Severn Suzuki: The Little Girl who Roared

When we were still little, more often than not, we were told that we were too young, too idealistic, too [fill in the blanks] to deal with the harshness of the real world. But then again… if not now, then when? We were also taught not to speak unless spoken too… that adults knew what was best.

I admire the parents of Severn for fostering her environmental and social awareness and raising her to be unafraid to speak her mind. In her speech at the 1992 Rio Earth Summit, she blasted the adults, telling them bluntly: “In school 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? You grownups say you love us, but I challenge you, please, to make your actions reflect your words.” She was only 12.

10 year later, a slightly disillusioned Severn told Time Magazine that “as a young adult, I’m learning that as we have to make choices—education, career, lifestyle—life gets more and more complicated. We are beginning to feel pressure to produce and be successful. We are learning a shortsighted way of looking at the future, focusing on four-year government terms and quarterly business reports. We are taught that economic growth is progress, but we aren’t taught how to pursue a happy, healthy or sustainable way of living. And we are learning that what we wanted for our future when we were 12 was idealistic and naive.”

Can one person make a huge difference? Maybe not. But collectively, maybe we can. I agree that we each have to make an conscious effort to remain connected to the natural world. “Real environmental change depends on us. We can’t wait for our leaders. We have to focus on what our own responsibilities are and how we can make the change happen.

Be the change that you want to see in the world.  Teach your children to be the same.

Related posts:

Love Mother Earth and save money too

We are what we do. Be the change you want to see.

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Motherhood has a very humanizing effect. Everything gets reduced to essentials. ~Meryl Streep

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