Born and raised in Vancouver, Severn Suzuki has been working on environmental and social justice issues since kindergarten. At age 9, she and some friends started the Environmental Children's Organization (ECO), a small group of children committed to learning and teaching other kids about environmental issues. They traveled to 1992's UN Earth Summit, where 12 year-old Severn gave this powerful speech that deeply affected (and silenced) some of the most prominent world leaders. The speech had such an impact that she has become a frequent invitee to many UN conferences.

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  • Jess

    If you can't fix it, stop breaking it.

  • Kakoli Biswas

    the picture was not clear to me.

  • fp79

    Also, zw's post... I saw other comments like that. "The world isn't perfect - Everyone, included me and this girl, is evil" etc. So just do as many people, go ahead and bash her: makes sense. Actually, she wasn't so naive saying "If you can't fix it, stop breaking it".

  • Sajjad ali

    I am 19 years of age. If she repeat her speach for todays world or environment,would be very sad speach..20 years ago the environment was palluted by gasses but now by blood(terrirism)

  • Johnson Onibokun

    We are all guilty. Wrong does not cease to be wrong because the majority share in it. Twenty-three years after this indictment speech, there's no appreciable improvement within the world polity, most especially the developing countries because of their leaders' questionable actions such as Wealth without work, Pleasure without conscience, Knowledge without character, Commerce without morality, Science without humanity, Worship without sacrifice an Polditics without principles.

  • Larry Forrester

    I feel guilty beyond belief.I am 72 years old and now believe that my generation has done more to damage the world we live in . Although I studiously re-cycle waste, keep heating and water usage as low as possible, walk for short shopping trips use energy saving products as much as I can donate to at least 5 charities by direct debit every month I am not doing enough. I confess that listening to this young lady brought tears of shame to my eyes. I will start to use my car much less, forget the planned flight to the USA on holiday for this year and increase as much as I can afford my donations to children's charities like Oxfam/Save the children etc. I am truly ashamed of what we have done to this earth of ours. After all IT IS THE ONLY ONE WE'VE GOT!

  • al

    there are a lot of 12 year olds with smart thinking brains and good intentions but unfortunately most of them turn into 32 year old dead weights - severn also must be good at what she does now but where is she now - u think with a speech like that she would have been a world crusader - life happens and we move on. this is not to criticize severn but to acknowledge her part that she played weel while we are yet to get off our butts... but as i said life happens ant it goes on....very few of us are willing to sacrifice the comforts of the new age that we are seduced into buying...living the simple life is looked down at....who am i to complain.. i am part of the guilty

  • Pam Preston

    Watch out.... here come our grandchildren!

  • JDS

    What inspired you about this video? The sad fact is that very little progress has been made by way of impressing the power elite that this is even more relevant now than it was 20 years ago. It's sad that bitter, misinformed adults would feel such anger (self loathing, I suspect) that they would criticize or dismiss such impassioned intentions. There is another generation of passionate 12 year olds to make this plea.The question is; are there committed 32 year olds prepared to take action, make sacrifices, or even to vote along environmental lines?

  • stephen

    Her message was spot on 20 years ago, as it is today...unfortunately what she said 20 years ago she could repeat word for word today...

  • cathy o

    it makes me ashamed to see what we have done and how few solutions we have to offer her. shes right. I thank her for making me think about what i can do in my small world one issue at a time. Miracles are possible when we make the effort. cathy o

  • Bernard

    That Jennifer is and always will be a loser for her stupid negative comments

  • Dr. Lock

    All i can say is Wow.

  • Sara

    The comment below me, from that Jennifer person.. Yeeahhh. Honey, you're an imbicile. She did not name her sources because although they were likely written down it would break the effect the speech had. Furthermore, she was not trying to say that there was a new extinct species daily, she was expressing the decrease in the number of many species in areas inhabited by humans, and in general. Use your brain, if you have one. If you honestly don't believe this stuff, then that's YOUR problem. But guess what? It took a lot of spunk to go up there in front of world leaders, and cameras to give that speech that barely any people have. I would LOVE to see you write a better speech that contradicts hers, with citations. If you can't do better, then don't hate on her for your problems. Get over yourself. No one cares what you THINK you know. Good day : )

  • Jennifer

    I thought the speech was very inaccurate and had a lot of misinformation. She didn't provide sources for any of her "facts" which makes me think that they were not true! For example, I know that there isn't an animal and plant that goes extinct every day. I also know that new species are developing every day.

  • Iann

    The fact that it is so obvious that a child can see the hipocracy of the adult world.She called us on our bulls&^%t.

  • Patrick

    Yes,Yes, Let the children speak their truth and be heard for their courage of heart. truth is born of woman, justice is a nurturing environment.

