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The girl who silenced the world for 6 minutes


“We need to preserve this planet for us, and our children’s sake. We need to work together, and help each other, we are all on this planet together, and what affects one has an effect on the other. If our governments can find money for wars, then why can’t they invest in conservation, environmental issues, feed the hungry, and share with the poor?”

These were words said by a young girl who brought a UN summit to a standstill, the room was an environmental conference that was held 23 years ago.

In 1992, 12-year-old Canadian Severn Cullis-Suzuki spoke at the Earth Summit in Rio. With passion and eloquence, she addressed the crowd that was comprised of politicians, journalists, parents and others bringing the point forward that they were not only protecting the earth for just themselves but for the future generations. Severn gave a moving speech getting a standing ovation.

Now known as “The Girl Who Silenced the World for 6 Minutes”, the YouTube clip still as fresh as it was 23 years ago, making rounds and still making her famous and most of all her point still brought forward and making the earth re-think about the environment.

Suzuki, a daughter of a well-known environmentalist, is now a Yale graduate who works for a television station. Her message was well put across and understood by all age groups that may have been listening to her or yet to listen to her. She was teaching the people around her all about the environment and the importance to preserve it.

This young lady and her three friends formed the group ECO (Environmental Children’s Organization) and raised money to travel from Vancouver, British Columbia to Rio to attend the summit. In this six minutes speech this young girl expressed her fears to the delegates in the room. Many of which said it was the best speech they had ever heard over the years especially coming from a child. They added that it was good to hear from the youth and they thought many should give them an ear.

Nearly two decades later, that speech still has an impact on many people. She still hopes to raise awareness, evoke change and see the world recommit to a sustainable future. This should be a challenge to all of us, a project that we should all join together and work upon. It does not matter what part of the world one is from environmental conversation is important for both plants and animals across. Want to live longer, want a good life for your children and the ones to come, well it all begins with you. Take the challenge and conserve the earth.

By Bernice Thuo

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