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Is Earth on your priority list?

Show me your schedule and I’ll discover the truth of what your priority is. Because your schedule doesn’t lie.”

                                                                                                          -Robin Sharma

We go about our days, weeks and years scheduling a number of things, holidays with the family, lunches with bosses, dinners with friends and colleagues, parent–teacher meetings, concerts, hobby classes and so on, all of which are important no doubt.

We want to leave a good legacy for our children, but mostly think of it in financial or educational terms. How many of us want to leave them a legacy of a beautiful earth with abundant resources and a quality of life that surpasses ours. Most of us probably do…but do we really schedule this desire in our “to do” list, our list of priorities so that it gets done?

I think the Earth deserves our attention now more than ever before. We can leave the legacy we desire, if each of us give the planet some attention in our schedule, by setting aside time to read, time to analyse labels in our products, time to enquire where things come from and how they are made, time to cook fresh food, time to walk or cycle instead of drive, time to reflect on how our actions affect the wellbeing of the forests, the rivers and animals, wild and domesticated, time to “stand and stare.”

As Vandana Shiva, the noted physicist and activist says:

“I think the most important appointment we have is now with ourselves, with society, making sure that in our everyday actions, everywhere, we are exercising our ethics, we are exercising our freedom to make choices, we are exercising the choice of a world which is sustainable, in which the earth’s resources are shared , in which our wellbeing is at the core of kind of food we grow and eat, the education our children have and our healthcare.”

Who better than a child, the 12 year old Severn Suzuki, to rightfully question our priorities?

Here is the powerful speech made by her on June 11, 1992 at the Rio Earth Summit:

 

Severn’s speech is transcribed as below:

Hello, I’m Severn Suzuki speaking for E.C.O. – The Environmental Children’s Organisation.
We are a group of twelve and thirteen-year-olds from Canada trying to make a difference:
Vanessa Suttie, Morgan Geisler, Michelle Quigg and me. We raised all the money ourselves to come five thousand miles to tell you adults you must change your ways. Coming here today, I have no hidden agenda. I am fighting for my future.
Losing my future is not like losing an election or a few points on the stock market. I am here to speak for all generations to come.
I am here to speak on behalf of the starving children around the world whose cries go unheard.
I am here to speak for the countless animals dying across this planet because they have nowhere left to go. We cannot afford to be not heard.
I am afraid to go out in the sun now because of the holes in the ozone. I am afraid to breathe the air because I don’t know what chemicals are in it.
I used to go fishing in Vancouver with my dad until just a few years ago we found the fish full of cancers. And now we hear about animals and plants going exinct every day — vanishing forever.
In my life, I have dreamt of seeing the great herds of wild animals, jungles and rainforests full of birds and butterfilies, but now I wonder if they will even exist for my children to see.
Did you have to worry about these little things when you were my age?
All this is happening before our eyes and yet we act as if we have all the time we want and all the solutions. I’m only a child and I don’t have all the solutions, but I want you to realise, neither do you!
* You don’t know how to fix the holes in our ozone layer.
* You don’t know how to bring salmon back up a dead stream.
* You don’t know how to bring back an animal now extinct.
* And you can’t bring back forests that once grew where there is now desert.
If you don’t know how to fix it, please stop breaking it!
Here, you may be delegates of your governments, business people, organisers, reporters or poiticians – but really you are mothers and fathers, brothers and sister, aunts and uncles – and all of you are somebody’s child.
I’m only a child yet I know we are all part of a family, five billion strong, in fact, 30 million species strong and we all share the same air, water and soil — borders and governments will never change that.
I’m only a child yet I know we are all in this together and should act as one single world towards one single goal.
In my anger, I am not blind, and in my fear, I am not afraid to tell the world how I feel.
In my country, we make so much waste, we buy and throw away, buy and throw away, and yet northern countries will not share with the needy. Even when we have more than enough, we are afraid to lose some of our wealth, afraid to share.
In Canada, we live the privileged life, with plenty of food, water and shelter — we have watches, bicycles, computers and television sets.
Two days ago here in Brazil, we were shocked when we spent some time with some children living on the streets. And this is what one child told us: “I wish I was rich and if I were, I would give all the street children food, clothes, medicine, shelter and love and affection.”
If a child on the street who has nothing, is willing to share, why are we who have everyting still so greedy?
I can’t stop thinking that these children are my age, that it makes a tremendous difference where you are born, that I could be one of those children living in the Favellas of Rio; I could be a child starving in Somalia; a victim of war in the Middle East or a beggar in India.
I’m only a child yet I know if all the money spent on war was spent on ending poverty and finding environmental answers, what a wonderful place this earth would be!
At school, even in kindergarten, you teach us to behave in the world. You teach us:
* not to fight with others,
* to work things out,
* to respect others,
* to clean up our mess,
* not to hurt other creatures
* to share – not be greedy.
Then why do you go out and do the things you tell us not to do?
Do not forget why you’re attending these conferences, who you’re doing this for — we are your own children. You are deciding what kind of world we will grow up in. Parents should be able to comfort their children by saying “everything’s going to be alright” , “we’re doing the best we can” and “it’s not the end of the world”.
But I don’t think you can say that to us anymore. Are we even on your list of priorities? My father always says “You are what you do, not what you say.”Well, what you do makes me cry at night. You grown ups say you love us. I challenge you, please make your actions reflect your words. Thank you for listening.

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Posted by on Feb 11 2009. Filed under Climate Change, Green Activism. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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