“But I challenge you. Please make your actions reflect your words” – Severn Cullis-Suzuki
When I was twelve years old, I remember being awkward and starting middle school. My daily routine involved waking up to go to school, attending my classes, going home to do my homework and having some free time to play with the other children around the neighborhood.
During that time, none of my conversations with my peers involved any social issues such as environmental conservation or human rights abuses across the globe. Instead, we discussed very superficial topics such as television shows or what was the cool trend at the time.
I certainly do not remember delivering a powerful, thought provoking speech in front of a group of adults at the UN Earth Summit. Yet that is what twelve-year-old Severn Cullis-Suzuki did at the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro. For six minutes, Ms. Cullis-Suzuki silenced the world as she was “fighting for my future.” Imagine it, a twelve-year-old girl had lambasted all the adults in the room, telling them they “must change their ways.”
I would be proud to have a child this engaged in social issues. I hope that Severn Cullis-Suzuki continues her activism to this day, almost twenty years later.
Here is her speech.