Brittany asks the big questions

Brittany Trilford got her chance to speak truth to power this morning at the Rio + 20 conference, and did an amazing job. It’s worth watching her whole speech, if only to be impressed by the composure a seventeen year old Wellington schoolgirl displays in addressing a roomful of world leaders, but her take-home message was right on the button:

I am here to fight for my future. That is why I’m here. I would like to end by asking you to consider why you’re here and what you can do. Are you here to save face? Or are you here to save us?

Given progress at Rio to date, I think the former rather than the latter, but I’ll comment on that in due course. Transcript of Brittany’s speech below the fold.

Brittany’s speech:

Tena Koutou from New Zealand. My name is Brittany Trilford. I am seventeen years old, a child. Today, in this moment, I am all children, your children, the world’s three billion children. Think of me for these short minutes as half the world.

I stand here with fire in my heart. I’m confused and angry at the state of the world and I want us to work together now to change this. We are here to solve the problems that we have caused as a collective, to ensure that we have a future.

You and your governments have promised to reduce poverty and sustain our environment. You have already promised to combat climate change, ensure clean water and food security. Multi-national corporations have already pledged to respect the environment, green their production, compensate for their pollution. These promises have been made and yet, still, our future is in danger.

We are all aware that time is ticking and is quickly running out. You have 72 hours to decide the fate of your children, my children, my children’s children. And I start the clock now… tck tck tck.

Let us think back to twenty years ago – well before I was even an inkling in my parents’ eyes – back to here, to Rio, where people met at the first Earth Summit in 1992. People at this Summit knew there needed to be change. All of our systems were failing and collapsing around us. These people came together to acknowledge these challenges to work for something better, commit to something better.

They made great promises, promises that, when I read them, still leave me feeling hopeful. These promises are left – not broken, but empty. How can that be? When all around us is the knowledge that offers us solutions. Nature as a design tool offers insight into systems that are whole, complete, that give life, create value, allow progress, transformation, change.

We, the next generation, demand change. We demand action so that we have a future and have it guaranteed. We trust that you will, in the next 72 hours, put our interests ahead of all other interests and boldly do the right thing. Please, lead. I want leaders who lead.

I am here to fight for my future. That is why I’m here. I would like to end by asking you to consider why you’re here and what you can do. Are you here to save face? Or are you here to save us?

[Courtesy of TckTckTck]

56 thoughts on “Brittany asks the big questions”

  1. Great speech. Pity that all that we can expect from the Rio meeting is an appetizer of compromises followed by a main course of empty promises, and a desert of sweet Fanny Adams. Feeling somewhat jaundiced today ;-(

        1. Well, a large part was economic downturn, but government signals to regulate mercury emissions etc probably took some steam out of the coal market. And fuel economy standards as well as things like EV rebates are slowly chipping away at transport emissions.

  2. Does anyone other than Brittany remember the very articulate speech given 20 years ago by Severn Suzuki?

    Same place, same time, same meme.

    The powers that be obviously don’t – so yeah, I agree … the former rather than the latter, ergo: they are there to save face, and to make excuses.

      1. As opposed to calling people ‘jerks’, ‘climate skinhead’, ‘Brown Shirts’, the ‘Khmer Vert’, or routinely suggesting they relish the sufferings of others, or want them all to die, eh?

        I suggest that people watch that clip you link to and figure out for themselves who the real parasite in this discussion is.

  3. The key difference between Suzuki and me is that he is a public figure,and I am just a jerk trying to earn a living.

    What I say or think is of little consequence.

    However, Suzuki fronts an organization, that like most environmental organizations, is essentially anti human. He and they have an idealogy that regards humans as a poison on the planet.

  4. andyS admits at last that he is a paid shill for CO2 polluters:

    I am just a jerk trying to earn a living.

    Yes, a dishonest living by spreading misinformation about the effects of AGW and ways of mitigating it. Fools like andyS, who cannot make an honest living, resort to all sorts of dishonest tactics to make a buck at everyone else’s expense.

    1. No I didnt
      I am a self employed software developer. Indo not get paid to spread disinformation. I have actually tried to suggest better ways to mitigate co2 emissions that you steadfastly ignore

  5. A proposal to end fossil fuel subsidies is hanging in the balance here at the Rio Earth Summit — and your voice could make a big impact in the next 48 hours. has built massive public support for ending fossil fuel subsidies. It’s a no-brainer policy that could shift $1 trillion in fossil fuel subsidies towards climate solutions. But world leaders have failed to deliver — the Rio declaration now only contains vague and empty language on subsidies, not the clear commitment we need.

