The recent gathering of the parties to the Montreal Protocol provided some interesting insights into the workings of what
has been touted as the "most successful environmental treaty" ever enacted.
It struck me that the real heavy
lifting was done behind closed doors,in "contact groups" or "bi-lateral" discussions, much like how politics
works everywhere else in the world. This was a bit disappointing. I had expected a more open and transparent process
but it quickly became obvious that this forum was an insiders game. It seems that these days the more one hears about transparency,
the less transparent the organization is likely to be.
While is appears that much good work has been done in
the past it now seems that the goal is to move from ozone depletion to climate change. While climate change is a noble
pursuit it seems a bit duplicitious to subvert a treaty designed to solve one problem into another problem area. It
could be argued that the ends justify the means, but this argument only supports the duplicity, it does not resolve it.
recent meeting of the parties of the Montreal Protocol once again tested the definitions of "sustainable". While
it appears that the Protocol has done some very important work in tackling the problem of ozone depletion it felt like the
primary focus at this meeting was how to keep the funds flowing into the coffers of the Ozone Secretariat.
that such is the fate of all quasi-governmental organizations but whatever happened to doing a good job and then moving on?
In this case the treaty has done some very good work but it probably is time to consider downsizing. Why do well
over a thousand delegates, staff, and lobbyists have to travel to some distant location to meet for a week to make decisions
that could be handled by teleconferencing? Why not send the money to help developing nations provide clean water to
their people or some other cause?
We were somewhat disappointed by what we found at this meeting. While we are
not pro-chemical, we found it highly unusual for an environmental group to become so focused on banning methyl bromide that
they offered up "alternative" (methyl iodide) that certainly appears to be much harder on the environment and its
people than the strawman product methyl bromide. I suppose if the goal is to eventually ban all agricultural chemicals
then this path again fits in with the Machaivellian approach.
This approach does not seem to be suastainable
on many fronts; it does not promote sustainable solutions to problems we are facing with food production. It is not
a good use of resources and it over spending to solve the ozone problem and therefore in the end the Protocol itself is not
sustainable. We had hoped for a more positive experience
We have spent quite a bit of time looking for sustainable production technologies and methods but we thought it might be
time to check in on some "high" level topics which relate to sustainability. So we are off to the meeting
of the parties of the Montreal Protocol Treaty to Protect the Ozone.
The Montreal Protocol has been the most successful
environmental treaty to date, according to the news reports we have found. We are excited at the prospects of seeing
just how this group has been so successful at saving the ozone layer. We are looking forward to hearing of the progress in
the "healing" of the antarctic ozone hole and networking with others who are concerned about producing food in a
safe and sustainable way.
Hopefully we can gather new information on alternative methods to treat crops that for years
have relied on methyl bromide as one of the primary production tools.
We will continue to post our findings as
we participate in the meetings. Stay tuned for further updates.