Severn Cullis-Suzuki: “Determining the fate of humanity”

Climate change is the ultimate example of an inter-generational crime, according to environmental activist Severn Cullis-Suzuki, and it’s up to all of us to be agents of change.

Cullis-Suzuki discussed the concept of inter-generational justice during a Q&A on the Business Insider Nordic’s Live Stage at the Nordic Business Forum. The speaker, author, and television host first burst onto the world stage in 1992, when she gave a stirring speech at the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro at the age of 12. Since then she has never abandoned this mission to remedy the damage done by earlier generations on the environment.

“International justice is justice between the generations,” she says. It’s a “problem caused by previous generations that impacts generations, including future generations that are saddled with it. It’s the idea that we aren’t just determining our lives, but determining the fate of humanity.”

When asked about solutions, Cullis-Suzuki cited sustainability movements underway across the globe, specifically mentioning entrepreneurs working in the Netherlands, such as fellow speaker Boyan Slat, who is founder and CEO of The Ocean Cleanup. She also discussed a “slow movement” underway in countries such as Japan that is based on the idea that business should serve society. “Innovation is on our side,” she said.

Cullis-Suzuki also called out media denial of climate change as hindering the progress that can be made to meet the challenge, saying that future generations would look upon climate change denial as “absolutely criminal.” She encouraged people to be “shepherds of influence,” encouraging change in their communities. “We have to dig deep,” she said. “We are all being called on in unusual circumstances. We have to rise to that.”


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