Changing the World

Columbus 21 Course 3 (Heisei 17) pg. 84-89

    I am here to speak for all future generations.
    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 ozone holes. I am afraid to breathe the air because I don't know what chemicals are in it. I used to go fishing in Vancouver with my dad until just a few years ago we found the fish full of cancers. And now we hear about animals and plants becoming extinct every day - vanishing forever.

    In my life, I have dreamt of seeing 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 about these things when you were my age? All 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 ozone holes.
    You don't know how to bring salmon back to a dead stream.
    You don't know how to bring back an animal now extinct.
    And you can't bring back the forests 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 are mothers and fathers, sisters and brothers, aunts and uncles. And each of you is somebody's child.
    I'm only a child, yet I know we are all part of a family, five billion strong - in fact, thirty million species strong - and border and governments will never change that.
    I'm 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'm not afraid to tell the world how I feel.

    In my country, we make so much waste. We 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 lose some of our wealth, afraid to let go.
    In Canada, we live a privileged life with plenty of food, water, and shelter. We have watches, bicycles, computers, and television sets - the list could go on for days.

    Two days ago here in Brazil, we were shocked when we spent time with some children living on the streets. And 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, medicine, shelter, and love and affection."
    If a child on the street who has nothing is willing to share, why are we who have everything still so greedy?
    I can't stop thinking that these children are my own age, and that it makes a tremendous difference where you are born. I could be one of those children living in the favellas of Rio, I could be a child starving in Somalia, a victim of war in the Middle East, or a beggar in India.
    I'm only a child, yet I know if all the money spent on war was spent on ending poverty and finding environmental answers, 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 world we will grow up in.
    Parents should be able to comfort their children by saying, "Everything's going to be all right," "We're doing the best we can," and "It's not the end of the world."
    But I don't think you can say this to us anymore.
    Are we even on your list of priorities?
    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. I challenge you. Please, make your actions reflect your words.
    Thank you for listening.

Columbus 21 Course 3 (Heisei 24) pg. 80-83

I am here to speak for all future generations. I am here to speak for starving children around the world. I am here to speak for animals dying across this planet.
I am afraid to go out in the sun now because of the holes in the ozone. I am afraid to breathe the air because I don't know what chemicals are in it. And now we hear about animals and plants becoming extinct every day. Did you have to worry about these things when you were my age? All this 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 ozone holes. You don't know how to bring salmon back to a dead stream. You don't know how to bring back an animal now extinct. And you can't bring back the forests that once grew in areas that are now desert.
If you don't know how to fix it, please stop breaking it!
I'm only a child, yet I know we are all part of a family, thirty million species strong.
I'm 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 country, we make so much waste. We 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 lose some of our wealth.
Two days ago here in Brazil, we were shocked when we spent time with some children living on the streets. One child told us:
"If I become rich, I will give all the street children food, clothes, medicine, shelter, and love and affection."
If a child on the street who has nothing is willing to share, why are we still so greedy?

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?
Parents should be able to comfort their children by saying, "Everything's going to be all right," "We're doing the best we can," and "It's not the end of the world." But I don't think you can say that to us anymore. My dad always says, "You are what you do, not what you say." You grown-ups say you love us. I challenge you. Please, reflect your words in your actions.
Thank you for listening.

See also