In this video, environmental activist Severn Cullis-Suzuki speaks about the urgency for global leaders to take action on climate change.
The video features footage from a speech that Cullis-Suzuki gave to the United Nations in 1992 when she was twelve years old.
Severn Cullis-Suzuki makes the case that our current political systems incentivize the short-term interests of individuals instead of the long-term interests of future generations.
Cullis-Suzuki's speech from when she was twelve is inspiring, relevant, and can be used as a model for students writing speeches or persuasive arguments.
A full transcript of the video is available in twenty-one languages.
Students should understand ways that governments mobilized quickly during the COVID-19 pandemic to support the public.
Students should understand how business interests can conflict with the public good, especially regarding the climate crisis.
Students could write speeches addressing global leaders to encourage them to take immediate climate action.
Students could write reflections on their beliefs on climate change and their actions. Students could include specific examples of how they succeeded in living up to their values and ways they could improve.
Other resources on this topic include this video of Greta Thunberg's speech at the UN Climate Action Summit and this video of climate activist Xiye Bastida reading a letter to older generations about climate action.
Nearly 30 years ago, Severn Cullis-Suzuki stood in front of the United Nations and demanded they take action on climate change. Today, she is doing the same thing. While there is no science in this video to verify, it is an important message. This resource is recommended for teaching.
College, Career, and Civic Life (C3) Standards
Dimension 2: Civics
D2.Civ.1.6-8 Distinguish the powers and responsibilities of citizens, political parties, interest groups, and the media in a variety of governmental and nongovernmental contexts.
D2.Civ.3.6-8 Examine the origins, purposes, and impact of constitutions, laws, treaties, and international agreements.
D2.Civ.10.3-5 Identify the beliefs, experiences, perspectives, and values that underlie their own and others' points of view about civic issues.
D2.Civ.1.9-12 Distinguish the powers and responsibilities of local, state, tribal, national, and international civic and political institutions.
D2.Civ.5.9-12 Evaluate citizens' and institutions' effectiveness in addressing social and political problems at the local, state, tribal, national, and/or international level.
Dimension 4: Taking Informed Action
D4.7.9-12 Assess options for individual and collective action to address local, regional, and global problems by engaging in self-reflection, strategy identification, and complex causal reasoning.
Common Core English Language Arts Standards (CCSS.ELA)
Speaking & Listening (K-12)
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.7.2 Analyze the main ideas and supporting details presented in diverse media and formats (e.g., visually, quantitatively, orally) and explain how the ideas clarify a topic, text, or issue under study.