I’m honored to be speaking here on the National Mall today, in a place where so many people have made their voices heard over the years. Their words called out to the people in the Capitol building over there, to the occupant of that big white mansion down the street, to crowds like us, and to generations who came later.
The importance of “speaking truth to power” has almost become clichéd, but here we are with the Rio Earth Summit just two months away and those with power are showing precious few signs of having heard the truth spoken by so many of us, especially by the young people who will have to live with the consequences of what does — or doesn’t — happen in Rio.
I’m thinking in particular of climate change. If we don’t get to grips with this problem, the world we hand over to them is guaranteed to be a far less pleasant place than the one my generation inherited. And they know it. The youth delegations attending the annual UN climate conferences are the most passionate and outspoken — brave, even — of anyone there. They never fail to move me, because this is where it hits home — like all parents, I am fiercely protective of my children and their future.
Sometimes I get to thinking. What if I were to get stuck in an elevator with President Obama? And maybe the key Congressional leaders of both parties. And no advisers. (Okay, like that’s ever going to happen, but hey it’s my fantasy). What would I actually say to convince them to start fighting for our children’s future, rather than the profits of the fossil fuel companies? What would it take to penetrate that armor of business and politics as usual, and wake them up? I don’t know; I write and rewrite that elevator speech over and over again in my head, but one thing is for certain — I always whip out photos of my two kids to drive it home.
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About the AuthorTckTckTck is the online hub for the Global Call for Climate Action. The GCCA represents an unprecedented alliance of more than 400 nonprofit organizations from around the world. Our shared mission is to mobilize civil society and galvanize public support to ensure a safe climate future 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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