Rio + 20 was, according to U.N. Gen-Sec Ban Moon, too important to fail yet that's exactly what it did and that's all it did - fail.
Guardian enviro-scribe, George Monbiot, calls it, "the greatest failure of collective leadership since the first world war."
"The Earth's living systems are collapsing, and the leaders of some of the most powerful nations – the United States, the UK, Germany, Russia – could not even be bothered to turn up and discuss it. Those who did attend the Earth summit in Rio last week solemnly agreed to keep stoking the destructive fires: sixteen times in their text they pledged to pursue "sustained growth" the primary cause of the biosphere's losses.
"The efforts of governments are concentrated not on defending the living Earth from destruction, but on defending the machine that is destroying it. Whenever consumer capitalism becomes snarled up by its own contradictions, governments scramble to mend the machine, to ensure – though it consumes the conditions that sustain our lives – that it runs faster than ever before."
"...The governments which allowed the Earth Summit and all such meetings to fail evince no sense of responsibility for this outcome, and appear untroubled by the thought that if a system hasn't worked for 20 years, there's something wrong with the system. They walk away, aware that there are no political penalties; that the media is as absorbed with consumerist trivia as the rest of us; that, when future generations have to struggle with the mess they have left behind, their contribution will have been forgotten."
Monbiot then gives three reasons why, absent meaningful governmental action, individuals and non-state agencies should keep up the fight. One is to "draw out the losses over as long a period as possible" to keep as much intact as we can for our children and grandchildren. The second is to preserve as much as we can in hope that conditions, attitudes may change. The last is that, while we may not be able to influence global action, there remains much we can do in our own homelands - restoration, adaptation.