No javascript detected! Our online shopping basket requires javascript. You can also complete your order by phone at 855.9HUNGER
You are using an outdated browser. Please upgrade your browser to improve your experience and security. You can also complete your order by phone at 855.9HUNGER
Return to World Ark Blog Landing

The Future We Want” is not the future Heifer International believes we will see following last week’s Rio+20 UN Conference on Sustainable Development. Lots of issues were raised, lots of solutions proposed, but in the end, malaise and more of the same won out, leaving smallholder farmers—still—to fend for themselves.

Despite the bold title and the sheer size of the gathering—nearly 50,000 participants, including more than 100 heads of state or government—no enforceable commitments on climate change or any of the other global challenges—empowerment of women, access to water, sustainable development, health issues—came out of the summit.

There was unilateral recognition that progress needs to be made toward greener development, but no big-ticket items got more than lip service. Still, progress was made, but it was made via unofficial channels—the places where most progress gets made today.

For example, Microsoft said it would roll out an internal carbon fee on its work in more than 100 countries, part of a plan to go carbon-neutral by 2030. A Latin American soft-drink bottler pledged to obtain 85 percent of its energy needs in Mexico from renewable sources, and a group of development banks announced a $175 billion initiative to promote public transportation and bicycle lanes in the world's largest cities.

Important progress to be sure, but not where it can do the most good, the official channels of governments and leaders—powerhouses of influence who have the resources to create revolutionary change, not the evolutionary change we have, unfortunately, become accustomed to.

Heifer believes these one-off solutions don’t go far enough. The solutions—pledges really—proposed at the Rio+20 summit do little for the millions of smallholder farmers who daily struggle to eke out a living for themselves and their families.

Heifer is not alone is its disappointment in the outcome of the potential-ridden summit. Organizations such as Friends of the Earth, Oxfam, Amnesty International and World Vision all have issued statements on how short the summit fell from providing true solutions, or even commitments to decisively act in the future.

So much need yet so little resolve, and so much potential, energy and entrepreneurship just waiting for a hand up such as provided by Heifer. Men and women like Laban Kipkemboi Talam, a dairy farmer in Kenya, and Dolores Delgado, of Peru.

Absent the help of organizations such as Heifer International, Talam and Delgado would still be scraping by, hungry and poor, with little hope or opportunity for a better life. Today, though, Talam has seen his milk output grow through better management of his cows. He has received training and help that will allow him to continue to improve his farm and his life. Delgado, who was given guinea pigs and today practices agroecological production—environmentally beneficial farming—is looking to expand her business, and it is a business—small, but productive and growing.

What answers do the outcomes of the Rio+20 provide to them and others like them? What assurances or protections do struggling farmers in Haiti have as the climate warms and they move deeper into another hurricane season? What about the pastoralists who are suffering from disastrous drought in the Sahel and the Horn of Africa?

Empty promises do nothing to quell empty bellies.

These types of conferences promise social justice (which includes environmental justice) to small-scale farmers who lack more than resources—they lack a voice, too. Yet Rio+20, like so many other conferences of its kind, ended with no clear solutions. The official documents, the official records speak to solutions, but commit to nothing.

At Heifer, we are committed to working with smallholder farmers, giving them a voice, giving them dominion over their future, giving them tools they will use, with their own energy and ingenuity, to bring an end to hunger and poverty and to cool the planet.

Author

Pierre Ferrari

Pierre Ferrari is president and CEO of Heifer International. Pierre is very passionate about empowering the families and communities with whom Heifer works: “It took me decades, but I have come to know that the only way to happiness and joy is to be of service to others.” Pierre’s other joys are his wife, Kim, his two sons and two stepdaughters. In his free time he enjoys golf, squash, reading and travel.

Free Download

You only need to enter this information once to download digital resources.

Basket Summary

edit
Your gift will be matched!

{{ product.title }} {{ product.subTitle }}

Qty: {{ product.quantity }} @ {{ product.price | currency }} Qty: {{ product.quantity }} @ FREE Monthly
{{ (product.quantity * product.price) | currency }} Free

No products in cart.

Additional Impact {{ processingFee | currency }} Sub-total {{ cartSubTotal | currency }} Shipping Cost {{ orderShippingCost | currency }} NOT YET CALCULATED Tax Cost {{ orderTax | currency }} NOT YET CALCULATED Total {{ cartTotal | currency }} Monthly Total {{ cartSubscriptionTotal | currency }}

{{ cartCheckoutPath[1].title }}

edit

Billing Address

{{ billingAddress.first_name }} {{ billingAddress.last_name }} {{ billingAddress.address_1 }} {{ billingAddress.address_2 }} {{ billingAddress.city }}, {{ billingAddress.state }} {{ billingAddress.zip }} {{ billingAddress.country }}

