Severn Suzuki-Cullis silenced the world when she spoke at the Earth Summit in Rio. This summit took place in 1992 and ever since, the young woman hasn’t stopped fighting so that main political bodies recognize the ecological emergency that we’re currently facing.
Greta Thunberg wasn’t the first teenager to challenge key political figures head on. Well before her time, young people were already getting involved and daring to stand up to the adults that found it difficult to understand just how much we need to act to save our planet.
Severn Suzuki-Cullis, young and furious
Severn Suzuki-Cullis was one of those teens. In 1992, she was only 12 when she gave a speech at the Earth Summit in Rio (Brazil) that silenced the world. This 12-year-old Canadian girl who founded the non-profit organization Environmental Children’s Organization, wasn’t afraid to say what she thought of people’s failure to act and was heard saying: ‘I am fighting for my future. Losing my future is not like losing an election or a few points on the stock market. I am here to speak for all generations to come.’
Find her famous speech in the video above.
Defying the world’s leaders
As a representative for young people who couldn’t bear being treated like a child anymore, Severn Suzuki-Cullis challenged her audience: ‘You grown-ups say you love us. I challenge you, please make your actions reflect your words.’
Nowadays, Greta Thunberg is the new icon for young environmentalists throughout the world. At 16 years old, this young girl has been invited to speak in front of several institutions and has been welcomed by governments across the world. She was the instigator for the climate strike, encouraging young people not to go to school and protest against the paternalistic voice of the political world that requires young people to stay in their place. Subsequently, she received quite a cold welcome from a right-wing party during her recent visit to France.
Today: more active than ever
Although only a few people remember her name, Severn Suzuki-Cullis hasn’t stopped fighting for the environment. The young woman is now 39 years old and is still fighting for the future. Recently, she talked about Greta Thunberg in an interview with the French newspaper Monde: ‘She disturbs them, she challenges them, she is proof that [political figures] do listen and she is a testament to the power that she has.’ Her legacy has been passed on, which is proof that Severn Suzuki-Cullis’ message was well and truly heard.
Check out the video to find out more!