At the time, she was representing “a group of 12 and 13 year olds trying to make a difference” and I guess she did. She rememberably said: “I have no hidden agenda, I’m fighting for my future.” What happend to that girl?
Here you can watch her speech from 20 years ago:
Huff Post cites Severn 10 years ago saying: “I spoke for six minutes and received a standing ovation. Some of the delegates even cried. I thought that maybe I had reached some of them, that my speech might actually spur action. Now, a decade from Rio, after I’ve sat through many more conferences, I’m not sure what has been accomplished. My confidence in the people in power and in the power of an individual’s voice to reach them has been deeply shaken.”
What about today? 20 years after her famous speech? Here’s Severn Cullis-Suzuki’s “the future I want” speech:
“‘The young can’t wait’, she said then. But the young are still waiting. There have been many more words than actions these past 20 years. New institutions were created, including the Commission on Sustainable Development, the Inter-Agency Committee on Sustainable Development and the High-Level Advisory Board on Sustainable Development. Nevertheless, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) concluded in an analysis released last week that ‘the world continues to speed down an unsustainable path despite over 500 internationally agreed goals and objectives to support the sustainable management of the environment and improve human wellbeing.'”(Read the full Huff Post article here).
Now, 20 years later it seems as if history was repeating itself. We are again turning our heads in direction of Rio and with Brittany Trilford, we have another young voice for the future speaking up for us. How many more Severn Suzuki do we need? 20 years ago, Severn said: “we act as if we had all the time we want and all the solutions…”, aren’t we still doing that?
Huff Post’s William S. Becker believes: “the question is not whether youth will have a voice at Rio+10. They will. The question is whether the delegates will listen.