Gamechangers: David Suzuki

From my experiences volunteering with S.U.C.C.E.S.S.’s Youth Leadership Millennium Program, I’ve had the privilege to work with many community activists. One of the program’s partners is the David Suzuki Foundation. Obviously, if we’re talking gamechangers and we’re talking Vancouver, David Suzuki’s name should be near (if not right at) the top of the list.

David’s passion for protecting the environment is notorious. From his academic pursuits in zoology and genetics, he became a professor at our very own UBC, teaching for almost forty years and publishing over 30 books during this time. Somehow, David also found time to host The Nature of Things, a weekly television series that was broadcast in over fifty countries worldwide – one of the reasons for David’s international fame and recognition.

After his retirement from UBC in 2001, he became Professor Emeritus at the university and continued his climate change activism work through the David Suzuki Foundation. He is a highly in-demand speaker and commentator, but has stated that he prefers speaking via video conference technology because of the excessive carbon footprint from his traveling to engagements.

David is, I think, one of the main reasons Vancouver is also known to be a highly environmentally-conscious city. With such a powerful and convicted figure living among us, how could we not “get the message”? B.C., Canada’s west coast, is blessed with the abundance of visible nature that many other places in the world don’t have the privilege of having direct contact with. Our lifestyle will always be intensely connected to nature here, and it’s part of the reason why Canada, as traditionally “governed” by the East, had dramatically declined in terms of environmental protection regulations. It really needs to change from the federal level down. No matter how many inititaives are produced from the municipal or provincial level, the ripple effect quickly wears off as a united national movement is lacking. If only there were more climate change activists who were also politically engaged. Let David be all of our role models. If they don’t hear us, they’ll forget we’re here. 

And of course…here’s David’s daughter speaking at the Rio Summit of 1992. Sadly, while words are very powerful, if action does not follow, we’ll never progress.

P.S. The second half of the post is a little sad…but of course, we can’t lose hope!