Teen will address 150 world leaders

By Nathan Crombie

Carterton schoolgirl Brittany Trilfold has won an international competition to be the only youth speaker at the United Nations Rio Earth Summit in Brazil next month.

The 17-year-old made a two-minute video for the Date With History contest, expressing her hopes for our global future.

The video beat thousands of rivals worldwide in the contest run by the Global Campaign for Climate Action, Climate Nexus and the Natural Resoures Defence Council.

The contest was inspired by a speech given to the UN Assembly at the inaugural Rio Earth Summit in 1992 by then 12-year-old Severn Suzuki.

Submitters uploaded video speeches telling the world about "the future we want". An online vote decided 22 finalists before a panel of judges, including Ms Suzuki and film star Leonardo di Caprio, selected a winner.

"Making it as a finalist was great and being selected was absolutely humbling," she said.

"But winning for me was getting a thousand views on the video - it's the conversations out there in the world, the thoughts, that really matter."

Brittany is set down to speak on June 22 in Rio de Janiero. She will also attend the Global Youth Leaders Conference in Washington, and was grateful to Wairarapa sponsors who helped fund the trip.

The self-confessed "nerd" and environmentalist is in her final year at Queen Margaret College in Wellington, where she lives during the week with a homestay family.

Brittany's selection for the UN address last week has been reported by BBC World News, CNN, the Guardian, and the Huffington Post. "A lot of the Northern Hemisphere media have talked about my meeting Leo di Caprio at the summit and that will be nice. But I'll only have five to 10 minutes to speak to 150 leaders from around the world. I'm going to make the most of it."

- Wairarapa Times-Age

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