Doesn’t sound like much progress on making Earth sustainable was made at Rio+20 - United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, which just came to a close.
Lots of vague promises, no mandates, and voluntary compliances.
This failure, of course, will be viewed by those against repairing Nature and compensating those who are ravaged by the ruthless free market fundamentalism, as a victory.
It will forty them to increase assaults on environmental regulations and constraints on releasing man-made chemical into our environment like the European program REACH - Environment - European Commission “REACH is the European Community Regulation on chemicals and their safe use (EC 1907/2006). It deals with the Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemical substances. The law entered into force on 1 June 2007.”
While conceding that the vague solutions offered by the RIO +20 talks may not have solved all our problems, we can be sure that business as usual (remaining on this dysfunctional trajectory we are on now) will be a failure that will make previous collapses of civilizations look like a tea party.
In the twilight of our knowledge of and inability to address world-wide environmental problems including Climate Change, it indeed looks hopeless. It looks like we will continue until enough of us understand how unsustainable our way of living is, but by then it will be far too late. Already, even if we stop all anthropogenic warming right now a lot of glaciers will melt and the atmosphere will warm up and the oceans will get very acidic. This is because we failed to act a long time ago.