A Short History of A SEED

{Before reading this, you could read What is A SEED?]

Prior to UNCED, some grassroots groups began organising together to present an alternative to the views of Northern Governments. At a pre-UNCED meeting of Environment Ministers in Bergen, Norway in 1990, a counter conference was organised called the 'SEED Popular Forum', with a double agenda: doing actions and raising public awareness about left-out subjects like the effect of Northern overconsumption on the South; and at the same time discussing an alternative agenda with groups from over 40 countries. One action involved several thousand people surrounding a bus taking the ministers to a fancy dinner, all holding signs saying 'BLA'!

By Autumn 1990, at an alternative conference called 'Catalyst' in the US, the idea for A SEED, a network to encourage common activities on a global scale, had begun to take root. UNCED seemed the perfect target but the idea of flying thousands of activists to Rio didn't make sense: the idea was to stay at home, where the problems are created, but to interconnect activities to gather strength, inspire one another, and give a voice to those who would not be heard in the UNCED process.

Many events followed: an office was opened in Germany and very soon more around the world, encouraging personal contact between Northern and Southern activists; decentralised meetings were held in 1992 in which 20 regional groups discussed with each other via mail and fax; and UNSAID festivals happened in every continent, including direct actions in Rio. Most importantly though, A SEED activists got much further in developing their personal understanding of what needs to be done.

Since UNCED, A SEED has worked mainly on the regional level, strengthening the network in each region. To find workable solutions and ways to put them into reality without getting stuck inside global conferences and institutions, and to find common aims between North, South, East and West is still A SEED's challenge.


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