    As the host of the summit, Brazil’s President Dilma Rouseff has the power to reopen discussions and demand concrete steps to end fossil fuel subsidies. Dilma is currently on the fence, but that with enough public pressure she could emerge as a climate champion.

    Please add your voice to the petition urging Dilma to save the Rio Earth Summit — our team at will do a dramatic petition delivery here in Rio:

    Make no mistake: momentum to end fossil fuel subsidies is building. People everywhere are rallying around the simple idea that it’s time for our public money to help the people, not the polluters — the $1 trillion that governments spend on polluter handouts can be better spent on clean energy and sustainable development.

    A commitment here in Rio would be an important step forward for this movement — and right now, it’s up to Dilma to get it done. Let’s help show her she has the support of people everywhere:

  6. Just to be clear andyS, my original post was very specific to the very articulate speech given by Severn Suzuki back in Rio in 1992.
    (thanks Bill for the transcript of her interview this time around).

    Yet andyS, you came back with this

    Typical bait-n-switch – a tactic most often used by someone who wants to spread misinformation, or or wants to deliberately distort the information previously given.

    Which is it for you andyS?

    1. I did look at that video of Severn you posted. My response? Articulate but stomach churning.

      It was a 13 year old girl stating that she was afraid of the world, several times. Who did this to her? Her father David I would imagine.

      What.kind of father would bring their children up in a state of fear?

      Awareness of the environment is one thing, propagandizing your own children for political ends a whole different matter.

  7. Being ten years old at the time of the Cuban missile crisis, I – and my elders – were afraid of nuclear war, which was narrowly avoided at that time.

    Kids today aren’t fools, Andy. They know the legacy they will inherit from us if we continue, as a civilisation, to defecate in our own nest.

    At least my grandchildren will know that I tried my best to protect them. What will you tell yours, Andy?

  8. Yep, like I said … a certainty.

    As a child, Severn representing the children of ECO, did what Brittany (not more than a child) is doing now.

    Did we act? No, not much.
    Will we act? No, not much.

    Yeah, me too.

    1. So you agree with each other that propaganising children with a message of despair to support a political agenda is OK?

      What, say I re-incarnated myself as a Pentti Linkola acolyte?
      His message, amongst others, is that we should extinguish a large part of the human race in order to save the planet.

      Do you think this is an appropriate message to teach children? Where do you draw the line?
      Why not give children some hope and optimism whilst they can still enjoy their childhood?

      1. Straw Men for sale! Straw Men for sale! Made with only the best quality straw – only one previous use – stuffing my head…

        C’mon andy, you can sell this stuff, like a good Entrepreneurial Hero!

        1. So, Biil, if I propaganised your offspring with a message of despair, and they hanged themselves, how would you feel?

          I don’t think this is a hypothetical question, by the way.

        2. Yep, andy, you just double-down on the over-wrought crazy! Precisely the kind of behaviour you’d expect from an extremely intolerant and insecure person who projects his hostility and recurrent violent fantasies onto others.

          And you ‘don’t think this is a hypothetical question’? You really are ridiculous…

            1. And ‘apparently’ Anders Bering Breivik was an anti-Marxist and anti-AGW conspiracy theorist (sound familiar?) who had to shoot all those young SocialDemocrats in order to stop them from spreading their poison in the general community.

              So, by inverting your ‘logic’, I can safely conclude that your ideas lead to him.

              And let’s not forget, of course, that young Suzuki’s position has an evidential base, whereas your/Breivik’s beliefs are literally hysterical.

              Frankly I’m more concerned about a world where young people seem largely uninterested in the vitality and actual viability of the planet around them. I wonder how many have ‘apparently’ committed suicide due to having insufficient ‘friends’ on facebook. Would there be any more to it than that, do you think?

  9. The problem with you, andyS, is that you put your own words in to other people’s mouths.

    Spin it all you like but at the end of the day, others see you for what you really are.

    For what it’s worth, the environment doesn’t care about the political games of mankind, as you have shown to do.

        1. Can you change the tune Ian? The Hari Krishna are interesting by comparison

          “liar, despicable person, blah blah”

          What exactly has rattled your cage?

          1. DNFTT cuts both ways, Andy, Ian and everyone. Please redirect your discussion to climate science, policy and politics, and away form personal invective.

            AndyS seems to want to spend a lot of time here at the moment. The best way to make that counterproductive is to ignore him.

            1. Gareth, I am trying to make some reasonable points, in my view. am not just “trolling” as you claim.
              It seems that no one is interested.

              Oh well, if that is the case then so be it.

    1. No, it isn’t what I said.
      In terms of ignoring me, that is not a problem for me.
      What you will find, however, is that more and more people will be ignoring the dogma of the environmental movement, who completely fail to see anyone’s point of view other than their own.

