Here is one interesting way to get involved (and noticed) by some of the planet's biggest celebrities and environmental advocates this Earth Day. If you have something to say about the #futureearth you want to inherit, then you can enter the Date with History 2-minute video contest. One winner +1 will be flown to Rio de Janeiro to share his or her vision with the world at the U.N. Rio Earth Summit in June.
The contest is pretty simple. You write a one-page (about two minutes) speech addressing one or more of the core issues being discussed at the upcoming summit. Read it into a camera and upload it via the contest website or Mobli mobile app.
The contest is open through May 6, and public voting online will determine regional finalists whose videos will be viewed by an all-star jury of youth and elder leaders from around the world, including NRDC President Frances Beinecke, U.N. Foundation President Timothy E. Wirth, former Brazilian Environment Minister Marina Silva, Former President of Costa Rica Jose Maria Figueres, Dr. Kandeh K. Yumkella of the United Nations, and UNFCCC Executive Secretary Christiana Figueres.
Alongside this figures will be some more familar names — actor and activist Leonardo DiCaprio, members of the band Linkin Park, Hayden Panettiere, Don Cheadle, Daryl Hannah and Brazillian heartthrob and environmental advocate, Sergio Marone.
The jury also notably includes Severn Suzuki, who back in 1992 at the original Earth Summit in Rio delivered a moving speech and is still remembered as "the girl who silenced the world."
One juror, Christiana Figueres, explained the importance of young voices being heard at the summit of world leaders: "We know that we are currently borrowing the planet from our children and grandchildren, so it is only fitting that their voice be the clarion call of Rio."
Hayden Panettiere, 22-year-old actress and international spokesperson for The Whaleman Foundation, has been on the front lines of activism since she was 15. “Young people intuitively understand that we need to work together on the issues that matter most to our future.” said Hayden. “And I’m really glad to be a part of and support Date With History as a platform that gets more young voices involved to inspire the urgent actions we need for protecting our oceans and our planet from further degradation.”
Sergio Marone, noted Brazilian actor and founder of Movimento Gota D´água, says he jumped at the chance to be involved with this youth engagement platform because “It is time to wake up and rediscover the true meaning of being human. It’s time to connect the power that is in our hearts and understand that the world will only change if we participate.”
Kristin Casper, now legal counsel for Greenpeace International and youth spokesperson at Rio +10, the 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development, explains why youth voices are key at such high level diplomatic events: "There are times when only the voice of youth can pierce the complacency of ‘business-as-usual’ diplomacy. Times when speaking truth to power needs to be simple, emotional and moral. Times when our leaders need to look into the eyes of their children and remember who we need the just and green future for. This is such a time."
More than 120 heads of state and government will attend the Earth Summit, in the midst of a convergence of crises unlike any seen in our history. Public pressure may encourage attendance by key players, such as President BarackObama, who are still undecided about attending. But whoever attends, it may turn out that the most important attendees of all will be the young voices, working to ensure the conference elicits decisive action from government leaders on the most pressing environmental and humanitarian crises facing our increasingly crowded planet.
The Date With History contest was created and sponsored by TckTckTck (Disclosure: I work for the Tck Climate Campaign), Climate Nexus, and the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and has been joined by an array of other organizations including the U.N. Foundation, Music for Relief, the Canadian Council of Churches, David Suzuki Foundation and UNESCO Etxea.