One child's voice speaks out to Copenhagen

A 12-year old addresses the world

A 12-year old addresses the world

As delegates from 192 nations around the world begin meetings in Copenhagen today, they would do well to remember the words of a child.In 1992, then 12-year old Severen Suzuki of the Environmental Organization (ECO) of Canada addressed the delegates of the UN Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) in Rio de Janeiro.

 

In a passionate speech, she presented an indictment and plea to the assembled delegates to remember why they were there.

Suzuki reminded them that in school, their children learned  to share, to clean up their messes, to work with others. She asked them why these were things they weren’t doing themselves. She painted a picture of a world where she was afraid of breathing the air, of drinking the water, of fishing with her father because the fish now had cancers.  

 

Ms. Suzuki today

Ms. Suzuki today

This young girl was eloquent and spoke in a way that left no room for misunderstanding. Delegates must act NOW. 

 

That was  17 years ago. Since then, more species have grown extinct while others are severely threatened. CO2 emissions have grown while Arctic ice shelves are crumbling and glaciers are rapidly disappearing.

With so many reports that the Copenhagen Summit won’t reach a binding agreement, the voice of this child – now a young woman – needs to be raised again in hopes that world leaders this time will pay attention, set aside agendas and biases, and ACT.

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