Why we admire ‘the girl who silenced the world’

In celebration of World Environment Day, we’re shining the spotlight on an inspiring woman speaking out to protect the earth: Severn Cullis-Suzuki.

Daughter of famous environmental activist, David Suzuki, Severn captured the world’s attention in 1992 with her speech to the United Nations at the Rio Earth Summit. At just 12-years-old, she boldly called on the adults of the world to take action and preserve the earth for all generations to come – earning her the title, ‘the girl who silenced the world for 6 minutes’!

Since then, she has continued to use her voice within Canada and on the global stage to help raise awareness about environmental issues. In 2012, she returned to Rio de Janeiro for the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development to highlight the global successes and failures made in the 20 years since her original plea for action.

As a mother of two, she’s now fighting for her children’s future and urging us to do the same. She challenges people to redefine their values, act with the future in mind and take individual responsibility for actions impacting the environment. And we couldn’t agree more!

In developing countries, like Bangladesh and Indonesia, the changing environment and climate change is impacting the lives of girls, their families and entire communities. To combat these environmental effects, Plan works with community members to plant trees, reduce waste and implement disaster preparedness programs. With Plan’s support, girls and boys in communities around the world are standing up and fighting for their environment.

John Englart / CC BY-SA 2.0

John Englart / CC BY-SA 2.0

So, what are YOU doing here in Canada? Drawing from Severn’s inspiring work, here’s how you can turn her messages into action and help protect the planet:

Redefine your values

Make the environment a priority in your life. We only have one earth, so we have to do our best to protect it. It’s not enough for one person, like Severn, to champion this cause – we all have to see our planet for its value.

Act with the future in mind

Will the parks, rivers and forests you love so much still be around for your children to enjoy? Remember, our actions today will impact the next generation. So, let’s leave behind a world that we would be proud to call home!

Timothy Takemoto / CC BY-SA 2.0

Timothy Takemoto / CC BY-SA 2.0

Take individual responsibility

There are simple things that we can do in our daily lives that will over time have a huge impact! Take responsibility for your actions and make an effort to decrease the amount of waste, pollution or energy consumption.

Here are a few ideas:

  • Use a reusable water bottle or travel tumbler for your hot drinks.
  • Recycle plastic bottles, newspaper and aluminum cans. If you’re out and can’t find a recycling bin nearby, rather than tossing your recyclable into a garbage bin, hold on to it until you find somewhere to properly dispose of it.
  • Use a reusable bag for all your shopping needs – not just your groceries, but when you’re at the mall too.
  • Raise your voice! Get your friends, family, school or workplace to champion environmental causes too.

Tell us how YOU’RE going to take action to protect the environment!