Severn Cullis-Suzuki's Speech at the Rio Summit in 1992

She was the Greta Thunberg of her time — and child climate activist Severn Cullis-Suzuki's 1992 Rio Summit speech is still relevant today.

12-Year-Old Speech for the Ages

Severn Cullis-Suzuki is a Canadian environmental activist, speaker, television host and author. She has spoken around the world about environmental issues, urging listeners to define their values, act with the future in mind, and take individual responsibility. She is the daughter of Canadian environmentalist David Suzuki. Severn Cullis-Suzuki was only 12 years old when she spoke before the UN earth Summit in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil, in 1992. A child speaking before adults representing all the countries in the world – yet her speech was anything but childish. It was a galvanizing admonition and an appeal to everyone to help stop the destruction of the earth’s resources:

She spoke of deforestation, chemicals in the air, the waste and greed in our society, and the wanton destruction of animal and plant species that can never be brought back to life again. 17 years later, nothing much has changed, some problems are even more acute than they were two decades ago. The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) estimates that 40% of all organisms on the planet are now facing the risk of extinction. On the road to Copenhagen for the climate summit, very few countries are willing to make the commitment and sign a legally binding treaty to lower their greenhouse gas emissions significantly in the next few years. “Did you have to worry of these things when you were my age? All of this is happening before our eyes and yet we act as if we had all the time we want and all the solutions. I am only a child and I don’t have all the solutions, but I want you to realize neither do you!” the 12-year-old activist implores the Olympic crowd.

In early 2002, she helped launch an Internet-based think tank called The Skyfish Project.[8][2] As a member of Kofi Annan's Special Advisory Panel, she and members of the Skyfish Project brought their first project, a pledge called the "Recognition of Responsibility", to the World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg in August 2002.[3] The Skyfish Project disbanded in 2004 as Cullis-Suzuki turned her focus back to school. She enrolled in a graduate program at the University of Victoria to study ethnobotany under Nancy Turner, finishing in 2007.


07/15/2019 6:20 PMupdated: 07/15/2019 6:49 PM
  • 404.8k
  • 307


  • Maryha C.
    09/25/2019 18:28


  • Cuben R.
    08/31/2019 22:13

    What about that flat earth map in the back?!!!

  • Zeniram Z.
    08/29/2019 20:33


  • Beltran P.
    08/28/2019 03:46

    So where is she now

  • Steve K.
    08/23/2019 19:04

    The little girl is wrong on so many levels

  • Enid P.
    08/21/2019 17:05

    Ese discurso fue hace 27 años y que poco hemos avanzado y que mucho nos falta por hacer.

  • Amanda L.
    08/20/2019 22:11


  • Alexy W.
    08/16/2019 03:52

    Make me feel bad hearing this speech

  • Harry F.
    08/13/2019 15:02

    WaaaaW what a massege.if we can only do.and not say. lets wake up .is no to late.Paz Universal.

  • Agi A.
    08/06/2019 04:28

    this !!!

  • Lissa J.
    08/03/2019 05:19

    That's a very passionate & truthful speech. I fully support her. And I'm sorry I believe this young lady wrote this herself. Never underestimate our young children.

  • Jacob C.
    08/01/2019 00:12

    Then we found out the ozone layer actually heals itself.

  • David I.
    07/30/2019 11:46

    Well said Greta Thunberg. I wish i was there to hug you for your"well said speech of mind"... So young and very well thoughtful... I wish "we"humans, can stop making things that are destroying, and killing our natural environments! Such's every living things...that "God"has provided...for a reason of any in such,as needed. People now a days , are bonded with so much of greeds,and high interests interests money.. Not much of care,valued anymore!...

  • Dave D.
    07/30/2019 01:24

    Human's can't control the climate!

  • Skye K.
    07/29/2019 22:33

    Remember she said this in 92.

  • Naynoshka C.
    07/28/2019 18:43

    Respect 👐🏻👐🏻👐🏻

  • Risniel P.
    07/28/2019 06:20


  • Joel T.
    07/27/2019 00:04

    Earth; " I can live without man but man can not live with out me", so why destruct me? For greed???

  • Lin H.
    07/26/2019 17:20


  • Steve S.
    07/25/2019 11:43

    And how much notice have the world leaders taken🤔none,things get worse year on year.How many wars have there been since 92?,how many animals have been brought to the edge of extinction,how many trees have been felled to make way for palm oil production.the world is run by mad,and ridiculously wealthy people that control the masses,you dont think youre being controlled,you are.