Born and raised in Vancouver, Severn Cullis-Suzuki has been active in environmental and social justice work since kindergarten. At age 9, she and some friends started the Environmental Children's Organization (ECO), a small group of children committed to learning and teaching other kids about environmental issues. They were successful in many local projects, and also in raising enough money to appear at 1992’s Rio Earth Summit, with the aim of reminding the decision makers of who the conference would ultimately affect. The goal was reached when 12-yr-old Severn closed a Plenary Session with a powerful speech to the political representatives.
Now 23, Cullis-Suzuki continues to speak to schools and corporations, and at many conferences and international meetings. Often speaking on the necessity of defining our values, acting with the future in mind, and on individual responsibility; she is especially passionate about encouraging young people to speak out for their future.
In 1993, Cullis-Suzuki received the UN Environment Program's Global 500 Award at a ceremony in Beijing, China.
An accomplished television host and presenter, she has appeared and participated in many programs in Canada, the U.S., and Britain - most recently as the host of Suzuki’s NatureQuest, a children’s television series that aired around the world on Discovery Channel. She has also written numerous articles on environmental issues for magazines and newspapers, and has also published a book.
The First Nations people of the West coast have been a major influence on Severn since she was small. She has worked with and learned from the First Nations peoples of British Columbia, Southeast Asia and the Amazon.
She has been honoured by three British Columbian First Nations - she was adopted into the Haida Nation and given the name Killthgula Gaayaa. She has been named Mah Nulth Athluk by the Nuchaanulth people, and is also an adopted member of the Heiltsuk Nation.
Sev loves kayaking, rafting, hiking, fishing and snowboarding. In 2000, she and five girlfriends celebrated the millennium by cycling across Canada in a campaign for clean air called Powershift 2000. In the summer of 2001 she worked at the remote Pinkaiti Research Station in the Xingu valley of the Brazilian Amazon, contributing to her recent B.Sc. in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology from Yale University.
In the spring of 2002, Severn and some friends spearheaded an internet-based think-tank called The Skyfish Project. And as member of Kofi Anan’s Special Advisory Panel, she and members of the group brought their first project, a pledge called the Recognition of Responsibility to the recent UN World Summit in Johannesburg in August 2002. Their trip also was the subject of a documentary film that aired on CBC’s long running documentary series, The Nature of Things in January 2003. The African adventure was quickly followed up by a speaking tour of Japan in November, 2002.