"We are a group of 12
and 13-year-olds trying to make a difference.
We've raised all
the money to come here ourselves, to come 5000 miles to tell you
adults you must change your ways.
"Coming up 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.
"I am afraid to go out in the sun now because of the hole in our
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, my home,
with my dad, until just a few years ago we found the fish full
And now we hear of
animals and plants going extinct. 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 butterflies.
But now I wonder if they will even exist for my children to see.
Did you have to worry
of these things when you were my age? All of 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 realize neither do you.
You don't know how to
fix the holes in our ozone layer, you don't 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 forest that
once grew where there is now a desert.
If you don't know how
to fix it, please stop breaking it.
"Here, you may be delegates of your governments, businesspeople,
organizers, reporters or politicians, but really, you're mothers
and fathers, sisters and brothers, aunts and uncles, and all of
you are someone's child.
I am only a child yet
I know we are all part of a family, five billion strong. In
fact, 30 million species strong. And borders and governments
will never change that.
"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. In my
anger, I am not blind, and in my fear I am not afraid of telling
the world how I feel.
In my country we make
so much waste, we buy and throw away, 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
let go of some of our wealth.
"In Canada, we live the privileged life with plenty of food,
water and shelter.
We have watches,
bicycles, computers and television sets, the list could go on
for two days. Two days ago here in Brazil we were shocked when
we spent time with some children living on the streets.
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, medicines, shelter, and love and affection.'
If a child on the
streets who has nothing is willing to share, why are we who have
everything still so greedy?
"I can't stop thinking that these are children my own age, that
it makes a tremendous difference where you are born, that I
could be one of those children living in the favelas of Rio, I
could be a child starving in Somalia or a victim of war in the
Middle East or a beggar in India.
I am only a child yet
I know if all the money spent on war was 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?
Do not forget why you
are attending these conferences, who you are doing this for. We
are your own children. You are deciding what kind of a world we
are growing up in.
"Parents should be able to comfort their children by saying,
going to be all right, 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
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.