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  • Published on: 3 May 2012
  • Submitted by: Peace Child International
  • More information

Youth All Over the World Mark Earth Day with Historic Rio+YOU Global Day of Action
Just over a week ago, a burst of energy swept across over 50 cities across the world as young people prepared for the Rio+YOU Global Day of Action, which was to be held on the 22nd of April, in conjunction with Earth Day.

The efforts of thousands of such young sustainable development advocates saw this year?s Earth Day commemorated in a groundbreaking manner ? with a slew of events held simultaneously all over the world under the Rio+YOU banner.

An international youth-led grassroots movement, Rio+YOU aims to raise awareness for the upcoming United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (also known as Rio+20 and Earth Summit 2012) by empowering individuals to take action in their own lives and that of the communities which they are a part of.

For months, Rio+YOU youth all over the world have been working tirelessly to educate the public on the issues central to sustainable development, culminating in the Rio+YOU Global Day of Action.

Some of the activities which took place as part of the Rio+YOU Global Day of Action included marches, marathons, concerts, movie screenings, bicycle rallies, art exhibitions, communal cleaning outings and mass picnics.

For example, in Canada, some three hundred thousand people took to Montreal streets to march for and towards sustainable development.

Across the ocean on the same day, youth of the Kpanvo farming community in northern Ghana were cleaning up their communal vicinity and playing football before learning about environmental preservation and how to protect the ecosystem upon which they relied for their lives and livelihoods.

Indeed, the Rio+YOU Global Day of Action saw the tide of sustainable development activism make waves in communities and societies across the planet.

However, the journey will not end here for these passionate young movers and shakers.

With less than two months to the Rio+20, this youth-driven vehicle for awareness-building and interest-sustaining initiatives is gaining traction and showing no signs of slowing down.

Supported by Road to Rio+20, a coalition of organisations which is helping to coordinate Rio+YOU initiatives across continents, the collaboration will ensure that Rio+YOU proceedings will ensue up until Rio+20.

Rio+YOU activities will also be complemented by MyCity+20 events, which features student-run simulations of the Earth Summit 2012 by city.

All over the world, MyCity+20 mock summits have fuelled discussion and ignited wider interest in sustainable development issues.

In particular, the recently-concluded NY+20 conference stands as a pertinent example of the powerful force to be reckoned with that is the influence young global constituents wield.

NY+20 managed to secure the participation of dignitaries and policy-makers such as Brice Lalonde, Executive Coordinator of Rio+20 as well as John Matuszak, Division Chief for Sustainable Development and Multilateral Affairs at the U.S. Department of State.

This youth mobilisation effort is so important because success at Rio+20 will see the creation of a people?s movement that goes where Rio+20 doesn?t go ? beyond UN negotiations; changing our lives for the better.

As such, the role youth will play on this global stage in determining the #FutureWeWant will be a leading one.

?The generation that is running the planet right now cannot really provide the solutions to climate change and the single hope for the future lies with the youth.? ? Dr Stefanos Fotiou, Regional Resource Coordinator, United Nations Environment Programme.

Ms H. Elizabeth Thompson, Executive Coordinator of Rio+20, urged young people the world over to empower themselves and decide how best to use their abilities and influence at Rio and beyond the summit.

"We want young people?s ideas to be taken into account in the outcomes of the summit and to make them relevant for our generation, but we?re asking youth to take action themselves as well and be accountable to each other." ? Nicoḷ Wojewoda, Director, Road to Rio+20.

Ultimately, the goal of Rio+YOU and its supporting coalition, Road to Rio+20 is a shared ideal ? to encourage young people immerse themselves in the themes of Rio+20, educate others, translate them into practical action plans for society as well as lobby governments and corporations to embrace Rio+20 and take meaningful steps towards an existence based upon sustainable development.


For more information, please contact:
Min Cheong
Media Coordinator
Road to Rio+20
+65 9832 22241

Nicoḷ Wojewoda
Road to Rio+20
+44 1763 327 4459

General Enquiries and Feedback
Road to Rio+20
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