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
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  • Brut
    07/15/2019 18:32

    16-year-old Greta Thunberg has a message for the president on climate responsibility. The Swedish activist shared with Brut what she'd say to Trump — as well as her goal for saving the planet.

  • Richard E.
    07/15/2019 18:34


  • Candace B.
    07/15/2019 18:42


  • Candace B.
    07/15/2019 18:43

    I'm scared too.

  • Aitedriss A.
    07/16/2019 15:49

    really was the most powerful speech i have seen . the first time i saw this speech was in 2008

  • Leonil F.
    07/17/2019 21:50

    Awesome girl

  • Glenn C.
    07/18/2019 01:38

    This child is a gift for us ALL, her words are heart felt, and sadly the truth, shame on us ALL.

  • جمال ا.
    07/18/2019 10:07


  • Jesse C.
    07/18/2019 12:46

    Good speech

  • TadzMahal H.
    07/19/2019 03:50

    Good sound girl 👏👏✌

  • Kevin M.
    07/19/2019 17:52

    out of the mouth of a child. God help us.

  • Kailchev Y.
    07/20/2019 03:31

    Everything is in the revelation and people who doesn't care about what god gave us is the people will make the end of the world.

  • Roxanne M.
    07/21/2019 05:59

    LORD GOD the creator of the heaven and earth, change your world! Eliminate all evil please. LORD God please let your Kingdom come and thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven forever! Praise you Jehovah God forever! AMEN!

  • Ary D.
    07/22/2019 23:20


  • Frank A.
    07/24/2019 00:38

    I cry hearing this but I saw no one else she'd a tear. Wao Greta I hope it's not to late.

  • Deondra H.
    07/24/2019 10:24

    As long as easu running the world it's going to stay this way.

  • James T.
    07/26/2019 20:15

    That was a powerful speech by that young child but the adult didn't hear her or should I say they cared less

  • JamesnNina T.
    07/27/2019 01:39

    "Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings hast thou ordained strength".

  • Daniel P.
    07/28/2019 06:20


  • Naynoshka C.
    07/28/2019 18:43

    Respect 👐🏻👐🏻👐🏻