May 23, 2008

The Girl Who Shocked the United Nations

In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities, in the expert’s mind there are few.”

—Shunryu Suzuki

Born and raised in Vancouver, Canada, Severn Cullis-Suzuki has been working on environmental and social justice issues since kindergarten. At age 9, she and some friends started the Environmental Children's Organization (ECO), a small group of children committed to learning and teaching other kids about environmental issues.

In 1992 they raised their own money and traveled to the UN Earth Summit, in Brazil where then 12 year-old Severn gave the following powerful speech that deeply affected (and silenced) some of the most prominent world leaders. The speech had such an impact that she has become a frequent invitee to speak at important U.N. conferences.

Her words and passion are as relevant today - perhaps even more so - as they were 16 years ago.

Born to writer Tara Elizabeth Cullis and Canadian geneticist and environmental activist David Suzuki, Severn Cullis-Suzuki received a B.Sc. in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology from Yale University in 2002. She continues to speak out around the world about environmental issues, urging listeners to define their values, act with the future in mind, and take individual responsibility.

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