Out of the blue … Gleick on the road to Rio?

[Pls. see Update at end of this post -hro]

I’m not a frequent tweeter … but I came across an interesting tweet a few minutes ago (although it was posted 6 hours before I saw it!):

Climate Resistance is the blog of the U.K.’s Ben Pile, someone whose links I have confidence in following. Sure enough, Pile’s link took me to a site called Rio+20 Dialogues Vote for the Future you Want. On this site, in rather foggy fine-print, I found:

10,000+ Participants
First, experts, stakeholders, and academics from a variety of disciplines and backgrounds brainstormed ideas for improving the planet.

100 Recommendations
Then, a set of concrete recommendations were crafted and refined.

Your Vote
Now, it is up to YOU to suggest which ones are most needed.

In June, the recommendations will be discussed in the Sustainable Development Dialogues and 30 will be chosen to be conveyed directly to world leaders and decision makers at the Rio+20 Conference.

10,000+ Participants? Wow that’s an awful lot, even if they “participated” virtually … as it appears they did. But alas, I wasn’t “invited”, were you?! No, didn’t think so!

So I was curious to know why this exercise in participatory “democracy” had been going on so quietly that no one seems to have mentioned it before. Google, as usual was my friend. One of the top listings was a site called “Circle of Blue” … Never heard of this one either … But off I went into the wild blue yonder.

I landed on Circle of Blue where I learned:

Countdown To Rio
TUESDAY, 12 JUNE 2012 18:30
Check back with Circle of Blue for the latest news and reports in the lead-up to the Rio+20 conference. Make sure to stay tuned during the conference, as well, as we will be continuing our coverage through June 26.

By Lydia Belanger
Circle of Blue

Tuesday, June 12, 2002 (sic): Voting On 100 Recommendations
There are less than four days left to vote for Rio+20 priorities in water, food, energy, and sustainable development.

More than 20,000 government, organization, and business leaders from across the globe will descend on Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, this week for Rio+20, what is billed as the world’s most important gathering to date on global environmental issues.


The conference is a follow-up to the 1992 Rio Earth Summit, which also took place in Rio and resulted in Agenda21, a comprehensive document detailing sustainable development goals for members of the United Nations, as well as the 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg, South Africa, which served to reaffirm the goals that had been laid out in Agenda21.

I thought they were expecting 50,000, but what’s 30,000 between friends, eh?! Very conveniently, this page reiterates “Vote for the Future You Want” — Ballot Topics and Recommendations”. All 100 of them. As I scrolled through the page, I noticed a rather familiar face smiling out from the sidebar: that of the notorious – and recently rehabilitatedPeter Gleick.

So I decided to check the About page for “Circle of Blue”. And you’ll never guess what I found!

Pacific Institute? hmmmm …Small world, eh?!

If you are having a mouse-malfunction moment and cannot embiggen the image I captured, here’s all you need to know:

Circle of Blue is the international network of leading journalists, scientists and communications design experts that reports and presents the information necessary to respond to the global freshwater crisis. It is a nonprofit independent affiliate of the internationally recognized water, climate and policy think tank, the Pacific Institute. The Institute has fiduciary responsibilities for our grants and other income. Circle of Blue’s projects and journalism are independently overseen by our senior staff and advisory board.

Fancy that … an “international network of leading journalists”. And not one of them seems to have told us about this “Rio+20 Dialogue” in which we could have participated – if we’d been invited, of course!

But isn’t it good to know that we now have a “global freshwater crisis” on our hands! And it’s also good to know that “Circle of Blue” is a “non-profit independent affiliate” of Gleick’s personal fiefdom, the Pacific Institute.

Speaking of which, I believe that Anthony Watts is still waiting to hear from the principals at Independent Employment Counsel who allegedly conducted the highly questionable “independent investigation” on the Board’s behalf.

Amazing. Simply amazing.

UPDATE: 06/12/2012 11:12 PM PDT Found a few, well, circles I can’t quite square … From the About page:

Circle of Blue practices non-advocacy journalism and science, striving to report issues to the highest standards of journalistic and scientific ethics. […] (emphasis mine -hro]

Yet in the “General Support Section” of their “Sponsorship Policy” on their “Ethics and Sponsorship” page, one finds:

Contributions may in no way limit or put unspoken expectations on actions Circle of Blue or the Pacific Institute may take, research we may publish, or positions we may advocate.

How can an organization (or “project” as it is described on the Pacific Institute site) claim to “practice non-advocacy” whatever, when they refer to “positions [they] may advocate”?! Curious, eh?!

And speaking of “ethics” – as Circle of Blue so proudly and repeatedly does – how can an organization with such “high” standards tolerate the presence on its Advisory Board of one who is so profoundly ethically-challenged as Peter Gleick has proven himself to be?

And speaking of Gleick and Pacific Institute … If Circle of Blue, as noted on their About page, is an

independent affiliate of … Pacific Institute [which] has fiduciary responsibilities for our grants and other income

why is it that this is not disclosed on Pacific Institute’s financial statement?

YMMV, but this fuzziness reminds me of the “relationship” between the non-entity known as “Forest Ethics Canada” and Tides Canada.

I suppose it’s possible that in “non-advocacy” advocate circles of environmentalism and eco-activism, such “ethics” are acceptable. But there’s something about such arrangements that strikes me as being, well, somewhat less than strictly kosher!


3 thoughts on “Out of the blue … Gleick on the road to Rio?

    • I figure that’s what must have happened to mine, too :-) Then again, perhaps the organizers were just too busy trying to fit the big blue circle into the little red book in the hope that the “negotiators” would suddenly and miraculously find that they’re all in agreement (finally!) on a definition of the “green economy” ;-)

  1. Pingback: Bummer: Action On Climate Change Comes In Dead Last In UN Sponsored Vote : Stop The ACLU

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