Severn Cullis-Suzuki on a path forward for the environment

Episode 34

The new executive director of the David Suzuki Foundation discusses her viral moment as a young environmental activist and the link between language and stewardship of the land

  • Published Mar 08, 2022
  • Updated Apr 14
Severn Cullis-Suzuki
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Severn Cullis-Suzuki, the new executive director of the David Suzuki Foundation, has been an environmental activist for almost as long as she can remember. That isn’t surprising when you consider that her father is David Suzuki, Canada’s leading environmentalist and longtime host of CBC’s much-loved show The Nature of Things.

Cullis-Suzuki’s moment in the environmental spotlight came early. It was 30 years ago this year when, at the age of 12, she gave world leaders a dressing down about the state of the environment in a speech at the Earth Summit, the first ever UN Climate Change Conference in Rio. 

We talk about that viral moment in a pre-social media age, and how its echoes are found in the words and actions of today’s young environmental activists, like Greta Thunberg. We also discuss what it’s like to fill her father’s very big shoes at the foundation that carries his name. And, as the RCGS marks the UN Decade of Indigenous Languages, we get into her immersion in Haida culture on Haida Gwaii, off the northern coast of British Columbia, and why she believes the link between Indigenous languages and the land is key to turning around the state of the environment.


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This story is from the March/April 2022 Issue

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