Author David Suzuki

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

Oil and plastic are choking the planet

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People who deny that humans are wreaking havoc on the planet’s life-support systems astound me. When confronted with the obvious damage we’re doing to the biosphere — from climate change to water and air pollution to swirling plastic patches in the oceans — some dismiss the reality or employ logical fallacies to discredit the messengers. It’s one thing to argue over solutions, but to reject the need for them is suicidal. And to claim people can’t talk about fossil fuels and climate change because they use fossil fuel–derived products, such as plastic keyboards, is nonsensical. There’s no denying that oil,…

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Increased awareness is key to resolving the climate crisis

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Most people understand that human-caused climate change is a real and serious threat. True, some still reject the mountains of evidence amassed by scientists from around the world over many decades, and accepted by every legitimate scientific academy and institution. But as the physical evidence builds daily — from increasingly frequent and intense extreme weather events like droughts and floods to disappearing polar ice to rising sea levels — it takes an incredible amount of denial to claim we have no reason to worry. Climate change isn’t an easy or pleasant subject, and massive efforts by the fossil fuel industry…

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Long work hours don’t work for people or the planet

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In 1926, U.S. automaker Henry Ford reduced his employees’ workweek from six eight-hour days to five, with no pay cuts. It’s something workers and labour unions had been calling for, and it followed previous reductions in work schedules that had been as high as 84 to 100 hours over seven days a week. Ford wasn’t responding to worker demands; he was being a businessman. He expected increased productivity and knew workers with more time and money would buy and use the products they were making. It was a way of spurring consumerism and productivity to increase profits — and it…

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Research sheds light on dark corner of B.C.’s oil and gas industry

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We’ve long known extracting oil and gas comes with negative consequences, and rapid expansion of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, increases the problems and adds new ones — excessive water use and contamination, earthquakes, destruction of habitat and agricultural lands and methane emissions among them.   As fossil fuel reserves become depleted, thanks to our voracious and wasteful habits, extraction becomes more extreme and difficult. Oilsands mining, deepsea drilling and fracking are employed because easily accessible supplies are becoming increasingly scarce. The costs and consequences are even higher than with conventional sources and methods.   Fracking involves drilling deep into the earth, and…

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The grisly truth about B.C.’s grizzly trophy hunt

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Grizzly bears venturing from dens in search of food this spring will face landscapes dominated by mines, roads, pipelines, clearcuts and ever-expanding towns and cities. As in years past, they’ll also face the possibility of painful death at the hands of trophy hunters. British Columbia’s spring bear hunt just opened. Hunters are fanning across the province’s mountains, grasslands, forests and coastline, armed with high-powered rifles and the desire to bag a grizzly bear, just to put its head on a wall or its pelt on the floor as a “trophy”. According to B.C. government statistics, they will kill about 300 of these majestic animals by the end…

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March for science, march for Earth Day, march for humanity!

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Science isn’t everything. But it is crucial to governing, decision-making, protecting human health and the environment and resolving questions and challenges around our existence. Those determined to advance industrial interests over all else often attack science. We’ve seen it in Canada, with a decade of cuts to research funding and scientific programs, muzzling of government scientists and rejection of evidence regarding issues such as climate change. We’re seeing worse in the Unites States. The new administration is proposing drastic cuts to the Environmental Protection Agency, National Institutes of Health, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, NASA and others. Information about climate…

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Citizen science and genetic testing yield positive results

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Since I started working as a geneticist in the early 1960s, the field has changed considerably. James Watson, Francis Crick and Maurice Wilkins won the 1962 Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine for their discovery of the double helix structure of DNA. Researchers then “cracked” the genetic code, which held promise for fields like health and medicine. It was an exciting time to be working in the lab. More than 40 years later, in 2003, an international group of scientists sequenced the entire human genetic code. Researchers can now find a gene suspected to cause a disease in a matter…

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Marine protected areas are one piece of a complex puzzle

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The federal government recently created two marine protected areas in the Pacific region and has committed to increase ocean protection from one per cent to 10 by 2020. But will this be enough? Canada has the longest coastline of any nation, but our country doesn’t end at its ocean shores. With a 200-nautical-mile economic zone and international obligations, Canada is responsible for almost three million square kilometres of ocean, an area roughly the size of British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba combined.  Although that’s a big area, thinking of the ocean in square kilometres is just skimming the surface. The…

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Welcome to the 21st century: Brighter times or a new Dark Age?

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If you own a smartphone, you have more computing power at your fingertips than NASA scientists had when they put people on the moon in 1969! And it’s in a small device, unlike the massive hardware the space agency used. Technology moves in leaps and bounds. As someone who grew up before home computers, transoceanic phone lines, jet planes, satellites, organ transplants, birth control pills, photocopiers, hand-held calculators or cellphones, I’m amazed at how quickly technological innovation is occurring and by its profound effects on society. Every day, products are becoming smaller, faster, more efficient and accessible to a greater…

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Facts and evidence matter in confronting climate crisis

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We recently highlighted the faulty logic of a pseudoscientific argument against addressing climate change: the proposition that because CO2 is necessary for plants, increasing emissions is good for the planet and the life it supports. Those who read, write or talk regularly about climate change and ecology are familiar with other anti-environmental arguments not coated with a scientific sheen. A common one is that if you drive a car, buy any plastic goods or even type on a computer keyboard your observation that we need to reduce fossil fuel use is not valid — no matter how much evidence you…

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