that we also need to understand and realize consciousness in other words to align awareness and actions to create the future that we really want.

Rio+20 was one of the most important conferences in human history, a time were people of the planet called for newness and a new an elevated form of awareness, I saw that is through the energy and the power of the youth that this can be achieve because is the youth who are capable of bringing a revolution in our way of thinking and behaving.

Juan Vazquez
Brahama Kumaris Youth Representative for Rio+20

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