Severn Suzuki’s Speech at the 1992 UN Earth Summit Essay

September 21, 2021 by Essay Writer


A single girl versus the assembled members of the United Nations, an unlikely setting yet one that did occur during the 1992 U.N. Earth Summit.

Severn Suzuki performance

Severn Suzuki, a nine-year-old girl, silenced the assembled gathering of world leaders when she orated a persuasive speech regarding the rampant destruction that is happening to the world today as a result of human activities and how we must all work together to preserve this planet for future generations. The assemblage of world leaders, government representatives, and various dignitaries created an audience that few today have been in front of, for a nine-year girl to step in front of them and criticize their actions would be nerve-wracking at best and this is reflected in the slight stammering that occurs during several parts of the speech. While manuscript speaking was the form of delivery utilized this did not detract from the impact of her delivery.

It could be that it was due to the honesty of her delivery and the innocence of her views that helped to heighten the impact beyond that of the slightly monotone manner in which she spoke. In terms of the four persuasive choices being reflected in the speech they were clear however as stated earlier they were robotic in quality and seemed to state a fact rather than attempt to persuade people towards a course of action.

The method of persuasion attempted was to appeal to the world leaders present to enact change. She did this by first presenting the problem, her opinion than her solution to the problem. This is the pattern of the entire speech itself. As for the type of proposition used the young girl used the proposition of value and policy in which she encouraged the audience to make a judgment on the current state of the world and attempted to convince them of an alternative course of action.

The speech itself did possess all the indicated parts in class and it did give the speech a measure of strength in the manner in which it was delivered since the points the young girl wanted to point out were immediately apparent however it can also be said that it was this strict adherence that may have created a few problems during delivery. While the speech was direct and had a certain degree of impact I have always thought that an overly strict adherence to form and structure makes the delivery of any speech somewhat robotic. While the impact of the speech was evident its form of delivery, was for me, very robotic and lacked a certain degree of emotion.

The inherent problem with sticking precisely to form and style are that one runs the risk of losing the ability to properly express emotion. This is one of the main problems that I noticed when the speech was delivered. On the other hand, the strict adherence to form and structure that was done made the proposition clear with the entire speech being very well thought out and organized. While the main ideas were reiterated several times to create a more persuasive method of delivery I still feel that it was due to this that the speech wound up feeling even more robotic, the speaker focused too much on form and organization that when it came to actual delivery there was a distinct lack of emotion on certain parts where there should have been some emotional reaction instead of a monotone level of delivery.

On the other hand, the person who wrote the speech was a nine-year-old girl so certain allowances should at least be given regarding the manner of delivery. When examining the persuasive reasoning of the girl in terms of the sources cited one cannot help but think of the innocence of youth. Yes, she did state that the environment is being affected, that there is global poverty, that western countries are being greedy and that if people worked toward peace rather than war then there would be global prosperity.

The inherent problem with this reasoning is that it neglects to take into account the various socio-political, economic, and historical factors that have resulted in the current state of the world. While she does make a valid point in her statements that fact remains that her view is an overly simplified one that lacks certain broad reasoning acquired during years of higher education.


The transitions utilized in the speech were appropriate with the conclusion having an adequate summary and ending which is not surprising considering the strict adherence to form and structure which verges on the robotic. Overall the system of notes used by the speaker was very effective and did leave a lasting impact on the audience.


“One girl versus the UN – A Very Powerful Speech.” Youtube. Web.

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