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Youth activists mobilise over the Rio+20 Earth Summit

Source: Thomson Reuters Foundation - Mon, 21 Nov 2011 11:35 AM
Author: Stacey Griffin
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Any views expressed in this article are those of the author and not of Thomson Reuters Foundation.

Stacey Griffin is the co-founder of FELT agency. The opinions expressed are her own.

As Mayor Bloomberg declared the, “final decision to act was mine,” evicting hundreds of peaceful protestors from Zuccotti Park, 50 youth activists from 15 countries paused in Manhattan to consider their strategy towards influencing world leaders to join them at Earth Summit 2012.

This United Nations Conference, (also known as Rio+20) will be held in Brazil in June to mark the 20th anniversary of the 1992 Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED), with the objective of kick starting the green economy and securing renewed political commitment for sustainable development.

Last Monday night, 25 international organizers from a coalition initiated by Peace Child International, joined 25 high school leaders from New York City’s Global Kids, to organize a press conference on the steps of City Hall on Tuesday afternoon.

All 50 youth agreed: because of Mayor Bloomberg’s international leadership on climate change, they would publically invite him to Rio+20.

However, after the forced eviction of Occupy Wall Street protestors on Tuesday morning the organizers questioned whether Bloomberg could still represent New York and the World at the Summit.

On Tuesday, the group presented to the UN Deputy Secretary General and other officials on their vision of a global youth movement to go beyond the UN negotiations into the living rooms and streets around the world.  

After their presentation, the group held a speak out on the commons of Union Square Park.

“Why should we have to chose between democracy and the environment?” said Global Kids leader, Brittany Arboleda, “We want to create a planet that will survive for the 100 percent, not just the 1 percent,” said Abhishek Thakore, from the Blue Ribbon Movement in India.

Bloomberg’s office has yet to confirm his attendance at Rio+20.

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