Just two days into the World Summit on Sustainable Development, being held this week and next in Johannesburg, South Africa, there is already a marked division between representatives of developed and developing nations. Rich and poor nations are having difficulty seeing eye-to-eye on nearly all the critical topics being discussed at the conference — aid packages, free trade, funding for environmental protection, and improving standards of living without further damaging the global ecosystem. The conference is supposed to conclude with an action plan and a political declaration committing signatories to implement that plan, but many see the chasm between rich and poor as sufficiently deep to threaten the possibility of real action emerging from the summit. And action is the ultimate goal of the summit: Nitin Desai, the secretary-general of the WSSD, said, “At Rio, our focus was as much to try and change people’s attitude toward development. In Johannesburg, what we’re trying to do is change the way people act.”