Cycling and green transport, Event, Food & sustainable production, general, Health

30 years before Greta –

As predicted extremes in temperature arrive earlier than expected.
30 years ago, before Greta and Extintion Rebellion hit the headlines, there was the speech of Severn Cullis-Suzuki.

Severn Cullis-Suzuki’s made this speech to the UN in 1992. Its now close to 50 years since the first alarm bells were rung regarding the risks of climate change.

Nearly 30 years ago, before the rise of teen climate activist Greta Thunberg, another young girl took the podium at the United Nations to admonish world leaders for their inaction on environmental issues.
It was 1992 and Severn Cullis-Suzuki, daughter of Canadian environmentalist David Suzuki, was addressing the plenary session of the UN Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro.

Severn, along with other members of a group she had founded called the Environmental Children’s Organisation, had raised money “to come 5000 miles to tell you adults you must change your ways”.

“I am 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 of telling the world how I feel. In my country we make so much waste, we buy and throw away, 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 let go of some of our wealth.

“In Canada, we live the privileged life with plenty of food, water and shelter. We have watches, bicycles, computers and television sets, the list could go on for two days. Two days ago here in Brazil we were shocked when we spent time with some children living on the streets. 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, medicines, shelter, and love and affection.’ If a child on the streets who has nothing is willing to share, why are we who have everything still so greedy?

“I can’t stop thinking that these are children my own age, that it makes a tremendous difference where you are born, that I could be one of those children living in the favelas of Rio, I could be a child starving in Somalia or a victim of war in the Middle East or a beggar in India. I am only a child yet I know if all the money spent on war was spent on finding environmental answers, ending poverty and finding treaties, what a wonderful place this earth would be.

“At school, even in kindergarten, you teach us how 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 are attending these conferences, who you are doing this for. We are your own children. You are deciding what kind of a world we are growing up in.

“Parents should be able to comfort their children by saying, ‘Everything’s going to be all right, it’s not the end of the world, and we’re doing the best we can’. But I don’t think you can say that to us anymore. Are we even on your list of priorities? My dad 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, but I challenge you, please, make your actions reflect your words. Thank you.”

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