If you had just a few minutes to address world leaders — to give the ultimate “My Fellow Earthlings” speech — what would you say? That was essentially the question behind A Date With History, a challenge sponsored by the climate campaign Tcktcktck, the Natural Resources Defense Council, and Climate Nexus. They invited anyone between the ages of 13 and 30 to write a speech addressing the attendees of the Earth Summit in Rio next month.
Tell the bigwigs about what kind of future you want, they said. The best speechifier will win a trip to Rio — and possibly a chance to address the gathering in person.
The videos streamed in from the far corners of the planet. The web-surfing public narrowed the field to 22. And a star-studded jury including Leonardo DiCaprio and Daryl Hannah picked the winner.
Her name is Brittany Trilford. She’s 17, from Wellington, New Zealand, and yeah, she’s got some things to say to the folks who are in charge — about broken promises, about the consequences of corporate and government actions, and about what we could learn from nature about how to run the planet.
No word yet on whether she’ll get any air time at the summit, but the speech is worth watching. The killer line: “What kind of a future do I want? Frankly, I’d just be happy to have a future — to have that guaranteed — because right now, it’s not.”
Here’s the whole thing:
A Date With History was inspired by a speech given at the original Rio Earth Summit 20 years ago by Severn Suzuki, who was 12 at the time. Suzuki is the daughter of Canadian scientist and climate activist David Suzuki, and has gone on to become an activist and TV personality. (Her father’s foundation helped fund the Date With History contest.) Her 1992 speech is below. We dare you to watch this without feeling just a teeny bit guilty about driving to work/school today or tearing up at the end.