Severn Cullis-Suzuki

Severn Cullis-Suzuki (born 30 November 1979) is a Canadian environmental activist, speaker, television host, and author. She has spoken around the world about environmental issues, urging listeners to define their values, act with the future in mind, and take individual responsibility. She is the daughter of Canadian environmentalist David Suzuki.

Severn Suzuki
Cullis-Suzuki speaking at the University of Alberta in October 2006
Cullis-Suzuki speaking at the University of Alberta in October 2006
Born (1979-11-30) 30 November 1979 (age 41)
Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
OccupationEnvironmental activist, speaker, television host, author
Alma materYale University
Notable worksHonoured in the United Nations Environment Programme's Global 500 Roll of Honour.


Severn Cullis-Suzuki was born and raised in Vancouver, British Columbia.[1] Her mother is writer Tara Elizabeth Cullis. Her father, geneticist and environmental activist David Suzuki,[2] is a third-generation Japanese Canadian.[3] While attending Lord Tennyson Elementary School in French Immersion, at age 9, she founded the Environmental Children's Organization (ECO), a group of children dedicated to learning and teaching other youngsters about environmental issues.[4] In 1992, at age 12, Cullis-Suzuki raised money with members of ECO to attend the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro. Along with group members Michelle Quigg, Vanessa Suttie, and Morgan Geisler, Cullis-Suzuki presented environmental issues from a youth perspective at the summit, where she was applauded for a speech to the delegates.[5][6] The video has since become a viral hit, popularly known as "The Girl Who Silenced the World for 5 Minutes".[7] In her 1992 speech, she said: “I am afraid to go out in the sun now because of the hole in our ozone. I am afraid to breathe the air because I don’t know what chemicals are in it."[8] She is related to two NHL players, Nick Suzuki of the Montreal Canadiens and Ryan Suzuki of the Carolina Hurricanes.

In 1993, she was honored in the United Nations Environment Programme's Global 500 Roll of Honour.[9] In 1993, Doubleday published her book Tell the World, a 32-page book of environmental steps for families.

Cullis-Suzuki graduated from Yale University in 2002 with a B.S. in ecology and evolutionary biology.[4] After Yale, Cullis-Suzuki spent two years traveling. Cullis-Suzuki co-hosted Suzuki's Nature Quest, a children's television series that aired on Discovery Kids in 2002.

In early 2002, she helped launch an Internet-based think tank called The Skyfish Project.[10][3] As a member of Kofi Annan's Special Advisory Panel, she and members of the Skyfish Project brought their first project, a pledge called the "Recognition of Responsibility", to the World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg in August 2002.[4] The Skyfish Project disbanded in 2004 as Cullis-Suzuki turned her focus back to school. She enrolled in a graduate program at the University of Victoria to study ethnobotany under Nancy Turner, finishing in 2007.[10]

In 2008, Cullis-Suzuki married Judson Brown, a member of the Haida tribe.[11][12] She lives with her husband and two sons in Haida Gwaii, British Columbia.[13][14][15]

Cullis-Suzuki is the main character in the documentary film Severn, the Voice of Our Children, directed by Jean-Paul Jaud and released theatrically in France on November 10, 2010.

Cullis-Suzuki is an Earth Charter International Council Member.

See alsoEdit

  • Greta Thunberg – as a minor is also notable as an environmental activist since 2018
  • Rachel Parent - activist who challenges Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) in food


  1. ^ "BC Author Bank: Cullis-Suzuki, Severn". ABCBookWorld. Retrieved 2008-06-06.
  2. ^ Fernandes, Cesil (2012-05-29). "'Rio girl' Severn Cullis-Suzuki 20 years on". Retrieved 2021-09-11.
  3. ^ a b Scott, Julia (2004) [December 2003]. "Earth pioneer – Severn Cullis-Suzuki spreads the word on sustainability". Collage. The Collage Foundation Inc. Archived from the original on 2008-05-23. Retrieved 2008-06-06.
  4. ^ a b c "Severn Cullis-Suzuki". Speakers' Spotlight. Archived from the original on 2008-05-21. Retrieved 2008-06-06.
  5. ^ Cullis-Suzuki, Severn (June 1992). "Address to the Plenary Session, Earth Summit". The Sloth Club. Archived from the original on 2008-05-17. Retrieved 2008-06-06.
  6. ^ Cullis-Suzuki, Severn (2002-08-18). "The Young Can't Wait". Time. Archived from the original on 2011-02-04. Retrieved 2008-06-06.
  7. ^ "The Girl Who Silenced the World for 5 Minutes". Retrieved 2011-12-05.
  8. ^ Nearly 30 years before Greta Thunberg, a 12-year-old girl shamed world leaders at the United Nations
  9. ^ Maybaum, Mary Ann (2004-05-01). "UNEP Global 500 Laureates – Award Winners". United Nations Environment Program. Archived from the original on 2009-01-26. Retrieved 2008-06-06.
  10. ^ a b Suzuki, David (2006). David Suzuki: The Autobiography. Canada: Greystone Books. ISBN 1-55365-156-1.
  11. ^ Hampson, Sarah (2007-07-09). "Born green". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved 2021-10-29.
  12. ^ "A Fine Balance". Earth Island Journal. Retrieved 2021-10-29.
  13. ^ "bio". Severn Cullis-Suzuki. 2019-07-11. Retrieved 2021-10-29.
  14. ^ "Severn Cullis-Suzuki to become executive director of David Suzuki Foundation". The Georgia Straight. 2020-11-09. Retrieved 2021-10-29.
  15. ^ "Quarantine as Ceremony: COVID-19 as an Opportunity to Quietly Rebel against the Dominant Langscape". Terralingua. Retrieved 2021-10-29.

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