Author David Suzuki

David Suzuki is a scientist, broadcaster, author and co-founder of the David Suzuki Foundation.

Kinder Morgan pipeline controversy proves need to shift course

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On March 31, an underwater pipeline carrying oil to a refinery in Balikpapan, Indonesia, broke, spreading crude over 20,000 hectares of Balikpapan Bay. Some of it ignited, killing five fishermen. Area residents experienced health problems including nausea, vomiting and respiratory difficulties, and marine life and mangroves were also devastated. In mid-January, an Iranian tanker carrying more than 111,300 tonnes of natural gas condensate hit a cargo ship, caught fire and sank in the East China Sea in one of China’s richest fishing grounds. The accident killed all 32 of the tanker’s crew and left an oil slick bigger than Paris…

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Reports emphasize urgent need to reverse biodiversity decline

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Our health, well-being, food security, energy and economic progress depend on healthy, diverse nature. Clean water and air are essential to human life and health. Nutrient-rich soils are necessary to grow food. Diversity makes the ecosystems on which human life depends resilient. But, as more than 550 experts from over 100 countries recently warned, “Biodiversity — the essential variety of life forms on Earth — continues to decline in every region of the world, significantly reducing nature’s capacity to contribute to people’s well-being.” On March 22 in Medellín, Colombia, the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services’ 129 member…

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Audit exposes Canadian climate failures

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Scientists, academics, environmentalists and communicators have urged governments to take the climate crisis seriously for decades. We’ve outlined the overwhelming evidence, generated discussion and offered myriad solutions. We’ve confronted politicians who refuse to accept that a problem exists, or that we can do anything about it if it does. That’s frustrating and disheartening, especially for those of us with children and grandchildren, and more so for people who are children and grandchildren. It’s even more frustrating to deal with politicians who claim to take the matter seriously but whose actions belie their words. We’re failing to take the necessary steps to confront…

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SUVs and trucks nullify car efficiency gains

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When the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency increased safety and environmental standards for cars in the 1970s, automakers responded. Although they had to adhere to the new rules, they didn’t base their entire response on safety or pollution concerns. Instead, they looked for loopholes. Under the U.S. Clean Air Act, vehicle manufacturers were required to more than double fuel efficiency for cars over the following decade. Canada and other countries followed suit. But trucks, vans and SUVs weren’t subject to the same regulations, so automakers started marketing them as family vehicles. In many countries, greenhouse gas emissions have been falling in…

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Renewable communities produce energy, jobs and hope

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Anishinaabe economist and writer Winona LaDuke identifies two types of economies, grounded in different ways of seeing. Speaking in Vancouver recently, she characterized one as an “extreme extractive economy” fed by exploitation of people and nature. The second is a “regenerative economy” based on an understanding of the land and our relationship to it. We now go to extremes to access fossil fuels. Hydraulic fracturing shatters bedrock to release previously inaccessible gas, requiring large amounts of water made so toxic through the process that it must be disposed of in deep wells. We extract bitumen from Alberta’s oilsands using techniques…

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We can’t close our eyes to climate change

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Contrary to a common perception, ignoring climate change won’t make it disappear. Global research going back to 1824 in fields ranging through physics, oceanography, biology and geology have confirmed human activity — mainly burning fossil fuels, raising livestock and destroying carbon sinks like forests and wetlands — is increasing greenhouse gas emissions and causing global temperatures to rise rapidly, putting humanity at risk. Every legitimate scientific academy and institution and every government, except the current U.S. administration, agrees. Yet the disconnect between that reality and government action to confront the greatest crisis humanity faces is astounding. Nowhere is that disconnect…

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More action needed to ensure safe water for First Nations

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All nine community water systems on Lytton First Nation land in B.C. have been under boil water advisories at one time or another. Now the First Nation is taking an innovative approach to resolving its drinking water problems. It’s working with public and private organizations and universities in a “circle of trust” to identify challenges and test solutions in real-world conditions. The approach came about as the result of a partnership with RES’EAU-WaterNET, a strategic research network under the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada. Because problems with drinking water systems vary, RES’EAU-WaterNET works with communities like Lytton…

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Save the planet; eat an insect

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People sometimes get bugged by insects, but we need them. They play essential roles in pollination, combatting unwanted agricultural pests, recycling organic matter, feeding fish, birds and bats, and much more. They’re the most numerous and diverse animals on Earth and form the base of many terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems. Our admiration for these critters goes beyond their ability to adapt, their fantastically diverse colours and shapes, and their accomplishments that create dramatic impacts on our world’s functioning. Could the same six-legged creatures that form the backbone of ecosystem services also help minimize humanity’s environmental footprint? Could insects revolutionize the…

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Emergency order aims to protect resident orcas

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Canada is losing a lot of its wildlife. The World Wildlife Fund’s 2017 Living Planet Report Canada found half the monitored mammal, bird, reptile, amphibian and fish species declined from 1970 to 2014. Threatened and endangered species continue to disappear despite federal legislation designed to protect them and help their populations recover. What’s going wrong? The report puts the blame on habitat loss, farming, forestry, urban and industrial development, climate change, pollution, invasive species and overfishing — all related to human activity. One reason plant and animal populations continue to suffer is that protection under the Species at Risk Act is plagued…

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On climate, OECD head embraces environmentalism

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Angel Gurria sounds like the leader of an environmental or social justice group. In a recent University of Toronto lecture, “Climate Action: Time for Implementation”, he stressed that climate change is a public health issue “disproportionately affecting the most vulnerable as well as those least responsible for anthropogenic warming.” Gurria is Secretary-General of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, a group representing some of the richest, most industrialized nations on Earth. He said the Toronto lecture was his third climate talk in recent years. In the first, he argued that fossil fuel emissions to the atmosphere must be “completely…

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