      This is possibly why Rio+20 has been such an abject failure.

      1. AndyS at Treadgold’s place:

        In terms of “denier”, I am having a little fun on HT giving evidence of the noise issues with Wind Turbines.

        “A little fun”, eh? That, and your continued insistence on making unreferenced and often unsavoury assertions means that you are on moderation for the time being. I will only pass your comments for publication if I consider they add to the conversation.

        1. Andy, in response, at Treadgold’s:

          If you are reading this as a Hot Topic reader, I feel pure undiluted hatred towards you. You are arrogant, contemptible and dogmatic religious zealots.

          I had thought, being a generous soul, that it might be possible to have a reasoned and reasonable discussion with “AndyS”. Clearly, that is not now possible, and may never have been possible. Anyone who can profess “undiluted hatred” towards the readership of a blog has issues that go well beyond science and politics.

          Moderation is now permanent.

  10. Bill above:
    Anders Breivik thinks he is sane, regardless of his undiluted hatred towards those he found abhorrent.

    I agree with andyS in one respect, it does seem Rio +20 is an abject failure – but not for the reasons he surmises.

    On the contrary, it is not the environmentalists who have led to this seeming failure but rather, the political games (from both sides of the ideological divide) – a stupid game that andyS plays himself.

  11. The really sad thing is that we have the ability to avert the worst if we were pull together and work towards a sustainable future. Yet collectively our ability to pull this off seems in doubt. People are motivated by their greed foremost and solidarity towards a better future requires us to rise above this. The exuberant times of the exponential explosion of our civilization over the last century has enshrined an unhealthy entitlement thinking in so many and mud slinging of the entitlement brigade towards preventing us to move forward will surly continue.

    Perhaps, sadly, in all this lies one of the many possible answers to the riddle of the Fermi Paradox and the Drake equation…..

  12. Gareth, I’m new here … and followed your link to andyS’ diatribe at Treadgold’s.

    I find this comment of andyS particularly disturbing:

    “In the thread at HT, I posed a question about Pentti Linkola, who I have mentioned here previously.

    He is a Finnish activist who has rather extreme views that we should celebrate the holocaust, and the world’s population needs to be seriously culled.

    In a strange way, I have more respect for this guy than the typical arm waver who prattles on about their latest Prius acquisition. It was one of the viewpoints that led me to where I am now.

    I thought to myself, if it really as bad as they say, then surely we need to stop development, particularly in the developing world, and the only way to do this quickly would be to rapidly reduce the world’s population by whatever means … “

    What I find more disturbing is that the site owner, moderator, whatever/whoever he is, is ok with that kind of thought process. Scary!

    I may be a bit slow (being from Oz) but if andyS is typical of NZ’s “sceptic” (for want of a better term), then may all the powers that be help us, ergo the planet.

      1. Moreover, and this is the irony of it all, andyS says he actually cares about the environment (yeah, right).

        Therefore, andyS purporting to support population control, by “rapidly reducing the world’s population by whatever means” , he is sounding like an eco-fascist, the very thing he accuses environmentalists of. Now that is sick.

    1. I may be a bit slow (being from Oz) but if andyS is typical of NZ’s “sceptic” (for want of a better term), then may all the powers that be help us, ergo the planet.

      Andy [dis]Scrase is an English ex-pat, Cambridge educated apparently.

      1. So what, I’m an ex-pat and post-grad as well. Nope, andyS is a ‘fruit-loop’ (imho) but still sane enough to be held to account – as should Anders Breivik.

        1. “So what,”
          So nothing, davsab, :-), you made a tenuous connection “is typical of NZ’s “sceptic” “ so I attempted to fill you in, that’s all. i.e. “NZ” has nothing to do with it. Cheers.

          1. Perhaps then andyS is typical of so called “sceptics” ( I use the term loosely, of course – not in the scientific sense) the world over.

            Interestingly, so called “deniers” don’t like the term “denier” because of the supposed connotation with denying the holocaust (it’s hasn’t got anything to do with that either, but that’s another story as we know) yet andyS not only does not deny the holocaust, he actually agrees with population control by whatever means possible. Simply astounding.

  13. Carlo Rubbia, Physics Nobel Laureate, tells it as it is at Rio:

    “My message is that the situation (of climate change) is much worse than one sees and believes…..The man in the street does not realize the effects of climate change,” because in the last 10 years, the temperature did not increase substantially. So “people feel the pressure of global warming is not a reality”…

    … and goes on to state that if it were not for the general increase in aerosols and dust (which increased in tandem with CO2 output increase but mask a considerable part of the otherwise seen temperature increase) our temperature would now already be about 3 Deg C higher!

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