Rio+20 - Stockholm+40 Rio + 20 – Stockholm + 40


International conference on politics, ecology, summit protests and popular movements to Björn Eriksson’s memory


The environmental issue is becoming a central issue for public debate with the serious problems caused by the extermination of species diversity, global warming, energy and food crises. Popular movements have early on organized resistance against environmental degradation and for social justice. Cooperation has emerged across all borders to find constructive solutions to the crisis. How the ecological and social crisis will be resolved is also a central theme for the summit at the UN, WTO, EU, G8 and other international institutions. Here, social movements have protested and worked to ensure that another world is possible than the present world order which large corporations and governments support.


The first summit on the environment was the UN Conference on Environment in Stockholm in 1972. Here, organized popular movements counter conferences, demonstrations and dialogue with the official conference that became a model for subsequent summits not only within the United Nations and the environmental issue but also at most summits. Active within Friends of the Earth Sweden played a central role in the popular movement protests at the UN conference in 1972, which also played an important role in why Friends of the Earth International was founded in Stockholm 1971. Furthermore is the United Nations Conference on Environment in Rio de Janeiro in 1992, given attention worldwide through a new UN Conference on Environment in Rio 2012 providing further reason for the interest, especially in the international climate justice movement.


This justifies Friends of the Earth attention to 40-year anniversary of the UN Conference and the alternative social movement activities in 1972 to better view the progress by pulling experience of what has happened since then. This by setting up a meeting and the preparatory work and follow-up using the Web.


Bjorn Eriksson’s life’s work was crucial to the Swedish environmental movement and was instrumental in the emergence of an independent international environmental movement. He joined concrete criticism of environmentally hazardous and nuclear wastes energy by showing how we can build a low-energy society. In prospective studies on a sustainable Sweden and Scandinavia, he showed not only how a shift in society could be done technically, but also put great emphasis on the need to analyze power relations and revealed the critical role of social movements to push forward the social changes that are necessary for to solve environmental problems. Björn Eriksson joined also different roles that can easily be isolated from each other in ways that lead to environmental fight loses its force. He was an academician, throughout his adult life active in the environmental movement and the revolutionary Marxist active in the Socialist Party. Through its roots in both the scientific community, in social movements and the party he led to important understanding of the limits that were important to promote a broader understanding of all these groups. Within Socialist party, he was internationally one of the leading forces to build a ecosocialist understanding together with an understanding of social movement interaction as central to social change. He made significant contributions to eco-labeling work and in the Fair environmental space study. His action in different contexts is important today when the ecological and social crisis needs political solutions questioning the existing world order. The current value of his efforts is shown in the book Slutkört (describing the end of the automotive industry and the need to shift to other kind of production) by car worker Lars Henriksson, published this spring, which is dedicated to Björn Eriksson.


It is important to stress that there are people that are working together for change, not just organizations which justifies the conference dedicated to Björn Eriksson.


We therefore propose that:


FoE Sweden/JV take the initiative for an International Conference Stockholm +40 – Rio +20 on politics, ecology and summit protests from a social movement perspective to Björn Eriksson’s memory.


Conference will be held in spring 2012


  • Preparatory work by actively seeking participation by asking for essays and other material for discussion that can be made available on the internet starts already before JV’s and FOEI’s 40th anniversary in June 2010.
  • Collaboration is sought with all interested but especially Nordic environmental, consumer and solidarity organizations, trade unions and peasant organizations, the University of Gothenburg, the Socialist Party, FOEI, Via Campesina and the Association and Network Institute for Global Democracy.
  • The basis for starting work is a fund in memory of Björn Eriksson. MJV also looking for other resources and partners to implement practical conference.
  • A task force appointed to be responsible for implementation.
Details of the initiative
Joined documents