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(May 24, 2012 – London/New York/Wellington/Rio de Janeiro) A school pupil from
Wellington, New Zealand has been selected as winner of a global youth speech
contest, to ‘speak truth to power’ and to inspire urgent action from world leaders and
decision-makers gathering at the Rio+20 Earth Summit next month.

Seventeen-year-old Brittany Trilford, in her final year at school, has won the global
“Date With History” youth video speech contest. The contest was open to young
people from all walks of life around the world aged 13-30, to demand action on
sustainability by leaders and decision-makers. Entries from every corner of the planet
were voted on by the online public to elicit regional finalists through the contest
website. More than 83,000 views and votes ended with 22 finalists.

   


At the first World Summit 20 years ago, Severn Suzuki admonishes delegates for failing to address the world's environmental and social problems:

We're a group of 12 and 13-year-olds trying to make a difference ... We've raised all the money to come here ourselves, to come 5,000 miles to tell you adults you must change your ways. Coming up here today, I have no hidden agenda. I am fighting for my future. Losing my future is not like losing an election or a few points on the stockmarket. I am here to speak for all generations to come. I am here to speak on behalf of the starving children around the world whose cries go unheard. I am here to speak for the countless animals dying across this planet, because they have nowhere left to go. I am afraid to go out in the sun now, because of the holes in the ozone ...

    Did you have to worry of these things when you were my age? All this is happening before our eyes, yet we act as if we have all the time we want and all the solutions. I am only a child and don't have all the solutions. I want you to realise, neither do you... If you don't know how to fix it, please, stop breaking it.

Of the contest outcome, Christiana Figueres Executive Secretary of UNFCCC
commented, “Hundreds recorded moving speeches, tens of thousands voted. I am
deeply encouraged to see that leaders of my era will be replaced in future by these
true global citizens. Brittany now has the responsibility to represent all who stand
with her with a vision for a brighter future. She can inspire decision makers in Rio
who can make a difference now to ensure a better world becomes reality.”
Kelly Rigg, Executive Director of Global Campaign for Climate Action, organizers of
the contest says “With youth accounting for 3 billion of the world’s population, it is
critical that young people from all walks of life are engaged in influencing global
decision-making on sustainability now – they will live with the building blocks or the
broken promises, depending on the choices leaders make.”

Only one entry from the contest wins the opportunity to go to the UN Summit in Rio
de Janeiro. Brittany Trilford’s speech was selected from the finalist gallery by a
diverse jury which included more than a dozen respected youth leaders from around
the world, Natural Resources Defense Council President Frances Beinecke, UN
Foundation President Timothy E. Wirth, actor and environmentalist Leonardo
DiCaprio, actor and activist Hayden Panettiere, UNEP Goodwill Ambassador and
actor Don Cheadle, former Brazilian Environment Minister Marina Silva, Brazilian
actor and activist Sergio Marone, Carbon War Room President Jose Maria Figures,
Christiana Figueres, and Dr Kandeh K. Yumkella, Director-General UN Industrial
Development Organisation and Co-Chair Secretary-General’s High Level Group on
Sustainable Energy for All.

Dr Kandeh Yumkella said of his involvement in the contest jury, “Accounting for more
than half of the world’s population, young people must take a leading role in forging
tomorrow’s world, the one they will lead. ‘Date With History’ his given a unique
platform for effective collaborative action by youth, making the most of our
interconnected world. Brittany can speak for millions because of this initiative.”

The winner, Brittany, sees the enormity of the opportunity she has been afforded.
She comments “I entered ‘Date With History’ to show solidarity with youth around the
world, demanding that our leaders remember we are all their children and they owe
us a fighting chance at a future we want to inherit. They need to act now so that we
have a bright future, free from fear. I feel honoured to take up my obligation to stand
up and be counted as one of my generation and the wisdom of youth at Rio+20.”
Severn Suzuki, who made a moving speech at the 1992 Earth Summit at the age of
twelve and is still remembered as the ‘girl who silenced the world for five minutes’,
was also a juror in the contest. Her advice to Brittany is, “Don't be afraid to speak the
truth on the world stage. More than ever, we need the voice of youth to cut through
our justification of why we continue to value profit more than peoples' health, our
ecosystems' sustainability, and justice for the future. Remember you are there
representing those who go unheard. And speak what we all know, deep down, to be
true.”

More than 130 Heads of State, Vice Presidents, Heads of Government and deputy
Prime Ministers are currently inscribed on the speakers list for the Rio+20
Conference from 20-22 June, although the list of names has yet to be published by
the UN. In the midst of a convergence of crises set to cause increasing turmoil
around the world if governments are unable to address impacts and pressures on
economic, social and environmental development, it is hoped that public pressure will
stimulate attendance and bold decisions by all Heads of State. It is hoped that
Brittany Trilford will receive a high profile speaking opportunity, such as that awarded
to Severn Suzuki in Rio in 1992.

About the Date With History Contest

“Date With History” is organized by the Global Campaign for Climate Action
(www.tcktcktck.org), Climate Nexus and the Natural Resources Defense Council
(NRDC). Contest participants aged 13-30 could upload 2-3 minute speeches about
the future they want at http://datewithhistory.com or via the Mobli™ app
http://datewithhistory.com/... (using the category @datewithhistory). Once the
submission period closed on 6 May 2012, the most popular speeches from each
region, as determined by the number of votes online, were shortlisted as finalists. A
jury made up of prominent individuals from around the world reviewed the shortlist
and selected the winner. The winner will travel to Rio and deliver her vision in person
at high level gatherings of leaders and decision-makers, will have the opportunity to
witness events on the ground and will engage in activities with youth involved in the
official processes.

About the Contest Winner

Brittany Trilford is a seventeen-year-old School pupil currently in Year 13 at school in
Wellington, New Zealand. She is the daughter of Claire McGrory of Auckland and
Tony Trilford of Wairarapa, New Zealand. She is part of New Zealand’s capital Youth
Council and has participated in programmes including UN Youth Declaration hosted
by the UN Youth Association of New Zealand, New Zealand Model United Nations
and will be attending the Global Young Leaders Conference in Washington DC in
July 2012, for which she has raised funds in order to attend. Brittany also participates
in numerous school-based sporting and cultural activities and is a mentor to younger
debating society members and a coach to younger volleyball teams at school.
Brittany hopes to study a Bachelor of Science and Arts on completing her schooling.

About TckTckTck
TckTckTck is the public campaign of the Global Campaign for Climate Action
(GCCA) - a diverse alliance of more than 300 non-profit organizations from all over
the world. Our shared mission is to mobilize civil society and galvanize public support
to ensure a safe climate for people and nature, to promote the low-carbon transition
of our economies, and to accelerate the adaptation efforts in communities already
affected by climate change.

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