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Who is Severn Cullis-Suzuki?

Severn Cullis-Suzuki is an environmental activist who, at just 12 years old, delivered a powerful speech at the 1992 Earth Summit, capturing global attention. Her impassioned plea for environmental responsibility and intergenerational justice has resonated for decades, inspiring many to take action. How has her message influenced your views on sustainability? Join the conversation and share your thoughts.
Treasure Ingels-Thompson
Treasure Ingels-Thompson

Since the age of five, Severn Cullis-Suzuki has been committed to making the world a greener better place. By the age of nine, she had formed the Environmental Children's Organization (ECO) with an assembly of concerned children at Lord Tennyson Elementary School in Vancouver. She became an activist whose presence transcended previous notions of age and gender.

In 1992, at the age of 12, Cullis-Suzuki took her activism to the next step as she and her friends raised enough money at neighborhood bake sales to attend the United Nations (UN) Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro. Addressing the assemblage of world leaders, Cullis-Suzuki became the world's most youthful ecological hero and her name became recognizable by the leaders of the world. In just over six minutes, Severn Cullis-Suzuki had become synonymous with environmental change and world community.

Woman holding a book
Woman holding a book

Severn Cullis-Suzuki's dedication to improving the earth's ecological treatment is no accident. Born to internationally respected environmentalists Tara Cullis and David Suzuki, it would seem only natural that Cullis-Suzuki adopt a role as global protector. Cullis and Suzuki named their daughter for the United Kingdom's unusual Severn River, known for the rare tidal wave occurrence known as the Severn Bore. Their expectations seem precognitive as Severn Cullis-Suzuki's activism continues to take the world by storm.

Achieving her Bachelor's of Science in ecology and evolutionary biology, Severn Cullis-Suzuki proved that her commitment far exceeded her endeavors in her youth. While at Yale, Cullis-Suzuki and her friends collaborated to pen the "Record of Responsibility," a confessional document that acknowledged each signer's own responsibility in potential ecological disaster and listed numerous suggestions for correcting many environmental problems. Demonstrating the tenacity that had drawn world attention to her childhood speech, Severn Cullis-Suzuki took a broad step toward her future goals as she carried the "Record of Responsibility" to the 2002 UN Earth Summit.

Along the way, Severn Cullis-Suzuki's path toward planetary healing has become a distinct one. Proud of her parents' dedication to environmental issues, Cullis-Suzuki maintains that her specific interests are in the social roots and ramifications of ecological issues. With those interests in mind, she pursues her Master's degree in ethnoecology at the University of Victoria. Studying the various social interactions of various communities and how those interactions affect the earth's ecology, Cullis-Suzuki hopes to continue to affect environmental and ecological improvement.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who is Severn Cullis-Suzuki?

Severn Cullis-Suzuki is an environmental activist, speaker, television host, and author. She first gained international attention at the age of 12 when she delivered a powerful speech at the United Nations Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro in 1992. The daughter of Canadian environmentalist David Suzuki, she has continued her advocacy for sustainable development and climate change awareness throughout her life.

What did Severn Cullis-Suzuki achieve with her speech at the UN Earth Summit?

Severn Cullis-Suzuki's speech at the UN Earth Summit in 1992, known as "The Girl Who Silenced the World for 5 Minutes," highlighted the urgency of environmental responsibility and the impact of adult decisions on children's futures. Her articulate and passionate plea resonated globally, earning her the nickname "The Girl Who Silenced the World" and bringing youth perspectives to the forefront of environmental discussions.

What has Severn Cullis-Suzuki done since her famous speech?

Since her famous speech, Severn Cullis-Suzuki has continued her environmental activism. She completed a B.Sc. in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology from Yale University and a M.Sc. in Ethnoecology from the University of Victoria. She co-founded the Environmental Children's Organization (ECO), authored books, and served on the Earth Charter Commission. She also advocates for indigenous rights and sustainable community practices.

Has Severn Cullis-Suzuki received any awards or recognition for her work?

Yes, Severn Cullis-Suzuki has received several accolades for her environmental advocacy. She was honored with the Global 500 Roll of Honour by the United Nations Environment Programme in 1993 and received the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal in 2012. Her ongoing efforts to promote ecological sustainability and youth engagement in environmental issues have been widely recognized.

How can individuals contribute to the environmental causes championed by Severn Cullis-Suzuki?

Individuals can contribute to the environmental causes championed by Severn Cullis-Suzuki by reducing their carbon footprint, supporting sustainable practices, and advocating for policy changes. Engaging in community initiatives, educating oneself and others about environmental issues, and participating in local and global activism are also ways to make a difference. Severn emphasizes the power of collective action and the importance of each person's role in protecting the planet.

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