  • Olala

    We need more of these from our youths...

  • nkumuke simon yongolo

    its true no fear on saying the truth

  • rajesh

    its one of the greatest speeches i have ever heard.

  • roar

    hey forbes and campbell

  • roar

    Hi

  • Luanne

    Can you imagine what would happen if EVERY Gossip TV news channel would, for one week, focus on what this little girl is saying instead of who's sleeping with who and who had dinner with who. Even ALL The 24/7 News Channels need to focus on this for one week. Could you imagine the impact it would have on the WORLD!!!!!!!!! We are far to busy with other matters that it's so, so sad.

  • Joseph Alabat

    Only when every individual is microchipped and tracked will the earth be safe and efficient. The day has come for the roundup of all private weapons. Freedom has been over rated for centuries. Mankind must accept his responsibility to be small and humble. He must be grateful for the ant, the cockroach, the spider and the leaf. Re-education is the pathway to a brighter future. Cull the herd and reap a better future. Only beautiful people should reproduce. The others should be used in live experimentation.

  • Kait

    Brave Girl. I commend her for her optimism. Never give up hope that we can make the world a better place, for there is no way of calculating the impact that one word, one person can have on the world. Remember Ghandi, Mother Theresea, even Hitler and Stalin. These last two were monsters but they certainly left their mark. Let us strive to be like those who worked to change the world for the better. Well done girl. No matter what anyone else says never give up. Never stop speaking up. This world needs more dreamers like you. Maybe one day the dream will come true. Bravo

  • Michelle Carter

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Severn_Cullis-Suzuki

  • binod singh

    she must be doing great now whereever she may be! if she is listening she must involve us in her great work. www.oxygenamovement.org

  • Lindabtm

    Those were the most beautifully spoken words of truth spoken from the heart. It's time for a change. linda-beyondthemusic.blogspot.com

  • Robin Duff

    Have always believed in the young as they are the ONLY ones who see things with uncluttered vision. Brilliant work Severn. And KEEP IT GOING. Keep beating the so-called powers that be, over the head. It has to be done.

  • Danielle

    That was an amazing speech, it brought tears to my eyes. She's going to make an impact on the world.....

  • Somesh Agrawal

    REAL BRAVE YOUNG LEADER WHO WILL DEFINETLY CHANGE THE WORLD. GOD BLESS HER. ALL OF US MUST LEARN FROM THIS YOUNG BRAVE LEADER. TOP GREAT LEADERS MUST BE ASHAMED AND MUST LEARN FROM THIS BRAVE. SOMESH AGRAWAL INDIA. Mobile: +91-9868846846.

  • zw

    sutpid little girl .... the world dosnt turn that way and it never will.... grow up and accept it

  • Connie Lake

    What a powerful message! Are those in power really listening to all of her words or will they go by the way side and become silent to those who have the power to change the world. I have no reason to complain of my very own situations in life when compared to those around the world who are suffering. Are we really going to keep this young girls voice alive in the minds of those who have the power to change our world?

  • Tabbypuku

    Speechless....and makes me cry. It's been 16 years since this speech. Not merely speaking and thinking, it is time to take ACTIONS!

  • Syed Abdul Haq

    Amazing!!!!!!!!!!! Nobody can stop her expression, excellent speech, I must to try bcz her words made my eyes a full of water. I would like to say something here those who listen this speech they should learn something from her words. And I hope she will be become a Prime Minister. My best wishes always for her and I solute her.

  • Evan

    excellent speech writing, if it is her own. the parallel structure of "I am just a child..." really drives it home. if a child understands these things, why cant the leaders of the most powerful nations of the world?

  • Amber

    Pure... Beautiful.. Amazing. No words can describe this speech. No matter how much I would like to try. The words made me cry. I haven't heard something so true in such a long time. All I want to say, is thank you.

  • Nydia Rivera

    Such incredible perception in such a young child. Spoken with true grace and elegance. Unfortunately, nothing she says will ever make a difference. She is right -- we are afraid and we are greedy, and those things will not change in enough time to make a difference. How truly sad that makes me feel.

  • Rick Brooks

    Show me a better speech and I want to hear it. Because she was 12, she has immense moral influence even if she was wise and articulate far beyond her years. This is a classic; a perfect example to offer students of speech making. More important, it communicates in a profoundly honest way--with palpable anger even--the most important challenges we all face. Having heard it before, I have never forgotten it. We should share this speech with everyone possible--politicians, teachers, students, preachers, polluters, business people who don't seem to get it, litterers, terrorists, consumers, people of great wealth and those without. And then we should respond to her amazingly impassioned and heartfelt presentation by doing something to respond to her every point. As part of the preparation for the United Nations International Day of Peace, a number of us are creating a family of strategies based on "10 Basic Needs" that are precursors to peace and well being. Severn Suzuki has articulated both the need and the path of action that can bring our common compassion and obligations to future generations alive. Listen to her. Think how each of us can look her in the eye and say that we have done our best.

