Author David Suzuki

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

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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Intact wilderness is a hedge against our ignorance

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In 2011, I travelled with my family down Yukon’s Hart River. It’s one of seven pure rivers in the Peel River watershed, a 68,000-square-kilometre wilderness that’s been at the centre of a legal dispute for many years and a land-use planning debate for more than a decade. For two weeks, we fished from the river’s vibrant green waters and gazed at the limestone and dolostone peaks of the Ogilvie Mountains. Most Canadians have never been to the North, much less the remote Peel watershed, but many are enchanted by it, nourished even by the idea that we still have vast,…

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Faulty logic fuels fossil fools

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Apparently, fossil fuel companies protect watersheds and rivers by removing oil. That’s according to comments on the David Suzuki Foundation Facebook page and elsewhere, including this: “The amount of contamination occuring [sic] from extraction is far less than if we just left the oil there to continue polluting the waterways.” The “logic” of climate change deniers and anti-environmentalists is often baffling. Although the person who posted that comment doesn’t appear to claim professional background or knowledge, Canadian anti-environmentalist Patrick Moore — who capitalizes on his science degree and long-ago association with Greenpeace to shill for polluting industries — told the…

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Greatness comes from moving forward, not backward

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The battle lines are drawn — in some cases literally. On one side are those reaping massive profits from fossil fuels, determined to extract and sell as much as possible before the market dries up. On the other are those who see the amazing potential of energy conservation, renewable energy and other innovations to reduce pollution, greenhouse gas emissions, ecosystem destruction and exploitation of valuable non-renewable resources. Despite international initiatives like the 2015 Paris Agreement, based on decades of research and evidence from around the world about human-caused global warming, those who would risk human health and survival for short-term…

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Government must do more to address First Nations’ water woes

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Neskantaga First Nation in Ontario has had to boil water since 1995. “We’re over 20 years already where our people haven’t been able to get the water they need to drink from their taps or to bathe themselves without getting any rashes,” Neskantaga Chief Wayne Moonias told CBC News in 2015. Their water issues have yet to be resolved. They’re not alone. In fall last year, 156 drinking water advisories were in place in First Nations in Canada. More than 100 are routinely in effect — some for years or decades. According to a 2015 CBC investigation, “Two-thirds of all First…

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Understanding climate change means reading beyond headlines

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Seeing terms like “post-truth” and “alternative facts” gain traction in the news convinces me that politicians, media workers and readers could benefit from a refresher course in how science helps us understand the world. Reporting on science is difficult at the best of times. Trying to communicate complex ideas and distil entire studies into eye-catching headlines and brief stories can open the door to misinformation and limited understanding. Recent headlines about a climate study, “Shifting patterns of mild weather in response to projected radiative forcing”, in the February 2017 issue of Climatic Change illustrate the predicament. Some news outlets implied…

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Indigenous people are fighting for us all

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In the 1990s, the David Suzuki Foundation embarked on a program to develop community economic projects with coastal First Nations. Between 1998 and 2003, my wife and foundation co-founder, Tara Cullis, established relationships with 11 coastal communities from the tip of Vancouver Island to Haida Gwaii and Alaska, visiting each several times. She encountered unemployment and a desperate need for jobs and economic development in every community. Then came pressure for pipeline projects and court-mandated consultation with First Nations. Federal and provincial governments began offering huge financial incentives for pipeline approvals. But opposition remained strong because some things are more…

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We need to work less to live better

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Since the 1950s, almost everything about work in the developed world has changed dramatically. Rapid technological advances continue to render many jobs obsolete. Globalization has shifted employment to parts of the world with the lowest costs and standards. Most households have gone from one income-earner to at least two. Women have fully integrated into the workforce, albeit often with less-than-equal opportunities, conditions and pay. A lot of our work is unnecessary and often destructive — depleting resources, destroying ecosystems, polluting air, water and soil, and fuelling climate change. Yet we’re still working the same or more hours later into life…

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Anthropocentric view ignores crucial connections

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For decades, scientists have warned that we’re on a dangerous path. It stems from our delusion that endless growth in population, consumption and the economy is possible and is the very purpose of society. But endless growth is not feasible in a finite biosphere. Growth is not an end but a means. Humans are one species among countless others to which we are connected and on which we depend. Viewed that way, everything we do has repercussions and carries responsibilities. That we are part of a vast web is a biocentric way of seeing that we’ve followed for most of…

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We can learn so much from nature

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If you fly over a forest and look down, you’ll see every green tree and plant reaching to the heavens to absorb the ultimate energy source: sunlight. What a contrast when you look down on a city or town with its naked roofs, asphalt roads and concrete sidewalks, all ignoring the sun’s beneficence! Research shows we might benefit by thinking more like a forest. Solar roads could be a step in that direction. Roads, sidewalks and parking lots cover massive areas. Using them to generate power means less environmental disturbance, as no new land is needed to house solar power…

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