Or are you here to save us?
This is how the 17-year-old from New Zealand, Brittany Trilford, ended a speech she called A Date with History, which opened the UN Rio+20 conference today.
It was a great speech of historic quality in every way.
Why then did the speech only get a couple of seconds of half-hearted applause? Were the government representatives ashamed? Or was it because they didn't care about what she said or about her?
Having been involved in the Rio+20 NGOs' consultations for over six months, at last I heard the truth that all parties had carefully avoided. Suddenly Britanny cut through the diplomatic negotiation bullshit and told the honest, plain, obvious truth.
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, the next generation, demand change. We demand action so that we have a future and have it guaranteed.
I am here to fight for my future.
That is why I’m here.
You have 72 hours to decide the fate of your children, my children, my children’s children.
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?
There is no question from the shameful pre-Rio+20 negotiations that the world powers decided to negotiate away a future for Brittany and her generation. They don't care.
They don't give a damn about Brittany or even their own children and grandchildren whom she alluded to.
We can damn well tell Brittany we care. This great speech deserves to go viral. Let's do that at least. Here's a link to her speech: http://webtv.un.org/meetings-events/watch/brittany-trilford-opening-of-the-conference-1st-plenary-meeting-rio20/1698924315001
Shame on us all if we don't respond and send Brittany some love.