Some remarkable things have happened here over the past few days and especially yesterday. After not really getting through the noise during the first week, great visuals, youth actions, twitter storms, PR fire and major demonstrations by civil society finally got some traction here. Of course, a strong outcome would be better than the failure we are looking at, but at least governments will not be able to sell this weak outcome as a success.
Important voices raising such concerns yesterday were the civil society speakers addressing the opening plenary. Brittany Trilford, the 17-year-old student from New Zealand who had won our TckTckTck youth speech contest Date with History, and Wael Hmaidan, the CAN Director who spoke on behalf of the NGOs, created very powerful moments. Wael managed to destroy the picture governments are trying to paint here, and Brittany ended by asking world leaders if they are “here to save face, or here to save us.”
Brittany’s moving, impassioned speech she shared yesterday is connecting well with people. Here’s just a sample of the virality we’ve seen in the past 24 hours: 26,000 google hits for ‘Brittany Trilford’, 20,000+ views for the youtube video of her speech (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=karQQb-B8Uk&feature=g-all-u), and interviews on national news programs from the UK, US and her native New Zealand. Her story has become one of the main media stories from this failing summit.
Even the politicians have taken notice, we saw delegates watching the video of her speech, and many people walked up to her to thank her for her speech, including the President of Ecuador who said ‘I am not here to save face, I am here to save all of us.” Even though we may not be optimistic about strengthening the Rio outcome significantly, we should make sure that our so called leaders don’t get away with their collective failure so easily. Feeding the Brittany buzz could help with that.
Brittany started a countdown in her speech, saying world leaders “have 72 hours to decide the fate of your children, my children, my children’s children.” You could help to amplify the message, as there are less than 48 hours remaining at Rio+20. For starters, please share our call to action photo on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10151049535470359&set=a.179660500358.160203.98740025358&type=1
If you want to do more, please encourage your supporters to post Brittany’s video on the FB wall and twitter feed of their Head of State or their representative at Rio+20 (the video can be found here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=karQQb-B8Uk&feature=g-all-u). Or tweet this message: Time is running out at #rioplus20. World leaders: are you here to save face, or are you here to save us? http://bit.ly/Kn52MM
Thanks for feeding the buzz and helping make it harder for leaders to sell failure as success