Dear President Obama,
My name is Senel Wanniarachchi. I'm a student from Sri Lanka. You are one of the most charismatic Leaders I've seen in my lifetime and I have great respect for you.
I will be flying thousands of miles to Rio, thanks to a generous fellowship, together with thousands of others from around the world. Even though I'm excited about being present in Rio, the world seems almost exhausted by mega UN meetings.
Www.calculator.carbonfootprint.com says the total carbon footprint of my return journey is 5.26 Metric Tons. There are hundreds of thousands of people from around the world that will be traveling to Rio this June amounting to huge carbon footprints, and the impact we as youth activists might be able to make, we know, is minimal.
In 1992, the year I was born, the Rio Earth Summit helped put Climate Change on the world agenda. Today, twenty years later, the world can't afford to wait any longer to address escalating global environmental challenges that our planet is facing.
Here in Sri Lanka, my friends are organizing Earth Walks and awareness workshops; we draw posters and turn our lights off during the Earth Hour. Even though we know the impact we might be able to make is so little, we do the best we can. I wish I had the power to make decisions that shifted global emissions by decimal points. But I don’t. You do. I know these things maybe easier said than done. But be there, at Rio+20 as it's crucial that the United States takes a leading role in preserving our planet for present and future generations.
I care about my planet. I know you do too.
(emailed to the White House)