Twenty years after Rio, Severn Cullis-Suzuki looks at state of the Earth | Notes from the Panther Lounge | David Suzuki Foundation

By Rachelle Delaney, Editorial production coordinator

Had world leaders paid more attention to a young Severn Cullis-Suzuki when she spoke at the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro almost 20 years ago, we might not be in such a state today. Recently, Cullis-Suzuki took to the stage again—this time at the Planetworkshops' Global Conference in Evian, France—to share her thoughts on the state of the planet in advance of next year's Rio + 20 conference.

Cullis-Suzuki, a David Suzuki Foundation board member and ecologist who stunned delegates with her moving speech at the Earth Summit when she was just 12, spoke of how the ground-breaking agreements made in 1992 were followed by years of inaction.

"The work we must do today is far greater than had we taken action back then," she told the conference. "Today's inaction saddles the future with a greater burden. This is intergenerational crime."

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Her poignant speech this year reminded attendees that humans are not exempt from the limits of the planet, and that we must "connect cause and effect" to understand the consequences of our actions.

The Planetworkshops is a sustainable development think tank that brings people together to develop solutions to social, environmental, cultural and economic issues. Its annual Global Conference attracts politicians, scientists, economists, nonprofits, religious leaders and media from all over the world. This year's delegates included Nobel Prize winner Mohammad Yunus, Prince Albert II of Monaco and Paul Watson of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society.

You can watch the full version of Cullis-Suzuki's keynote speech on the Planet Workshops's website.

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October 13, 2011
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