World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search

 

Brittany Trilford addresses world leaders at Rio+20 opening

Brittany Trilford has her Date with History, addresses world leaders at opening of Rio+20 Earth Summit

Seventeen-year-old Brittany Trilford, a student from Wellington, New Zealand, addressed Heads of State gathered in Rio de Janeiro at the opening of the Summit UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon has called “one of the most important conferences in the history of the United Nations and a once-in-a-generation opportunity to gear the world on sustainable development path.”

The Summit was opened by the Secretary-General at 10h00 local Rio time, in the wake of six months of negotiations that have resulted in weak and disappointing text for Leaders to consider at the conference. First on the agenda was a film entitled “The State of the Planet”, following which Brittany was called to the podium to deliver her address as an ordinary citizen, a voice of youth, demanding action on sustainability.

During the opening of her three minute address Brittany told leaders, “I stand here with fire in my heart. I’m confused and angry at the state of the world. We are here to solve the problems that we have caused as a collective, to ensure that we have a future.”

In the hope that the high level Summit will make more ambitious commitments than the negotiated text calls for, Brittany said, “We, the next generation, demand change. We demand action so that we have a future and have it guaranteed. We trust that you will, in the next 72 hours, put our interests ahead of all other interests and boldly do the right thing.”

She challenged leaders to strive for solutions that will inspire hope around the world. “I am here to fight for my future. That is why I’m here. I would like to end by asking you to consider why you are here and what you can do here. I would like you to ask yourselves: Are you here to save face? Or are you here to save us?”

A once-in-a-lifetime opportunity

In addition to addressing world leaders, Brittany has already silenced large gatherings of decision makers, including over 300 legislators here in Rio from around the world at the first Global Legislators Forum on June 16 and over 1,000 business leaders at the closing plenary of the Corporate Sustainability Forum on June 17. She will participate in a panel discussion on June 21 at the Global Town Hall and will ring the Peace Bell that same day at the Federation of World Peace and Love with Severn Suzuki, known as “the girl who silenced the world” since addressing leaders in a similar way at the 1992 Earth Summit.

Kelly Rigg, Executive Director of Global Campaign for Climate Action, organizers of the contest says “With youth accounting for 3 billion of the world’s population, it is critical that young people from all walks of life are engaged in influencing global decision-making on sustainability now – they will live with the building blocks or the broken promises, depending on the choices leaders make.”

--

Transcript of Brittany Trilford’s speech at the opening of the UN Rio+20 Earth Summit

Tena Koutou from New Zealand. My name is Brittany Trilford. I am seventeen years old, a child. Today, in this moment, I am all children, your children, the world’s three billion children. Think of me for these short minutes as half the world.

I stand here with fire in my heart. I’m confused and angry at the state of the world and I want us to work together now to change this. We are here to solve the problems that we have caused as a collective, to ensure that we have a future.

You and your governments have promised to reduce poverty and sustain our environment. You have already promised to combat climate change, ensure clean water and food security. Multi-national corporations have already pledged to respect the environment, green their production, compensate for their pollution. These promises have been made and yet, still, our future is in danger.

We are all aware that time is ticking and is quickly running out. You have 72 hours to decide the fate of your children, my children, my children’s children. And I start the clock now… tck tck tck.

Let us think back to twenty years ago – well before I was even an inkling in my parents’ eyes – back to here, to Rio, where people met at the first Earth Summit in 1992. People at this Summit knew there needed to be change. All of our systems were failing and collapsing around us. These people came together to acknowledge these challenges to work for something better, commit to something better.

They made great promises, promises that, when I read them, still leave me feeling hopeful. These promises are left – not broken, but empty. How can that be? When all around us is the knowledge that offers us solutions. Nature as a design tool offers insight into systems that are whole, complete, that give life, create value, allow progress, transformation, change.

We, the next generation, demand change. We demand action so that we have a future and have it guaranteed. We trust that you will, in the next 72 hours, put our interests ahead of all other interests and boldly do the right thing. Please, lead. I want leaders who lead.

I am here to fight for my future. That is why I’m here. I would like to end by asking you to consider why you’re here and what you can do. Are you here to save face? Or are you here to save us?

ENDS

Earlier: Brittany Trilford addresses the UN Global Compact Corporate Sustainabiity Forum


© Scoop Media

 
 
 
World Headlines

 

UN: Decades Of Health Gains At Risk In Brazil Due To COVID-19

Although COVID-19 cases are declining in Brazil, the pandemic is putting decades of public health gains there at risk, the head of the World Health Organization ( WHO ) said on Friday. With global attention and support focused this week ... More>>

UN Report: Myanmar Approaching Point Of Economic Collapse

The turmoil following the military coup in Myanmar, coupled with the impact of COVID-19 could result in up to 25 million people – nearly half of the country’s population, living in poverty by early next year, a United Nations report said on Friday. That ... More>>

World Vision: India’s Second Wave Shows The Global Fight Against COVID-19 Is Far From Won

As India’s COVID-19 daily infection rates reach devastating levels, international aid agency World Vision has warned that the world is nowhere near defeating this virus and some nations are yet to face their worst days. Andrew Morley, World Vision ... More>>

Focus On: UN SDGs

Study: Cut Methane Emissions To Avert Global Temperature Rise

6 May 2021 Methane emissions caused by human activity can be reduced by up to 45 per cent this decade, thus helping to keep global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius in line with the Paris Agreement on climate change, according to a UN-backed ... More>>

UN: Learning From COVID-19, Forum To Highlight Critical Role Of Science, Technology And Innovation In Global Challenges

New York, 4 May —To build on the bold innovations in science, technology and innovations that produced life-saving solutions during the COVID-19 pandemic, the UN will bring together experts to highlight measures that can broaden the development and deployment ... More>>

What COVID-19 Has Taught Us: “Healthcare Can No Longer Exist Without Technology”

A grandmother in a village in the Gambia should have the same quality of life and access to healthcare they deserve as in New York or London. Photo: InnovaRx Global Health Start-up Works To Bridge Healthcare Gap In The Gambia By: Pavithra Rao As ... More>>