Vancouver Fourth Gift to the World: David Suzuki

suzuki.jpgFor the next seven days, the Metroblogging sites around the globe will be unveiling seven gifts their cities can share with the world – one gift a day for seven days. Metroblogging Vancouver’s Fourth Gift is David Suzuki [wiki].

I know this man from the clips of his TV series our science teacher used to play in elementary school. His program on the CBC, The Nature of Things is one of Canada’s longest running, most award-winning and well respected but his achievements go far beyond the realm of Canadian television.

David Suzuki was born in Vancouver in 1936. During the second world war, his family was forced out of the city and to a remote location in the interior of BC as a part of the Japanese Internment [wiki]. As David himself was 3rd generation Japanese-Canadian and could barely speak a lick of Japanese, he was also discriminated against by others in the internment camp. His family would have to stay until the war ended (3 years later), then they were forced to leave BC and head East of the Rockies – it was that or head back to Japan, a nation that Suzuki was not familiar with, Vancouver was his home.

He spent the rest of his childhood years in London, Ontario and after University, Suzuki returned to Vancouver where he became a professor at the University of British Columbia in 1963. Only a few years later he would embark on a broadcasting career that would span decades, reach millions, and impact well, the planet really. He hosted various radio programs until The Nature of Things came to fruition in 1979.

…it has featured in-depth documentaries on such topics as the birth of the human mind; the language of animals; the pathology of psychopaths; medical marijuana; the growth of big business farming; and the future of the Arctic. A groundbreaking 1987 episode focused on the emerging AIDS/HIV epidemic.. [CBC]

Since then, aside from writing books, traveling the world and raising awareness for global ecological causes, he’s created the David Suzuki Foundation.

The Foundation focuses on: Climate Change and Global Warming, Ecosystem-based Forestry, Sustainable Fisheries, Aquaculture and Biodiversity [wiki]. It is also an integral part of pushing the Canadian Government towards Kyoto Protocol participation and introducing the world to the term “Carbon Neutral”.

The term, coincidentally, being dubbed “2006 Oxford Word of the Year” [OUP].

The Foundation is entirely Carbon Neutral. It also encourages folks like you and me to try the Nature Challenge by walking through simple steps we can take towards making environmentally-sound changes in our lives.

Suzuki is held in such esteem that last year when the CBC called on Canadians to vote during their “Greatest Canadian” series, he was named within the top 5 of all time.

Suzuki has been awarded numerous recognitions, including a UNESCO prize for science, a United Nations Environment Program medal and an induction as an Officer of the Order of Canada. He has 15 honorary doctorates from universities in Canada, the U.S. and Australia. In addition, Canada’s First Nations people have honoured him with five native names and he has been formally adopted by two tribes [CBC]

I had a chance to see David Suzuki do a reading of his latest book (an Autobiography) with the CBC Radio One book club last spring. People came from all over the Province for an opportunity to meet him, share their communities’ efforts and ask for assistance. I have never seen an individual with so much passion. A hard-working, excruciatingly dedicated, and heading an influential wave of change on the global, environmental stage – Vancouver’s 4th gift to the world is David Suzuki.

Update: Added the interview of David Suzuki on The Hour [youtube]. He even mentions that he can’t believe the things he says sometimes… like I said, he’s very passionate.

2 Comments so far

  1. ianmack (unregistered) on November 29th, 2006 @ 11:03 am

    agreed, david suzuki is the man. i listened to him speak 2 years ago about the possible lifting of the offshore moratorium, and wrote an article about it here:

    the thing that struck me then has only become more apparent though – i think david is getting disheartened. he’s projecting a bit of a “what the hell? i tried my best and people are still driving off the ecological cliff.” makes me wonder how bad things could be, if david’s losing hope. then again, it’s david, and he would never give up completely.

  2. Chris (unregistered) on November 30th, 2006 @ 8:52 am

    This man’s my hero.

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