Severn Cullis-Suzuki is executive director of The David Suzuki Foundation, a climate justice advocate, sustainability and social justice educator, science communicator and scholar. Her advocacy for intergenerational justice started with founding the Environmental Children’s Organization with friends in grade five, which culminated a few years later in a speech to the UN Earth Summit in 1992 at age 12. The speech is still making the rounds as “the girl who silenced the world for 5 minutes.”
Severn continued to advocate for future generations, traveling extensively to speak out about the legacy of our destructive time, and about returning to our deepest human values, and human scales. As a teenager she was appointed to the Earth Charter Commission, where she helped develop a universal set of guidelines for human conduct with respect to the planet (earthcharter.org).
She supported the launch of the national youth-led climate lawsuit to protect the youth plaintiffs’ charter rights, La Rose v. Her Majesty the Queen, and helped welcome Greta Thunberg to Vancouver for the lawsuit announcement and #FridaysForFuture climate strike.
Severn Cullis-Suzuki has an academic background in evolutionary biology and ethnoecology, and is currently completing a PhD in linguistic anthropology on the Haida language. Her focus is the nexus of decline in diversity of biodiversity, worldviews, economies, language, traditional knowledge and identity.
As executive director of the David Suzuki Foundation, her focus is on advancing the transformation to an economy characterized by clean energy, justice and strong ecosystems.
She lives on Haida Gwaii, where she works on revitalization of the Haida language, the heritage language of her husband Gudt’aawtis Judson Brown and their two children.