Let’s give a voice to kids!!

This summer I went to a Native American Reservation in Cherokee, NC. I have been told that during their village council meetings everybody had a voice and could express their opinions. It means that kids and especially women (who were considered to be more important than men in the Indian culture) could take a position on any discussion. Against the opinion of many I find this tradition much more civilized than the orthodox western one, that puts the opinions of men above everyone else.

In the majority of cultures, adults do not listen to kids and minors, because of the common belief that they haven’t lived enough, that they don’t have enough experience or that “they just don’t know no better”. I would love to present to you all a couple of ideas presented by this part of the society.

20 years ago, Severn Cullis-Suzuki, a 12 year old who later became an environmental activist, gave a speech at the World Earth Summit in Rio 92’. If some of you haven’t seen this captivating video, you can do so by following this link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F_O1Au8vZLA. Most of the ideas mentioned by Severn are now known to everybody, because these environmental issues are yet to be solved. Yet, there are now being more widely talked about, which is a good thing. The sad part is that the same speech could be made today and it wouldn’t be at all considered “out of date”. Maybe if some of the people present at that conference 20 years ago would have listened to her more carefully and made efforts to change their actions, the environment would be in a better state.

A few days ago I encountered an inspiring article/essay written for the Huffington Post by Brett Hahn, a 17-year old high school student from New York. It is a very well written and pleasant read that I strongly recommend to everybody. He starts it by asking a question: “What is the most important thing that your parents have ever done for you?” The response is: “Maybe, the most important thing that your parents did for you was provide a roof for you to live under. But the answer to this question lies within the first 1,000 days of our existence; from the time that each of us was just a fetus in the womb to the age of 2 years-old, our parents properly fed us.”

You can listen to another inspiring speech given by an 11-year old Birke Baehr, who talks about what is wrong with our food system. He reveals that kids are victims of the system. The companies are attracting children with colourful boxes and/or looks so that they ask they parents to buy it. I won’t speak too much about it, because it is better to simply watch it.

Please, spend some time and think about the importance of food for a little while, and then see what you can do to ensure that future generations don’t run out of food.

posted by Piotr Wielezynski

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