  • Cami AT 29gifts.org

    I'm glad you pulled this out of the archives. And am now curious what Savern is up to today, 16 years after she made this compelling speech.

  • OneWorld

    Updates of Severn Suzuki: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Severn_Cullis-Suzuki

  • Engr. Babatunde A. Okunowo

    I feel the impact of the video clip and tune. Please, I wish it could created as a web-shot for the wallpaper, and I feel, believe, and pray it would change the world into a better place. It is a great work by your team. Please keep it up!

  • speechwriter

    Presidents aren't the only ones who have speech writers. Is this the work of a 12yo or a group with a world agenda? See the following from the same conference: video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-6642758020554799808

  • akshay

    .. trying to put a hole in a brick wall by throwing ping pong balls at it.. well said, i concur. I am sure that there are many others at various age levels who (can) deliver, as good as this, if not better, speech. But is this enough? and as for listeners, majority of them will listen, clap and get on with what they were doing..

  • Whatever

    1992?what the f?Sure it is good to show courage,passion,etc,etc and inspire people...but its 2008.the time is to act now,not be happy with a speech in past or think to worry about environment in the future.I am sure the world leaders probably forgot about it soon--a day or two atm most for most of them.By the way the electricity required to host this video is also using resources(i know i am being an idiot,but i dont give a damn as yesterday no one supported me in the preservation of environment.We should promote the people who promote the environment today.) and whats with the cameraman?instead of showing faces of world leader of countries who pollute the most,he/she is showing the face of some African leaders whose countries i doubt had proper electricity back then.. ps: to girl--for the 10th time we know you were a child...

  • Cordell

    So this speech was given in 1992 and as a result of her eloquence, she was invited to subsequent conferences where more impassioned speeches were given about things they would rather talk about than fix? I wonder if she realized that her efforts arent that much different than trying to put a hole in a brick wall by throwing ping pong balls at it..

  • Robin

    Very well spoken, she should be the next prime minister for she lives in Canada :D

  • ZIM

    LOL, this is why we need to get rid of the UN, they sit around listening to a stupid girl who doesnt think that we know how to put new fish in a stream or plant a tree, or the fact that their have been millions of extinctions on this planet and we are all still fine. This global climate change sickens me, is this what it has come to, a tactic to scare children and have them waste their childhood worrying that they cant change?

  • Gil

    Very touching, indeed beutiful

  • Jancis

    boring

  • FrankietheWaffle

    That was amazing. Maybe she didn't write it all herself but collaborated with other youth. I am nearly ashamed that I have not seen this before. I am really curios to see what that kid is doing at 28. I will watch it again.

  • binod singh

    Wonderful, she must be doing great now, not like we adults.she is invited to join the crusade called www.oxygenamovement.org

  • Cleo

    This powerful speech happened 16 years ago. Where is this girl now? she should be the next president

  • Anoop K. Sharma

    Powerful ! heard this several times and each time I Cried. I guess it was the Divinity within me crying as I have never paid attention to the environment; but now I will. God Bless you child, you have shown me the Light.

  • Risa Kaiser

    This is the most powerful message I have heard about environmental degradation, and the most appropriate and articulate messenger. I hope more children will also speak!

  • Sondra McBride

    Why can't the video play straight through? It is very irrtating to try and watch it.

  • Nina

    I can see this young person doing great things for humanity in the future. I wish that we had a presidential candidate for the 2008 election with as much candor and forsight. This video must be passed on because it is very enlightening and it gives me hope for good political leadership in the future.

  • ram

    be the change you would like to see. she did it..

  • Alannah

    Kudos to you Severn! You go Girl! Awesome!

  • choclet pi

    That was amazing. One of the best, most heartfelt speeches Ive ever seen - and from someone so young! I wonder what she is doing now? I think every leader and politician should watch this.

  • kelly Terracciano

    I am awe struck at the wisdom and courage of a beautiful heart and mind. Hope is still alive. In humble gratitude I am awakened.

  • Julie Perrett

    Beautiful. Ashame adults dont have your passion for the earth and all its inhabitants. I wish you well in life and go hard with your beliefs.One person can start the change, please be the one. Again i say Beautiful.

  • Page 1

  • Read the full text of Severn's speech, and pass it on to another 12 year old you know.
  • Learn more about young people making an environmental difference in the world: Brower Youth Award winners.
  • If you were to write a speech about making the world a better place, what would you say?

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