Company

{{ billingAddress.company }}

Shipping Address

{{ shippingAddress.first_name }} {{ shippingAddress.last_name }} {{ shippingAddress.address_1 }} {{ shippingAddress.address_2 }} {{ shippingAddress.city }}, {{ shippingAddress.state }} {{ shippingAddress.zip }} {{ shippingAddress.country }}
edit

Shipping Method

{{ orderShippingOption.description }}

Basket Summary

Step 1 of 2 Step 1 of 3 Step 1 of 4
All major credit cards and Paypal accepted
All major credit cards accepted
Your gift will be matched!
Your basket has been updated.
The following item(s) are now sold-out or unavailable and have been removed from your cart:
-{{ product.title }} {{ product.subTitle}} ({{ product.quantity}})

{{ product.title }} {{ product.subTitle }} To: {{ product.giftCardRecipientName }} From: {{ product.giftCardSenderPrint }} Email: {{ product.giftCardRecipientEmail }} Delivery: {{ product.giftCardDeliveryDate }} Message: {{ product.giftCardMessage | truncate '200' }} Activation Code: {{ product.giftCardCode }} Delivery: {{ product.additional_info['deliveryDate'] }} Message: {{ product.additional_info['personalMessage'] | truncate '200' }} 1 {{prods["title"]}}

{{ (product.quantity * product.price) | currency }}/month
You've reached the maximum number of products for this item.
You've reached the maximum number of products for this item.
${{ product.price }}
$ {{ product.price }} Free
Remove
Great! We'll help you set up your free Honor Card after your donation is complete.

Gift Message

Personalize your message up to 5 lines in length.

Preview

heifer.org
Subtotal {{ cartSubTotal | currency }}
Monthly Subtotal {{ cartSubscriptionTotal | currency }}
It's not a hand out. It's a hand up.

For maximum impact, try adding a few items to your basket.

Browse The Gift Catalog
Secured Checkout

Increase Your Impact with a Donation Visit the Gift Catalog

Make an even bigger impact with a donation from our Gift Catalog

Responsibly-Sourced, Artisan-Friendly Gifts Shop the Marketplace

Shop the Marketplace for responsibly-sourced, artisan-friendly gifts
Secured Checkout
Continue Shopping
Edit Basket Summary

{{ cartCheckoutPath[1].title }}

Step 2 of 2 Step 2 of 3 Step 2 of 4
All major credit cards and Paypal accepted
All major credit cards accepted
Shipping Information

If you have received a gift catalog in the mail please enter the highlighted code that begins with a "D" or a "P" in the source code box below. If you have not received a Heifer Gift Catalog please leave the source code blank.

Shipping Address
Secured Checkout
Secured Checkout
Edit Basket Summary

{{ cartCheckoutPath[1].title }}

Step 2 of 3 Step 2 of 3 Step 2 of 4
All major credit cards and Paypal accepted
All major credit cards accepted
Billing Information
Enter your company name to see if your employer will match your gift.

If you have received a gift catalog in the mail please enter the highlighted code that begins with a "D" or a "P" in the source code box below. If you have not received a Heifer Gift Catalog please leave the source code blank.

Billing Address
Secured Checkout
Secured Checkout
Edit Basket Summary

{{ cartCheckoutPath[1].title }}

Step 2 of 3 Step 2 of 3 Step 2 of 4
All major credit cards and Paypal accepted
All major credit cards accepted
Billing Information
Enter your company name to see if your employer will match your gift.

If you have received a gift catalog in the mail please enter the highlighted code that begins with a "D" or a "P" in the source code box below. If you have not received a Heifer Gift Catalog please leave the source code blank.

Billing Address
Shipping Information

If you have received a gift catalog in the mail please enter the highlighted code that begins with a "D" or a "P" in the source code box below. If you have not received a Heifer Gift Catalog please leave the source code blank.

Shipping Address
Secured Checkout
Secured Checkout
Edit Basket Summary

{{ cartCheckoutPath[2].title }}

Step 3 of 3 Step 3 of 3 Step 3 of 4 Select shipping method. Orders after 12:00 PM CST will be shipped the next business day. Orders on Saturday or Sunday will be shipped the next business day.
{{shippingOption.description}} ${{shippingOption.shippingCost}}
Secured Checkout
Secured Checkout
Edit Basket Summary Edit {{ cartCheckoutPath[1].title }}

Payment Information

Step 3 of 3 Step 3 of 3 Step 4 of 4
All major credit cards and Paypal accepted
All major credit cards accepted

Payment Summary

Additional Impact {{ processingFee | currency }} Sub-total {{ cartSubTotal | currency }} Shipping Cost {{ orderShippingCost | currency }} NOT YET CALCULATED Tax Cost {{ orderTax | currency }} NOT YET CALCULATED Total {{ cartTotal | currency }} Monthly Total {{ cartSubscriptionTotal | currency }}

Pay By Credit Card
Pay with
Pay with
We were not able to process your request. Please try again or contact Donor Services at 855.9HUNGER (855.948.6437).
Secured Checkout