We are what we do

United Nations conference on environment and development
Rio de Janeiro 3-14 June 1992

Severn Suzuki:

Coming up here today, I have no hidden agenda. I am fighting for my future.

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.

And now we hear of animals and plants going extinct, every day, vanishing forever. All this is happening before our eyes and yet we act as if we have all the time we want and all the solutions.

You don’t know how to fix the holes in our ozone layer.
You don’t know how to bring the salmon back up a dead stream.
You don’t know how to bring back an animal, now extinct.
And you can’t bring back the forests that once grew where there is now a desert.

If you don’t know how to fix it, please, stop breaking it.

I am only a child yet I know we are all in this together and should act as one single world towards one single goal.
If a child on the streets who has nothing is willing to share, why are we who have everything still so greedy.
I am only a child yet I know if all the money spent on war were spent on finding environmental answers, ending poverty, and finding treaties, what a wonderful place this Earth would be.

At school, even in kindergarten, you teach us how 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?

You are deciding what kind of a world we are growing up in. Parents should be able to comfort their children by saying: “Everything’s going to be alright,” “It’s not the end of the world,” and “We’re doing the best we can.” But I don’t think you can say that to us anymore. Are we even on your list of priorities?

My dad 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, but I challenge you, please: make your actions reflect your words.

Thank you.

The video clip and the text above are an extract from the final scene from ‘Arctic Death Spiral and the Methane Time Bomb’:


Many thanks to:
Peter Sinclair – Greenman Studios
David Suzuki – David Suzuki Foundation
Dr. Guy McPherson – Professor Emeritus University of Arizona
Pauline Schneider – Filmmaker
Dr. Richard SomervilleScripps Institution of Oceanography
Severn Cullis-Suzuki – Activist
Thom Hartmann – “The Man”
Dr. Natalia ShakhovaInternational Arctic Research Center
Nick Breeze – Filmmaker
Dr. James Hansen – NASA (Ret.)
Dr. Alun Hubbard – Aberystwyth University
Dr. Marco TedescoNOAA
James Balog – Filmmaker “Chasing Ice
Dr. Peter Wadhams – University of Cambridge
David Wasdell – Apollo-Gaia Project
Omar Cabrera – Methanetracker.org
Lester R. Brown – Earth Policy Institute
Dr. Richard Milne – University of Edinburgh
Dan Miller – A REALLY Inconvenient Truth
Dr. Charles Miller – NASA JPL
Dr. Kevin Schaefer – USNSIDC
Dr. Jason Box – GEUS
Ben Abbott – University of Alaska
John Tyndall – Tyndall Centre
Uli Hamacher – Filmmaker
Dr. Igor Semiletov – International Arctic Research Center
Dr. Richard Alley – Penn State University
and all the others who made this film possible…

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About pendantry

Phlyarologist (part-time) and pendant. Campaigner for action against anthropogenic global warming (AGW) and injustice in all its forms. Humanist, atheist, notoftenpist. Wannabe poet, writer and astronaut.
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17 Responses to We are what we do

  1. ccgwebmaster says:

    She makes some good points…

    • pendantry says:

      She does indeed. Meanwhile, all we seem to do is run around in headless chicken mode. Speaking of which, I just visited your site to discover you’ve relaunched your CCG forum, and as I was starting to register there (to show solidarity) I was reminded of my late father, who never got very far learning French because whenever he had another stab at it he would begin again from the very beginning — and so, made no progress — and I’m afraid that, as I sat there contemplating yet another lengthy ‘registration agreement’ click-thru legalese bollocks, I said “screw this, life’s too short”.

      Sorry.

      • ccgwebmaster says:

        It’s the default “registration agreement”, can’t say I’ve actually read it. Could probably switch it off for that matter. Anyways, nobody seems to be really using the forum (except me). Just not the sort of thing people want to discuss still.

