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"We, the next generation, demand change" -- teen's voice at Rio+20

06-21-2012 06:11 BJT Special Report:Wen Attends Rio+20 Summit, Visits Latin America Nations |

RIO DE JANEIRO, June 20 (Xinhua) -- "Are you here to save face? Or are you here to save us?" 17-year-old Brittany Trilford concluded her speech on Wednesday with a simple question, silencing more than 100 world leaders in Rio de Janeiro at the opening of the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20).

Following a short film entitled "The State of the Planet", Brittany from New Zealand was called to the podium to deliver her speech as an ordinary citizen, a voice of youth, to the Rio+20, a meeting which 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 a sustainable development path."

"I am 17 years old, a child. Today, in this moment, I am all children, your children, the world's 3 billion children. Think of me as half the world," Brittany began to address world leaders in a heart-wrenching voice.

"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," she said.

Brittany, in her final year at school, earned the speaking opportunity by winning the global "Date with History" youth video speech contest organized by the Global Campaign for Climate Action.

The contest was open to young people aged 13 to 30 from around the world, to demand action on sustainability by leaders and decision-makers.

Kelly Rigg, executive director of the Global Campaign for Climate Action, the organizer 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."

Brittany also challenged leaders to work on 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."

In the hope that the high profile 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 said,tears in her eyes.


Editor:Bai Yang |Source: Xinhua

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