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


  • Anjolina R.
    01/05/2021 06:20

    It is quite shocking to see that speech and realize that the issues we face today are not new.

  • Robelyn P.
    12/11/2020 05:59

    I feel how environment very important to us all living things and non living things in this earth we have to sustainability the nature so that future generations can see and benefit the nature, I feel the anger of every part of what she speaks because all professionals,powerful persons in this world are all blind to see what is happening to our environment they are all always thought how to be powerful compete how to survived and also afraid to let go their wealth in this earth even though they are hurting and breaking nature things who cannot speak that can all want is to live and also can do is to give support on this earth.So we have listen of this she is speaks and open our eyes to do what is right not wrong because it is the reality ,make our best to respect and treasure nature because we don't have another one if we loss our nature and also before saying the right make sure you do it too.

  • Ken A.
    09/30/2019 17:47

    Awe come on guys this bs was 30 years ago.

  • Maryha C.
    09/25/2019 18:28


  • Cuben R.
    08/31/2019 22:13

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

  • William R.
    08/31/2019 13:00

    Its been 22 years and we are still here

  • Ya'Hakeem M.
    08/31/2019 06:36

    In a nutshell we all need to become scientists again... studying Cell Biology we will begin to understand once again...

  • Mike G.
    08/31/2019 03:19

    The Earth is the Earth there is nothing we are doing to change its effects. Every time a volcano erupts it emits some very dangerous very bad chemicals into the air nothing compared to what we do just driving on cars. The Earth is it been here for billions of years and it will continue to do its own thing. We are not responible for climate change !!

  • Zeniram Z.
    08/29/2019 20:33


  • Raquel R.
    08/28/2019 13:41


  • Lovis M.
    08/28/2019 03:56

    F / b blocked another and a another why!

  • Beltran P.
    08/28/2019 03:46

    So where is she now

  • William B.
    08/27/2019 11:59

    Everytime I hear this speech I cry

  • Wilmary G.
    08/27/2019 02:04

    UFFFF brillante

  • Nathaniel A.
    08/26/2019 23:23

    A beautiful rendition of the truth about the country we are living in.

  • Victor I.
    08/25/2019 17:27

    So true

  • Alexander S.
    08/25/2019 17:16

    And we are still doing nothing to make any real changes to our world. Greed will kill us all

  • Ray B.
    08/25/2019 11:55

    And the world got worse after she spoke

  • Forrest S.
    08/24/2019 00:43

    It's amazing how people don't realize the problem is over population. Less people, less pollution. You can't keep over populating the world and think you're going to stop inflicting damage to our planet. It's simple supply and demand.

  • Steve K.
    08/23/2019 19:04

    The little girl is wrong on so many levels

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