Honesty of President of Uruguay surprising Rio +20 summit speech
"I present this to the authorities here in all the organisations represented here, thanks very much. And our thanks go to the people of Brazil and their president. Thank you also goes to the United Nations. As all speakers I think have spoken before me have said, they as well have expressed their willingness as governments to assist all of these agreements that we subscribe to. But having said that, I think we need to do some thinking out loud and ask ourselves some questions.
All afternoon we've been talking about sustainable development. And we've been talking about bringing huge numbers of people, huge amounts of people out of poverty. So what are we thinking about in all of this? Patterns of production and consumption that we have at the moment are those of the rich societies. Now, what would happen to this planet, I ask myself if the Hindus, were to have the same number of cars per family as the Germans do? How much oxygen would be left to breathe? The world has today the material elements that it needs for people to -- does it have the resources to be able to spend as much resources as the rich societies spend and use or not? We need to have a discussion about this.
Our civilisation has to do with competition and the market. Material an expressive process but the market has produced market societies. Explosive. And it's led to this global globalisation. Which now gives us a planetary wide view of events. But are we governing globalisation or is it governing us? Can we talk about solidarity and that we're all pulling in the same direction when you have economies based on unfair competition? Is that really all about fraternity? Now, I'm not saying any of that to deny the importance of this event, don't get wrong. On the contrary. The challenge that we have before us is so huge, so encloses colossal. The great process is political. Man does not govern, is not master of the forces they have -- man has released. It's the other way around. Those forces are governing man and life because we didn't come to the palnet to develop ourselves in general terms. We came in -- we were given life to be happy because life is transitory. It's very short. Life is what is fundamental. But, if I -- if life is going to run away from me, if all I'm doing is working to buy things to get more if society of consumption is the energy of everything, where does this go? If consumption is stopped or reduced, then the economy slows down and if the economy slows down, then there's stagnation. But consumption is the very thing that is consuming the planet. And people want to sell more and more. An electric light bulb can't last more than a thousand hours. Some of them. But there are -- we could have lights that could last for longer but they would cost so much we couldn't afford them. And so we're in this vicious circle of the throwaway society.
These are political issues. We need to start to fight for another kind of culture. We don't want to go back to a caveman existence we need to be governed by the market. We need to govern the market itself. That's where I say the problem is really a political problem. And in my humble opinion, I would say that the thinkers of old, I'd be curious, Seneca said that a poor person is not someone who doesn't have very much, but the person who really is poor is the person that continues to need more and more and more and desires more and more and more. So it's a cultural concept.
So I salute the efforts that have been made here and the agreements that have been concluded . Some may not be popular but we have to be aware of these issues. The water crisis for example. Degradation of the environment. These aren't causes, the cause is our model of civilisation that we ourselves have set up and what we have to revise is our own way of living: My country has three million inhabitants, little more, 3,200,000. But we have some of the best cattle herds in the world and sheep herds. The best in the world. My country exports meat and milk. Milk products. L. Almost 80% of Uruguay has land that can be used for farming. My brother farmers were formerly working 8 hours, now they only work 6 hours. But they -- then they have to have two jobs so they end up working more than before because they have to pay for all of the things that they've bought, the cars, and other objects. It's like rheumatism that's taking over the body and taking away the life. Is that -- Is this the destiny of human life?
Development cannot fly in the face of happiness, it should promote human happiness, love, human relations, relationships between parents and children. Friends life is the most important treasure we have and when we fight for environment, the first element of the environment is human happiness. That's what it's called. Thank you"
Eastern Republic of Uruguay to address the Rio+20 conference, Mr. Jose Mujic ~