Rio+20: Youth Delegation Statement

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Green Cross International (GCI) and Global Green brought youth delegates from around the world to the Rio+20 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development for its "Youth In Action" program. We selected seven students from America, who joined other GCI student representatives from Ghana, Brazil, Bolivia, and other nations.

All wanted strong results from Rio+20 Environmental Summit, leaving many of them disappointed but driven to continue to strive for change. Below is the statement they released.

No great change comes from government alone. We are the youth and we are the future. We are the Green Cross International Youth for a Green Future delegation to the Rio +20 United Nations Summit. We come from communities around the world: Brazil, the USA, and Ghana. While we are from different cultures and have different languages, we have the common goal to work for a sustainable green future. The problems that we face in our communities should be on the forefront of every human being on this earth: disposal of lethal chemical weapons, climate change, toxic pesticides, water contamination, lack of healthy food and the basic need to protect the earth so that we and future generations will have a place to live.

Here in Rio+20, it is exciting to be a part of a global community that is concerned with protecting our environment and taking action to reduce the impacts of climate change. We all come from communities where citizen involvement and pressure to implement solutions are already making a difference. But there are still too many people who are unaware of, or who are denying the fact that our ecosystems and people are dying. Some of us are suffering now from horrible toxic chemicals that cause cancer, defects and reproductive disorders. Every child has the right to live in a clean and healthy environment. For this reason, we want to urge the media and people in our communities to report on the Rio+20 Summit and stay informed about the important decisions occurring here. Awareness is an important step toward sustainable solutions, and climate change is an issue that we cannot afford to ignore. We need action from governments now.

If we continue releasing greenhouse gases, we are dooming ourselves as well as the planet. We need more than just meetings and politicians to get the message through. With every meeting and event we attend as part of our youth exchange, we become more convinced that groups of individuals working together can have great influence on the direction of our world. The solution is simple: a shift in priorities must take place. We must be able to grow our own food, buy only what we need to survive, and consume the least amount of resources possible. Our governments must help communities make this transition.

Youth like us are already implementing clean energy solutions, but we can't do everything; we need guidance, inspiration, insight and support from adult allies and our governments to fulfill our duties. Through this exchange, we have begun to grasp the interconnectedness of people all over the world, and the necessity to work globally (that's you and me!) to save our world. Will government leaders at Rio+20 also grasp this concept and give us a strong plan for climate solutions?

Futuro somos nos!  We are the future!