        • pendantry says:

          Some will discuss it. Not enough, I agree. Look at us, for instance 🙂

          My problem is that, as much as I would like to join all the groups who want to talk, there simply isn’t time for them all. A lot of effort goes into setting groups up: some succeed, some pootle along, some fail — I see for instance that manpollo.org is now just a simple redirect, which is a pity, there was a wealth of information in the forum, gathered over years. Maybe the site got hit by a nasty bug that was too much trouble to cure given the low audience numbers (that’s just a pure guess). Whatever the reason, it’s a shame that resource has been lost.

          At least the redirect (to Greg Craven’s awesome ‘How It All Ends’) is still pretty useful. But some sites’ addresses just die. Link rot is an example of a problem design aspect of the web.

        • pendantry says:

          By the way, my point about the click-thru agreement is that nobody reads any of them (who has the time?). In this case, not even you (who has set the thing up) — in theory at least, shouldn’t you know what it is you’re asking people to click? Don’t get me wrong, I don’t hold it against you, I’m just highlighting the irony.

          Folk just… click-thru, if the perceived benefits seem worth the hassle. The lawyers would no doubt try to have us believe that the legalities still hold — but when I studied law (not for long, I’ll admit, and a long time ago) I seem to recall something about a contract only being valid if all parties were aware of the terms. No doubt the lawyers, funded by those with the money to pay them — you know, those folk who want to have the rest of us beholden to them under their terms — have closed that particular loophole long ago… but that doesn’t stop me feeling that it’s completely wrong.

          • ccgwebmaster says:

            In my case it’s because I spent pretty much the minimum time possible to get the forum operational, suspecting it wouldn’t necessarily have any more success than the original one I cobbled together in a hurry myself.

            I think too (as I think you allude in your other answer) that there is rather too much talking about all these things in relation to the action (very little at all). On the other hand one presumes people need to go through the talking stage to act to at least some extent?

            The trouble here seems to be that while it’s topical – and a topic of conversation that attracts people – actual action is … more uncomfortable and hard. Consequently a lot of people seem to get stuck at the talking stage.

          • ccgwebmaster says:

            Apparently it’s fairly easy to switch off (or change, but I can’t be bothered to write anything) the registration blurb. The forum is still running on admin approval for new registrations though as I got hit with increasing force by spam bots and haven’t put it back to confirmed registration (I think I can now – the addition of a question to confirm stopped them, but that’s pretty flimsy given they seemed to get past the captcha).

            Incidentally that’s another problem with all the talking going on. It’s by no means certain these days that one is even talking meaningfully about these things. Consider all the bots and the sock puppets and the paid for participants and one wonders to what extent talking can really be productive and to what extent it is always being steered down the routes desired by those with the money to do those things.

          • pendantry says:

            I hear you, on all your points. Incidentally, I balked at another click-thru-on-registration at the forum linked to from here, today. I think I need a bit of a rest…

  2. John Crapper says:

    On this Earth Day we must pay attention to our children. This past year I’ve been trying to spread seeds of a great organization in its infancy in the USA – Plant for the Planet. http://holyshitters.com/2013/11/plant-planet-growing-lets-add-fertilizer/

  3. John Crapper says:

    How can I cabbage on to that “Thank you for not breeding” box you’ve got at the bottom of this post?

  4. This young lady I have long admired.. and unfortunately nothing much has changed in the United Nations..
    We are indeed what we do… and unless we start and DO some more towards healing the planet.. our next generation is going to have some tougher choices to make..
    Bless you for sharing
    Sue

    • pendantry says:

      I don’t recall hearing about Severn Suzuki before. I saw this clip at the end of ‘Arctic Death Spiral and the Methane Time Bomb‘ and was so moved that I captured it and uploaded it, naively thinking that I’d discovered something new to share. It was only later that I discovered how very wrong I was — though, that said, her words bear repeating. Preferably every night during prime time on all channels…

      What amazes me is how little has changed on this front in the twenty two years since she gave this speech. Life moves pretty fast…

  5. Pingback: A date with sanity | Wibble

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