Distinctive Voices - Severn Suzuki's Address

Distinctive voices are those that resonate strongly with their audience and have a strong and lasting emotional impact. Distinctive voices have unique and extraordinary qualities – presenting powerful ideas and messages or an ideal vision of a world or society of the future. Distinctive voices can be seen in Severn Cullis-Suzuki’s ‘Address to the Plenary Session Earth Summit’ and Martin Luther King’s speech ‘I have a dream’. Both of these speeches challenged societal norms at the time and they both addressed problems that were actually happening, and still happen to this day. They speak about universal racism and environmental issues which are still in a primitive phase of repair. However don’t you think the damage is quite severe and is everlasting on those who experience racism or have great care for the environment?
The purpose of Suzuki’s speech was to raise awareness of man kind’s treatment on the environment, how the environment has been degraded.
Suzuki uses highly effective language techniques to engage her audience. The use of inclusive language unites the audience with Suzuki by using words such as ‘us’, ‘we’ and ‘our’ e.g. ‘Are we even on the list of priorities?’ Emotive language draws emotion and sympathy from the audience in favour of the goal she wants to achieve, as she is a child herself it creates pathos. Repetition emphasises and reinforces Suzuki’s point of the speech and brings upon the need for action. First person tone is used to personalise the issues that she is concerned about ‘I am here to speak on behalf of the starving children around the world, to speak for the countless animals dying across this planet because they have nowhere to go’
Have you experienced racism in your life, have you ever been bullied? Think about it for a second, how did it make you feel? How did you feel after listening to these speeches? Did they empower you to make a difference in someone’s life, in addition to your own?
MLK’s “I Have a Dream” is an...