Welcome to Rio

Wednesday afternoon, the first part of Earth Day Network's delegation to the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, better known as Rio+20, touched down in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. At the Rio+20 Conference, world leaders, along with thousands of participants from governments, the private sector, NGOs and other groups, will come together and attempt to jumpstart the green economy and ensure environmental protection while fostering international development, advancing equality, and reducing poverty .

We landed in Brazil to the unfortunate news that President Obama will not be attending this once- in- a- lifetime conference. In April, United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki Moon called Obama’s participation in the Conference “crucial.” Earth Day Network and many other organizations pushed President Obama to attend the conference by sending a letter to the White House on the dire situation our planet faces and the need for the U.S. to position itself as a green-economy leader; many of you also sent letters

While the news of Obama’s absence is certainly a blow for the chances of a strong outcome at Rio+20, the work on the ground continues. And Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson will lead the delegation for the United States.

Currently, negotiators are in the final stages of the last preparatory meeting before the High-Level Conference begins on June 20th. Country delegates are struggling to work out a finalized text, which the United Nations has so aptly named "The Future We Want," so that high- level negotiators will have something to work from next week. At this time, all talks are moving slowly, and the general atmosphere around Rio+20 is one of unrest.

With only a few more days before heads of s tate start touching down in Rio, the time to step up to the plate is now. The whole world is watching Rio+20 and calling for a road map to a sustainable future .

Stay tuned for more information from Earth Day Network over the next week as we work to share information on relevant issues at Rio+20 and on the events that Earth Day Network organizes and attends. Make sure to follow us on Twitter and Facebook to receive live updates from us as we bring you the scoop from Rio+20.