Twenty years ago, a 12-year-old rocked the Earth Summit in Rio with a plea to world leaders to get serious about saving the planet. Her name was Severn Suzuki, and today, she hands the torch to another young’un, Brittany Trilford, 17, who will address the leaders of 140 nations as the Rio+20 Earth Summit finally gets off to its official start.

Trilford hails from Wellington, the capital of New Zealand. Last winter, she entered the Date With History contest that invited young people to record themselves giving a speech to the leaders of the world about the future they wanted. She won the grand prize, a trip to Rio for the Earth Summit. She didn’t learn until later that she would actually have a chance to speak to at the summit in person.

Trilford’s date with history is at 9 a.m. Eastern time (that’s 6 a.m. on the West Coast). It should be webcast live here. Watch Grist for highlights later in the day, and a link to the video when it’s up. (See update at bottom of post.) Meantime, I caught up with Trilford yesterday with some questions about her speech, her prognosis for the planet, and how she got to be so freaking opinionated.