Connect Globally

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A UN sponsored group of young people put forward the above diagram after the 1992 Rio Environment Summit to illustrate what they would like to happen as a next step. Their idea was to establish a global democracy of youth working towards fulfilling Agenda 21 starting with young people's groups operating through their local school. This did not happen.

The nearest young people have come to the Rescue vision of a global network is The Student World Assembly, a non-governmental, non-­partisan organization created to represent and empower students globally. It provides resources, forums, and other tools through which students can educate themselves about the issues affecting humanity, discuss these issues with their peers from around the world, and translate their views and ideas for addressing these issues into meaningful action for living sustainably.

Act locally
Leadership at the national level is one key part of governance for sustainable development. However, initiatives at regional and local levels are also critical to its success. After all, local governments have the closest proximity to what people and businesses actually do how they pollute, how they produce and consume, how they experience health care and education systems. People usually decide to take action on a given issue because of what they perceive in their immediate environment and local governments have a lot to do with how a place looks, feels and functions. Local governments have to identify the critical relations among many factors likely to shape economic, social, political and environmental quality. But even the city level administration may be too remote from the day to day impacts of decisions. Effective governance also needs lower level local networks that include non-governmental actors, associations and businesses, for example to deal with social tensions or make the most of economic opportunities. As the UK Commission for Sustainable Development says: “National policy sets direction, but it’s practical action at the local level that makes sustainable development real.” Identifying the correct level of government for addressing a question is itself an important and often complex task. Large cities or metropolitan regions, for example, regroup a number of localities with divergent views on issues important to the greater metro area, as well as different ways of dealing with the range of problems cities handle. Also, many sustainability issues are “regional” in nature think of air pollution or land use. Coherent governance for sustainable development for these large urban areas often requires a regional institution that can co-ordinate efforts and solve inconsistencies in local policies and initiatives. Furthermore, strategies that are seen as simply one more government programme imposed from above have less chance of succeeding than those defined through consultation and debate.
The simplest way of assembling ideas and actions for living sustainable is to assist in developing a Local Agenda 21. Some ideas on how to do this are presented in the this wiki.