October 26, 2010
If you were given the chance to speak to policy-makers, what would you say?
Severn Suzuki was 13-years old when she spoke to the United Nations Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro in 1992. Her moving speech was only about five minutes long, but it has touched the hearts of millions.
Today she is an environmental activist, speaker, television host and author. As she has spoken around the world about the issues that will impact the younger generation, she urges listeners to define their values, to act with the future in mind, and to take responsibility for their actions.
While she went to the summit to encourage world leaders to change the way they made laws and treaties about the environment, she noted that “real change does not happen at international conferences.” These days it also doesn’t seem to happen in the halls of congress.
While this video is called “The Girl Who Silenced the World for Five Minutes” [she actually spoke for more than six-and-a-half minutes], and while Severn did, in fact, bring some of the participants of the summit to tears, not everyone in the world has listened. More than 3 million have viewed this video on YouTube, yet we still have not heeded the plea she made almost twenty years ago.
After you have watched this video, please continue reading for questions I would like you to consider.
What you would do if you had the chance to get the attention of the world for six-and-a-half minutes, or only five? What would you do? What would you say? Where would you say it?
As I think about how I would respond to these questions, I’m not certain that I have the eloquence of this young woman. I’m not certain I could convey my ideas well enough to capture everyone’s attention so they would actually stop and listen.
Yet on second thought, I like to believe that in some small way I might make a difference in the world with words I have spoken through my books, workshops, websites, articles, and even this blog. So when you read this, and other posts, I hope you will stop for a moment to read what I have said and consider whether the ideas have merit.
I certainly don’t believe my words are strong enough to change the world by themselves. I do believe, however, that when all of us express our hope for a better planet — through our separate actions and the words we express in our individual ways — together we can create the energy to really make a difference.
As we approach an election in less than a week, I hope that each of us will accept our responsibility not only to vote, but to act as an agent of change. The politicians don’t seem to be willing to pick up the ball and run with it. We’ll have to do that ourselves.
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Here are a some related posts from this blog, and articles from the Support4Change website: