Photo by cotidad.

Next month, the United Nations will hold a mega-conference in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil — the Earth Summit, aka Rio+20. In addition to being an international Who’s Who of over 130 heads of state and leaders in sustainable development, it will also be a chance for young people to assert the urgency of the challenges we face and seize the opportunities presented to our generation to address them.

Yeah, I know you’re probably still sour about the last global enviro conference that made headlines — the 2009 Copenhagen climate negotiations. I understand that bitterness. I was there, a senior in college then, all wide-eyed and hopped up on hope. But in preparing to attend the Earth Summit with other youth leaders, I come with renewed enthusiasm that this conference will be different.