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Severn Cullis-Suzuki  

Environmental Activist

Severn Cullis-Suzuki has been active in environmental and social justice work since kindergarten. At age 9, after witnessing burning in the Brazilian Amazon on a trip with her family, she started the Environmental Children's Organization with her grade 5 friends. ECO was committed to learning and teaching other kids about environmental issues. Eventually they were successful in raising enough money to appear at 1992's Rio Earth Summit, when 12-year-old Severn delivered a powerful speech at a plenary session that gained worldwide attention. For this, she received the UN Environment Program's Global 500 Award in 1993. Since then, Severn has spoken worldwide on social and ecological issues, on climate change, and intergenerational injustice.

Severn is proud of her work on the UN's Earth Charter Commission, and participation on UN Secretary General Kofi Annan's Special Advisory Panel for the World Summit on Sustainable Development in 2002 in Johannesburg, South Africa. At this Summit Severn brought a pledge called the Recognition of Responsibility, a declaration from students in Canada and the US. The trip also was the subject of a documentary film that aired on CBC's long-running documentary series The Nature of Things.

Severn uses many ways to get her message out. She hosted a children's TV series called Suzuki's Naturequest, and co-edited the book Notes from Canada's Young Activists. She currently sits on BC's Citizen's Conservation Council on Climate Change, and the board of the David Suzuki Foundation. She has a Bachelor of Science in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology from Yale University, and recently, a Masters in Ethnobotany from the University of Victoria, British Columbia, studying with Kwakwaka'wakw elders on the West coast. She hopes her pursuit of traditional and scientific knowledge will help her mandate of promoting a culture of diversity, sustainability and joy.

Severn now lives on the islands of Haida Gwaii.

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