At the very moment when this Earth - our only home - appears to be dying, thousands of men, women, and children around the world have rallied to save and preserve this very precious planet which has sustained and nourished the human and innumerable other species for millennia. With the awakening horror of the reality of planetary degradation has come an ethic of human responsibility and human obligation to work quickly to reverse the damage already done and prevent further deterioration of the environment. The cause of global conservation has, in the last few years, become mainstream thinking in many parts of the world. Today, there are few proponents of untrammelled development. Politicians, lawyers, and businessmen espouse the environmental ethic and proclaim a dedication to 'green values' with the fervor of the recently-converted. Environmentalism has acquired the status of a global religion. Those who do promote development at the expense of the environment frequently do so with assurances of their commitment to the enhancement of the quality of life or, in developing nations, with poverty and lack of alternatives as justification. The problem is that, as with all religions, the precepts are more honored than observed. The level of action rarely matches the level of rhetoric. The ultimate challenge will be to make the leap from verbal commitment to environmental goals to implementation of these ideas.
Dr. Ranee K. Panjabi, International Law and the Preservation of Species: An Analysis of the Convention on Biological Diversity Signed at the Rio Earth Summit in 1992, 11 Penn St. Int'l L. Rev. 187 (1993).