Hello! I am Severn Suzuki speaking for ECO, the Environmental Children‟s Organization; we‟re a
group of 12 and 13 year olds trying to make a difference. Venesse Suttie, Mongan Geisler Michelle Quige and me. We‟ve raised all the money to come here ourselves, to come 5000 miles to tell you adults you must change your ways.
Coming up here today I have no hidden agenda, I‟m fighting for my future. Losing my future is not
like losing election or a few points on the stock market. I‟m here to speak for all generations to come,
I‟m here to speak on behalf of the starving children around the world whose cries go unheard; I‟m here
to speak for the conflicts animals dying across this planet because they have nowhere left to go.
I am afraid to go out in the sun now, because of the holes in our 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, my home with my Dad until just a few years ago we found the fish full of cancers. And now we hear of animals and plants go extinct everyday vanishing forever. In my life I„ve dreamt of seeing great herds of wild animals, jungles and rainforests full of birds and butterflies, but now I wonder if they will even exist for my children to see.
Did you have the worry of these things when you were my age? All this is happening before our eyes and yet we act as if we have all the time we want and all the solution. I am only a child and I don‟t
have all the solutions, but I‟d like you to realize, neither do you.
You don‟t know how to fix the holes in the ozone layer.
You don‟t know how to bring the salmons back up a dead stream.
You don‟t know how to bring back an animal now extinct. And you can‟t bring back the forest that
once grew but there is now desert. If you don‟t know how to fix it, please stop breaking it.
Here you maybe delegates of your governments, business people, organizers, reporters or politicians, but really you‟re mothers and fathers, sisters and brothers, aunts and uncles and all of you, are someone‟s child.
I‟m only a child yet I know we are all part of a family five billions strong in fact 30 million species strong, and borders and governments 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 one single goal. In my anger I‟m not blind, and in my fear I am not afraid of telling the world how I feel. In my country we make so much waste we buy and throw away, buy and throw away, buy and throw away, and yet northern countries will not share with the needy even if we have more than enough we are afraid to share, we are afraid to let go of some of our wealth.
In Canada we live a privileged life, we‟ve plenty of food, water and shelters, we have watches,
bicycles, computers and television sets the list could go on for two days. Two days ago here in Brazil we were shocked when we spent time with some children living on the street. 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, medicines, shelter, and love and affection. If a child on the street who had nothing is willing to share, why are we who have everything still so greedy? I can‟t stop thinking that these are children my own age; that it makes a
tremendous difference where you were born, that I could be one of those children living in Favelas de Rio. I could be a child starving in Somalia, or a victim of war in the Middle East or a beggar in India. I am only a child yet I know if all the money spent on war will spend on finding environmental answers and in poverty, and finding treaties what a wonderful place this world will be? At school, even in kindergarten, you teach us how to behave in our world, you teach us to 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 to be greedy. Then why do you go out and do the things you tell us not to do?
Do not forget why you are attending these conferences?
Who you are doing this for? We are you own children. You are deciding what kind of the world we are growing up in. Parents should be able to comfort their children by saying “everything‟s going to be
all right. It‟s not he end of the world. And we are doing the best we can”. But I don‟t think you can say
that to us any more. Are we even on your list of priorities? My Dad always says “you are what you do,
not what you say”. Well, what you do makes me cry at night, you grownups saying love us, but I challenge you. please make you actions reflect your words.