The Children’s Voice: Address to the Plenary Session, Earth Summit, Rio Centro, Brazil 1992

February 25, 2007 at 10:25 pm 1 comment

Hello, I’m Severn Suzuki speaking for E.C.O., the Environmental Children’s Organisatin. We are a group of twelve and thirteen year olds from Canada trying to make a difference: Vanessa Suttie, Morgan Geisler and me. We raised all the money ourselves to come six thousand miles to tell you adults you must change your ways. Coming here today, I have no hidden agandas, 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. I am here to speak for countless animals dying across this planet because they have nowhere left to go. We cannot afford to be not heard.

I am afraid to go out in the sun because of the holes in the ozone. I am afraid to breathe the air because I don’t know what chemicals are in it.

I used to go fishing in Vancouver with my Dad until just a few years ago we found the fish full of cancers. And now we hear about animals and plants going extinct everyday – vanishing forever.

In my life, I have dreamt of seeing the great herds of wild animals, jungles and rainforests full of birds and butterflies, but now I wonder if they will ever exist for my children to see.

Did you have to worry about these little things when you were my age?

All this is happenig before our eyes and yet we act as if we have all the time we want and all the solutions.

I’m only a child and I don’t have all the solutions, but I want you to realise, neither do you!

You don’t know how to fix the holes in our ozone layer.
You don’t know how to bring salmon back up a dead stream.
You don’t know how to bring an animal now extinct.
And you can’t bring back forests that once grew where there is now desert.
If you don’t know how to fix it, please stop breaking it.

Here, you may be delegates of your government, business people, organisers, reporters or politicians – but really you are mothers and fathers, brothers and sisters, aunts and uncles – and all of you are somebody’s child.

I’m only a child, yet I know we are all part of a family, five billion strong; in fact, 30 million species strong and we all share the same air, water and soil – borders and governements will never change that.

I’m only a child, yet I know we are all in this together and should act as one single world towards saving our planet. In my anger, I am not blind, and in my fear, I am not afraid to tell the world how I feel.

In my country, we make so much waste; we buy and throw away, buy and throw away, and yet northern countries will not share with the needy. Even when we have more than enough, we are afraid to lose seem of our wealth, afraid to share.

In Canada, we live the priveleged life, with plenty of food, water and shelter – we have watches, bicycles, computers and television sets.

Two days ago here in Brazil, we were shocked when we spent some time with children living on the streets.

And this is what one child told us: “I wish I was rich and if I were, I would give all the street children food, clothes, medicine, shelter, love and affection.”

If a child on the street who has nothing is willing to share, why are we who have everything still so greedy?

I can’t stop thinking that these children are my age; that it makes a tremendous difference where you are born; that I could be one of those children living in the favellas of Rio; I could be a child starving in Somalia, a victim of war in the Middle East or a beggar in India.

I’m only a child, yet I know if all the money spent on war was spent on ending poverty and finding environemental answers, what a wonderful place the earth would be!

At school, even in kindergarten, you teach us how to behave in the world. You teach us:

not to fight with others;
to work things out;
to respect others;
to clean up our mess;
not to hurt other creatures;
to share – not be greedy.
Then why do you go out and do the things you tell us not to do?

Do not forget- why you’re attending these conferences, who you’re doing this for – we are your own children.

You are deciding what kind of world we will grow up in. parents should be able to comfort their children by saying “Everything’s going to be all right.We’re doing the best we can. It’s nott he end of the world.”

But I don’t think you can say that to us anymore. Are we even on your list of priorities? My father always says “You are what you do, not what you say.”

Well, what you do makes me cry at night. you grown-ups say you love us. I challenge you, please make your actions reflect your words.

Thank you for listening.

Related Links>>>
Check out the Victorian based ‘Schools for a Sustainable Future’
http://www.sfsf.com.au/
Schools for a Sustainable Future (SFSF) is a strategy designed to unite various sectors of local communities under a common “umbrella” to achieve this goal. Our vision is to bring together schools, local business and the community, to promoate and implement programs that preserve our resources and environment for our children’s future. SFSF Aims to: * Support and promote schools working towards sustainability. * Support and promote business working towards sustainability. * Encourage sustainability to community, business, councils and schools. * Develop practical sustainability projects for schools that achieve educational (curriculum) and environmental goals. * Run projects in schools, providing ‘hands-on’ support for teachers. Over the past 4 years, with the invaluable support of local Councils and busineeses, SFSF has worked with over 70 schools. Through the enthusiasm and hard work of their teachers and students each school has become a unique environmental leader. The task for the community now is to recognise their efforts and expand our environmental vision.

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Entry filed under: Children, Earth.

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