"Are you here to save face? Or are you here to save us?"
One of the very popular speeches at Rio+20 was given yesterday morning at the opening of the Conference. A 17 years old Kiwi, Brittany Trilford gave a speech no longer than 5 minutes in which she addressed head of states and other representatives to do something. Even though she spoke in front of the large audience, her speech was delivered in a very calm and serious manner. The reason this girl was selected to give a speech is jury was impressed about the video she submitted. One of the jury members was well known actor Leonardo di Caprio.
Today Brittany has been referred to as Severn Suzuki, "the girl who silenced the world for six minutes" in her speech at the original 1992 Earth Summit in Rio.
The full text of Brittany's speech is below:
My name is Brittany Trilford. I am seventeen years old, I'm a child. Today, in this moment, I am all children, your children, the world’s three billion children. Think of me 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 today 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, to 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… tick tick tick.
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, to 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 and change.
We, the next generation, demand change. We demand action so that we can have a future and have it guaranteed. We trust that you, in the next 72 hours, to put our interests before of all other interests and boldly do the right thing.
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?”