MY IMPRESSIONS FROM JOHANNESBURG
I was invited to participate in the UN World Summit on environmental
issues held in Johannesburg, by Ashoka, an international association.
The meeting of other members of the association from India, Indonesia,
South African Republic, Colombia, Mexico, Mozambique, Paraguay,
Poland, USA took place in Tlholego, one of famous eco-villages,
i.e. environment friendly villages, built in compliance with traditional
knowledge and new experience of ecological building industry. However,
it is not the main purpose, what is the most important is the creation
of human community where people live like a big family, helping
each other, co-operating and living in harmony with nature. We met
there a week prior to the opening of the Summit to exchange information
on what happened in respective countries in the lapse of ten years
from the first UN World Summit held in Rio de Janeiro where the
document called Agenda 21 was born which is considered to be the
bible of global world dealing with how to attain permanent and sustainable
life on the earth. The Agenda 21 offers a detailed recommendation
on what governments of respective countries should do to secure
a harmonic co-existence with the nature. I was concerned especially
by chapter 24 describing the need of active involvement of women
in decision-making processes within the society. I have prepared
presentation on this issue (see Appendix no. 1) and at the same
time I opened a discussion on internet as a contribution of GAIA
environmental agency to the summit – on the issue of „Sustainable
Way of Life and the Feminine Approach“ at www/ecn.cz/gaia/engl/newsletter.
Under the logo of the UN world summit there was a subtitle People,
Planet, Prosperity“ and on my way from the airport I was immediately
struck by the idea how the people today perceive the language of
symbols. To reach some solution, the word “planet” should precede
the word “people” since the planet will survive without us but not
the other way round. The sub-issues were power, food, drinkable
water and health – all these are conditioned by healthy planet.
The outcomes of joint discussions in Tlholego was the „Ashoka Green
Paper for the WSSD“ containing specific examples of the activities
of our colleagues: former software engineer Jadwiga from Poland
preferred simple life in a farm and although she was awarded the
Goldman Prize, which is an alternative to Nobel Prize she is now
involved in ecological agriculture. Doctor Alan from Mozambique
quitted his career of a professor in the Institute of Technology
in Massachusetts, USA and plants trees in Mozambique. Ravi, an engineer,
photographer and manager organizes waste management with wide participation
of local community in India.
The main aim of the meeting in Johannesburg 2002 was the implementation
of ideas born in Rio de Janeiro in 1992 and activities of individual
members of Ashoka Association were simply cut out for this. We all
aim to a change resulting from specific work in a specific location.
Upon the arrival to Johannesburg we focused on what was interesting
to us. We participated in the discussions, workshops and exhibitions
related to our concerns and work. I headed for Nasrek, where the
“Tent of Women” was placed where the discussion oscillated around
non-governmental organization and issues preferred by women were
presented. It was a huge tent located far from other happenings.
I thought that this was the way how segregation works. Even the
location of the tent reflects the situation within the society in
which woman and her life is on the verge.