Youth and civil society raise the stakes, urge world leaders to stop a #RioFail

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11 year-old singer and activist Ta'Kaiya Blaney of the Sliammon First Nationwas among the youth taking action today at the Rio+20 Summit. (Photo: Ben Powless)

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Youth call on leaders to put people ahead of polluters and make ambitious agreements

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil - Youth from around the globe joined with Civil Society groups to push world leaders to increase their ambition and prevent the failure of Rio+20. The action began on the second to last day of the talks when mock representatives from big polluting corporations unveiled a "true" version of the Rio text called "The Future We Bought."

"World leaders have delivered something that fails to move the world forward from the first Rio summit, showing up with empty promises and empty pockets at Rio+20" says Mariana Calderon, a young woman from California. "This text is a polluters plan, and unless leaders start listening to the people, history will remember it as a failure for the people and the planet."

The "Future we Bought" text was then ritually destroyed and rejected, followed by hundreds of youth leading civil society into a sit-in and "People's Plenary."

"The Rio text saves political face but fails at protecting people on the frontlines of climate and environmental crises," Calderon explained. "The current text shows no ambition on the most important issues here in Rio - protecting oceans, meeting implementation commitments, ending handouts to big polluters, addressing climate change or setting goals for the creation of a just and sustainable future for people and the planet."

Organizers were joined by representatives of a wide range of groups in Rio, including ten-year old Ta'Kaiya Blaney of Sliammon First Nation, located in British Columbia, Canada.

"As Indigenous peoples our priorities are the land and water and to the land and water, we have a responsibility not only as Indigenous peoples but as humans. Though many leaders do not understand this, they send the world into a future of no life. Especially our government of Canada pushing the controversial tar sands," said Ta'Kaiya Blaney of Sliammon First Nation.

The group occupied the hallway outside of the main plenary space giving a voice to solutions from civil society and social movements, and calling on politicians to heed their words and step up their commitments in the final day of talks.

"Youth, civil society and social movements are building the solutions the planet needs," said Adrian Fernandez from Bolivia. "Politicians here in Rio to need to start listening, step up and stop a Rio Fail".


This press release was issued today by Powershift Canada and other youth and civil society activist in Rio. Amara Possian is in Rio representing Powershift, and will be sharing additional updates this week. 

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