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Severn Suzuki and THE One tight slap

May 27, 2008

Author : Amit

It was the year 1992 and Severn Suzuki was a 12 year old kid. She raised money with the members of the Environmental Children’s organization (ECO) and attended the United Nation’s Earth Summit in Rio De Janeiro. She gave a six minutes speech there which received a standing ovation from the delegates of the various countries. According to her, a few of them cried too. Her speech was nothing less than a one tight slap on the face of all the “Adults” who think that spending money on War related activities and developing new weapons is more important than spending it to remove poverty and illiteracy and on environmental Issues. Her speech was hard hitting but whether it lead to some action or not was something Severn herself wrote 10 years later in a Special Report in the TIME called “The young can’t wait”. An excerpt –

I spoke for six minutes and received a standing ovation. Some of the delegates even cried. I thought that maybe I had reached some of them, that my speech might actually spur action. Now, a decade from Rio, after I’ve sat through many more conferences, I’m not sure what has been accomplished. My confidence in the people in power and in the power of an individual’s voice to reach them has been deeply shaken.

You can read the full report here.

This is the video of the speech. Don’t miss the expressions on the faces of the delegates.

You can read her speech here.

Since her bold foray in the UN Summit, Severn has been an active environmental activist, speaker, television host and an author. She is currently pursuing a Master’s degree in Ethnoecology. Severn set an example for the young generation and the adults too. She was so much aware of what was happening around her at such a small age and was not afraid to tell the adults what she felt about it.

(The photograph is taken from Wikipedia)

14 Comments leave one →
  1. May 27, 2008 9:40 pm

    this post is a very inspiring one,more the reason we work together 🙂

  2. Sajida permalink
    June 5, 2008 5:29 pm

    I really want to make a difference! But my parents and friends say whatever we do does’nt matter and the government should take actions on it. Keep up the good work and i’ll try my best and i hope we can make a difference.

    • Marliz permalink
      February 15, 2010 9:15 am

      It is a popular misconception that one can not make a difference, public opinion is of the utmost importance even to the most corrupt politician

  3. Ann Goetting permalink
    July 20, 2008 3:36 am

    Does anyone know how I can get a copy of Severn’s original speech (as a child) to show my students. Thanks. Ann Goetting

  4. August 4, 2008 8:51 am

    Wow! what a courage! what a presentation! Excellent speech! But nothing turned out is sounds bad 😦

  5. August 31, 2009 6:19 am

    I never ever post but this time I will,Thanks alot for the great blog.

  6. Rosie Jacobsen permalink
    October 12, 2009 11:12 am

    I find it hard to believe that 17 yrs since the speech and we still haven’t even begun to repair the damage that we have done. Thank you for trying to make this a better world for my child and your generation , and the generations to come. Al Gore won a Nobel peace prize for a slide show he did not really do himself , but a child that stands up for the generations to come get nothing. Am I the only one failing to find the justice in that?

  7. Brad Homiston permalink
    April 4, 2010 7:33 pm

    These words are no less true today than they were in 1992. Why is the UN wasting time and money on their complicit environmental agenda that serves the rich? This organization is responsible for the very policies that are destroying our environments. I don’t even know why I posted…maybe someone will listen. If you don’t understand where her words may have come from, read the prophecies of Daniel and Hosea in the purest translation possible. May you all seek true inspiration that can only come from within each and everyone of you.

    • gowri shankar permalink
      June 19, 2010 11:42 pm

      A superior man is modest in his speech, but exceed in his actions – Confucius.

      Let’s make peace no war,

      Let’s make love no hatred,

      We as Human Race, Let all of us be together and we only can make our world a better place for us and for our future generation.

  8. February 12, 2011 3:15 am

    Thanks for your good post… 🙂


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