‘Hallo, my name is Severn Suzuki speaking for E.C.O. – The Environmental Children’s organization,’ announces the 12-year-old Severn at the start of her speech in 1992 at the major Rio Earth conference. The hall is hushed as she tells her story, bringing some delegates to tears. The film of her speech has been watched by millions of people around the world and is a source of inspiration for many. Even though this took place almost 20 years ago, many of her comments then shockingly still hold true today. How is Severn Suzuki doing these days? And what does she think about the lack of progress being made since she made her speech in 1992 as a young teenager? Watch the abridged version of the interview with Severn Cullis-Suzuki here.
Severn’s message to young people:
‘Twenty years ago, when I was twelve years old, I spoke to the UN. Since then I have done many different things, but that six minutes in Rio de Janeiro in 1992, where I confronted the world with the voice of the future, remains the most powerful and most important thing I’ve ever done. I have a lot of time thinking about why that is. More than ever I am convinced that we are desperate for that voice, the voice of young people. To confront us with our actions and take away the rationalization for the destruction of the earth take away. And more than ever today I believe that we need that voice. We need young people to speak up, because we’re desperate for that clarity.’