Born March 24, 1936 in Vancouver, British Columbia
Residence: Vancouver, British Columbia
Institutions: University of British Columbia
Alma Mater: Amherst College, B.A. (1958)
University of Chicago, Ph.D. (1961)
Notable Honorary Degrees, Awards and Honours
(numerous...well over 40)...including
Order of Canada (1976, 2006)
UNESCO’s Kalinga Prize (1986)
Right Livelihood Award (2009)
David Suzuki is a Canadian academic, science broadcaster and environmentalist. He earned a Ph. D. Degree in zoology from the University of Chicago...was a professor in the genetics department at the University of British Columbia from 1963 until his retirement in 2001. Since the mid-1970's, Suzuki has been known for his TV and radio series, documentaries and books about nature and the environment. He is best known as host of the popular and long-running CBC Television science program...The Nature of Things...seen in over 40 nations. He is also well known for criticizing governments for their lack of action to protect the environment.
A long time activist to reverse global climate change,
Suzuki founded the David Suzuki Foundation in 1990 to work,
“to find ways for society to live in balance with the natural world.”
Early Life: A third-generation Japanese-Canadian, Suzuki and his family suffered internment in British Columbia from early during WWII until after the war ended in 1945. In June 1942, Suzuki's family's dry-cleaning business was sold by the government, then interned him, his mother and 2 sisters in a camp at Slocan in the province's interior. His father had been sent to a labour camp in Solsqua two months earlier. After the war, Suzuki's family (like other Japanese Canadian families) were forced to move east of the Rockies. The Suzukis moved to Islington, Leamington and London, Ontario. He credits his father for having interested him in and sensitized him to nature.
Attending London Central Secondary School,
he won the election to become Students' Council President in his last year
by more votes than all the other candidates combined.
Broadcasting Career: In 1970, he began in television with the weekly children's show...Suzuki on Science. In 1974, he founded the radio program...Quirks and Quarks...which he also hosted on CBC AM radio from 1975 to 1979. Throughout the 1970's he also hosted...Science Magazine... a weekly program geared towards an adult audience. Since 1979, Suzuki has hosted...The Nature of Things...a CBC television series 'to stimulate interest in the natural world...to point out threats to human well-being and wildlife habitat...and to present alternatives for achieving a more sustainable society. Suzuki has been a prominent proponent of renewable energy sources and the soft energy path.
His 1985 hit series...A Planet for the Taking...
averaged more than 1.8 million viewers per episode
and earned him a United Nations Environment Programme Medal.
His perspective: “We have both a sense of the importance of the wilderness and space in our culture and an attitude that it is limitless and therefore, we needn't worry.” He concludes with a challenge for a major 'perceptual shift' in our relationship with nature and the wild.
For the Discovery Channel, Suzuki also produced in 1997
“Yellowstone to Yukon: The Wildlands Project .”
The conservation-biology based documentary considers how to create corridors between and buffer-zones around large wilderness reserves as a means to preserve biological diversity.
David Suzuki's Blue Dot Tour with Neil Young, Feist, Margaret Atwood, Raffi, Shane Koyczan...and more...wraps up in Vancouver at the Orphean Theatre on November 9...he calls it, “The most important thing I've ever done.” He wants a clean environment! That's why the 78-year-old environmentalist and host of CBC's “The Nature of Things” is crossing Canada with his Blue Dot Tour ~ the last major endeavour of this kind Suzuki will undertake in his career!.
Occasionally, in the past, he organized small boat cruises for passengers
to view first-hand needs of the environment and remedies.
Friends of mine have accompanied him along the coast of Labrador,
others along the Pacific Ocean's island properties and mainland near Alaska.
His Social Commentary:
On Education: Education has failed in a very serious way to convey the most important lesson science can teach ~ skepticism. An educational system isn't worth a great deal if it teaches young people how to make a living!!! But doesn't teach them...'how to make a Life!'
On Social Responsibility: Now, there are some things in the world we cannot change ~ gravity, entropy, Thermodynamics and our biological nature that requires...clean air, clean water, clean soil, clean energy and biodiversity for our health and being. Protecting the biosphere should be our highest priority...or else, we sicken and die!
On the Environment: Human use of fossil fuels is altering the chemistry of the atmosphere.
Oceans are polluted and depleted of fish.
80% of the earth's forests are heavily impacted or gone, yet their destruction continues.
We drop millions of tonnes of chemicals (most untested for their biological effects...many highly toxic)
into the air, water and soil.
An estimated 50,000 species are driven to extinction every year.
We have created an 'ecological Holocaust.'
Our very health and survival are at stake...
yet, we act as if we have plenty of time to respond.
On the Future:
We're in a giant car heading towards a brick wall
and everyone's arguing over where they're going to sit!
The human brain now holds the key to our future.
We have to recall the image of the planet from outer-space ~ a single entity
in which air, water and continents are inter-connected. That is our home!
Written by Merle Baird-Kerr...March 26. 2015
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