Severn Cullis-Suzuki (born 30 November 1979 in Vancouver, Canada) is an 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.
Cullis-Suzuki was born and raised in Vancouver, Canada. Her mother is writer Tara Elizabeth Cullis. Her father, geneticist and environmental activist David Suzuki, is a second-generation Japanese Canadian. While attending Lord Tennyson Elementary School in French Immersion, at the age of nine, she founded the Environmental Children’s Organization (ECO), a group of children dedicated to learning and teaching other youngsters about environmental issues. In 1992, at the age of 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.The video has since become a viral hit, popularly known as “The Girl Who Silenced the World for 5 Minutes”. In 1993, she was honoured in the United Nations Environment Programme’s Global 500 Roll of Honour. In 1993, Doubleday published her book Tell the World (ISBN 0-385-25422-9), a 32-page book of environmental steps for families.
Cullis-Suzuki graduated from Yale University in 2002 with a B.Sc. in ecology and evolutionary biology. After Yale, Cullis-Suzuki spent two years travelling. Cullis-Suzuki co-hosted Suzuki’s Nature Quest, a children’s television series that aired on the Discovery Channel in 2002.
In early 2002, she helped launch an Internet-based think tank called The Skyfish Project.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.The Skyfish Project disbanded in 2004 as Cullis-Suzuki turned her focus back to school and enrolled in a graduate course in the University of Victoria to study ethnobotany under Nancy Turner.In 2010, French DJ Laurent Wolf sampled Cullis-Suzuki’s 1992 Earth Summit speech for the track “2012: Not the End of the World”.