From Webcam to World Leaders: A New Voice at Rio for the Facebook Generation
We can’t make the future with what we did in the past. I mean that is ridiculous, isn’t it? The past actions are what caused the problems in the first place. We need innovation and imagination.
So says 17-year old Brittany Trilford from New Zealand, winner of the Date With History video contest. She will join as many as 50,000 people, including over 110 heads of state, in Rio de Janeiro in less than a month to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the first historic Earth Summit. Her job? To remind our leaders why we hold these international gatherings: to get things done.
The summit comes at a time when our planet is facing unprecedented peril. We have exceeded three of our nine planetary boundaries; we are over-exploiting three-quarters of our fish stocks, like many other natural resources; and poverty continues to exact a grievous toll on the health and safety of billions of people. Clearly, the status quo is not working.
And the next generation – the Millenials, twenty-somethings... – is tired of sitting on the sidelines. The Date With History contest invited some of the most promising young people around the planet to speak their mind about why the status quo is unacceptable to them. As a humble member of a very impressive jury, I was fortunate to watch all 22 finalists.
From Ghana to India, Ecuador to the U.S., the passion and eloquence of these young orators resonated with me as I found myself wishing that all of them could come to Rio to deliver their messages. Here’s a snapshot (and you can watch them all):
Now it’s your turn to help. These young visionaries’ stories need to be told…as do the stories of all the representatives of the rising generation who will be in Rio. So the first thing you can do right now is share these videos:
Next, you can join our campaign to track preparations for Rio in every country by becoming a SummitWatcher today. We’ve taken inspiration from passionate Dutch youth who are pushing their prime minister to make a difference in their lives by showing up in person for the summit. Use our resource to track what your country is doing and tell your leaders to do more.
President Obama has said, "Above all, it will be the young people - brimming with talent and energy and hope - who can claim the future that so many in my father's generation never found." Let's join Brittany in demanding he and others fulfill this wish in a "future where leaders lead".
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