The following is the transcript of the speech that Severn Suzuki gave to the Plenary Session at the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio Centro, Brazil. Severn was twelve years old. SASS feels there is no better example of a young person standing up and speaking on behalf of something in which they truly believe, for the betterment of themselves and the world around them.
Hello, I’m Severn Suzuki speaking for E.C.O. – The Environmental Children’s Organisation.
We are a group of twelve and thirteen-year-olds from Canada trying to make a difference:
Vanessa Suttie, Morgan Geisler, Michelle Quigg 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 agenda. 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 on behalf of the starving children around the world whose cries go unheard.
I am here to speak for the 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 now 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 every day — vanishing forever.
In my life, I have dreamt of seeing the great herds of wild animals, jungles and rainforests full of birds and butterfilies, but now I wonder if they will even exist for my children to see.
Did you have to worry about these little 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 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 back 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 governments, business people, organisers, reporters or poiticians – but really you are mothers and fathers, brothers and sister, 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 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 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 some of our wealth, afraid to share.
In Canada, we live the privileged 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 some 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 and love and affection.”
If a child on the street who has nothing, is willing to share, why are we who have everyting 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 environmental answers, what a wonderful place this earth would be!
At school, even in kindergarten, you teach us 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 “everyting’s going to be alright”, “we’re doing the best we can” and “it’s not the 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
Stand By My Belief
I am not bound to win; but I am bound to be true.
I am not bound to succeed; but I am bound to live by the light that I have.
I must stand with anybody who stands right;
Stand with him while he is right; Part with him when he goes wrong.
I will stand by my belief. Always.
After having a good 6 hours sleep, the first thing I was looking for on my bed was my cell phone as always, worrying about being late from Office, 7:00 am – Thanks God , so I did not miss alarm set at 7:30 am. Here I was having half hour, nothing to do but to press my clothes and getting ready for office. Thanks to cell phone’s SMS preview option, the Facebook status of a friend caught my eye. it says “What!? Steve Jobs ?”. I felt good… felt like I am loaded with energies, It was as good as you see an emerging beam of light after decades of darkness….I mean it was so good to read the name…“Steve Jobs”.
Surrounded with the bright light, some random thoughts also stuck my head…
“Did Steve criticize the launch of IPhone 4S , in spite of IPhone 5?”
“ Has he taken back his resignation and is appointed as CEO Apple once again?”
well whatever… I was happy to read his name and that’s it…
On the way to office, nothing else but “Steve Jobs” was on my mind…His Commencement address at Stanford University (2005) ,The Company he founded, was fired from and to whom he returned as CEO and turned it into world’s leading tech giant…
& His famous quote
“You know, I’ve got a plan that could rescue Apple. I can’t say any more than that it’s the perfect product and the perfect strategy for Apple. But nobody there will listen to me.”(1995)
& The words of John Sculley ( the guy who fired Steve from Apple)
“I haven’t spoken to Steve in 20-odd years, even though he still doesn’t speak to me, and I expect he never will, I have tremendous admiration for him.”
& his response when fired from Apple:
“I didn’t see it then but it turned out that getting fired from Apple was the best thing that could have ever happened to me.The heaviness of being successful was replaced by the lightness of being a beginner again,less sure about everything.It freed me to enter one of the most creative period of my life.”
Reached office, heard a sad Assalam o Allaikum (Hello) from colleague sitting next to my cabin, the Steve’s thought gone for a second and I was thinking about the Sad greeting that used to be a very warm one everyday...”Wa elekum Salam” , I replied…and the next lines of him amazed me.. “Did you hear about Steve Jobs..The apple CEO” (No one says Former CEO)…oh my God..! Something big has happened that relates to Steve…My sixth sense whispered..“No …!What happened” I was too keen to know…“He died……………!” was the reply...”Are u kidding me..?” is what i was going to ask, but could not …“He died few hours ago..what a nice person he was..Man with power of Leadership…believe and optimisim…” He continued..
My goodness…I was speechless…
The 7 am time check, the Facebook status of Tauseef….the refreshing light i felt within myself…18 Km traveled distance with thougts of Steve Jobs…everything was running like a video in my mind…I was still not ready to accept it..rather my heart wasn’t…
And finally I have to believe it ….as I logged into BBC News…Yahoo News…He was everywhere….on news, search engines, social networks…He was everywhere too, when Apple launched first PC, IPhones.. IPads…and probabaly sum other products as well…He was everywhere when Apples shares were down by almost US $ 80 when he went on sick leave…When he resigned as a CEO and now when………..he is no more with us…that was shocking….
Every guy entering office was talking about his death…and with words of praise…to my amazement most of them never used any Apple product…yet the words of praise were remarkable…
I,myself have never used any Apple product…probably never liked any as well…but I admired the Founder..who gave the world a reason for self belief…motivation and understanding the value of creativity..Who taught us not to live with the fear of Failure…Who was a great Leader, Mentor and Teacher.He showed us to live each day at its best…
The last post of this blog was written on the day…He resigned..was not expecting to write another one…on this occasion…
Today I & the world lost the most inspiring person of the Era….Rest in Peace…We will Miss you…
I almost gave in. I almost lost.
This day almost got to me.
Into the air my hands I tossed.
Almost walked away. Almost Cried.
Almost threw caution into the wind.
Happiness for myself, I almost denied.
I felt a brush of love against my face.
Wings wrapped around me in a warm embrace.
I heard a whisper into my ear…
“Don’t you ever give up, I’m right here.”
THE ART OF GIVING
We give of ourselves when we give gifts of the heart:
love, kindness, joy, understanding,sympathy, tolerance, forgiveness.
We give of ourselves when we give gifts of the mind:
ideas, dreams, purposes, ideals,principles, plans, inventions, projects, poetry.
We give of ourselves when we give gifts of the spirit:
prayer, vision, beauty, aspiration,peace, faith.
We give of ourselves when we give the gift of words:
encouragement, inspiration, guidance.
Emerson said it well:
“Rings and jewels are not gifts,but apologies for gifts.The only true gift isa portion of thyself.”
FROM THE ART OF LIVING BY WILFERD A. PETERSON
The Road not Taken
by Robert Frost
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood
and sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveller, long I stood
and looked down one as far as I could
to where it bent in the undergrowth;
Then took the other, as just as fair,
and having perhaps the better claim
because it was grassy and wanted wear;
though as for that, the passing there
had worn them really about the same,
And both that morning equally lay
in leaves no feet had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I —
I took the one less travelled by,
and that has made all the difference
A blind man had been waiting a while at a busy road for someone to offer to guide him across, when he felt a tap on his shoulder. “Excuse me,” said the tapper, “I’m blind – would you mind guiding me across the road?”The first blind man took the arm of the second blind man, and they both crossed the road.
Apparently this is a true story. The first blind man was the jazz pianist George Shearing. He is quoted (in Bartlett’s Anecdotes) as saying after the event, “What could I do? I took him across and it was the biggest thrill of my life.”
There are times when we think we cannot do something and so do not stretch or take a risk. Being forced to stretch and take a risk can often help us to reduce our dependencies (on others, or our own personal safety mechanisms), and to discover new excitement and capabilities.
Come to the edge.
We might fall.
Come to the edge.
It’s too high!
COME TO THE EDGE!
And they came,
and he pushed,
and they flew…!
Poem by:Christopher Logue