Author David Suzuki

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

Can emissions shrink while the economy grows?

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What does climate change have to do with economic growth? Canada’s prime minister and premiers signed a deal in December to “grow our economy, reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, and build resilience to the impacts of a changing climate.” The Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change outlines plans for carbon pricing, energy-efficient building codes, electric vehicle charging stations, methane emission regulations and more. Is the framework correct in assuming we can reduce greenhouse gas emissions and grow the economy? If not, which should be given precedence? These questions come at a pivotal moment in Canadian climate action. The…

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Nature offers solutions to water woes and flood risks

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When the Aztecs founded Tenochtitlán in 1325, they built it on a large island on Lake Texcoco. Its eventual 200,000-plus inhabitants relied on canals, levees, dikes, floating gardens, aqueducts and bridges for defence, transportation, flood control, drinking water and food. After the Spaniards conquered the city in 1521, they drained the lake and built Mexico City over it. The now-sprawling metropolis, with 100 times the number of inhabitants as Tenochtitlán at its peak, is fascinating, with lively culture, complex history and diverse architecture. It’s also a mess. Water shortages, water contamination and wastewater issues add to the complications of crime,…

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Study finds Exxon misled the public by withholding climate knowledge

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Coal, oil and gas are tremendous resources: solar energy absorbed by plants and super-concentrated over millions of years. They’re potent fuels and provide ingredients for valuable products. But the oil boom, spurred by improved drilling technology, came at the wrong time. Profits were (and still are) the priority — rather than finding the best, most efficient uses for finite resources. In North America, governments and corporations facilitated infrastructure to get people to use oil and gas as if they were limitless. Companies like Ford built cars bigger than necessary, and although early models ran on ethanol, the oil boom made…

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When times get dark, we must shine brighter

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Are we entering a new Dark Age? Lately it seems so. News reports are enough to make anyone want to crawl into bed and hide under the covers. But it’s time to rise and shine. To resolve the crises humanity faces, good people must come together. It’s one lesson from Charlottesville, Virginia. It would be easy to dismiss the handful of heavily armed, polo-shirted, tiki-torch terrorists who recently marched there if they weren’t so dangerous and representative of a disturbing trend that the current U.S. president and his administration have emboldened. Racism, hatred and ignorance aren’t uniquely American. Fanatics acting…

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Wildfires are a climate change wake-up call

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Wildfires are sweeping B.C. Close to 900 have burned through 600,000 hectares so far this year, blanketing western North America with smoke. Fighting them has cost more than $230 million — and the season is far from over. It’s not just B.C. Thousands of people from B.C. to California have fled homes as fires rage. Greenland is experiencing the largest blaze ever recorded, one that Prof. Stef Lhermitte of Delft University in the Netherlands called “a rare and unusual event.” Fires have spread throughout Europe, North America and elsewhere. In June, dozens of people died in what’s being called Portugal’s…

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We only have one Earth, and we’re overshooting its capacity

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August 2 was Earth Overshoot Day. Unlike Earth Day or Canada Day, it’s not a time to celebrate. As the Earth Overshoot Day website explains, it marks the time when “we will have used more from nature than our planet can renew in the whole year.” That is the definition of unsustainable and means we’re using up the biological capital that should be our children’s legacy. We would require 1.7 Earths to meet our current annual demands sustainably. It doesn’t have to be this way. “Our planet is finite, but human possibilities are not. Living within the means of one planet is…

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Environmental Protection Act review could strengthen human rights

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Governments change — along with laws, regulations and priorities. It’s the nature of democracies. In Canada, we’ve seen environmental laws implemented, then weakened or overturned, then strengthened and re-instated. But the basic necessities of health, well-being and life shouldn’t be subject to the shifting agendas of political parties. That’s why Canada should recognize the right to a healthy environment in its Constitution — something 110 countries already do. We’re a ways from that, but some promising developments give hope for the possibility that all people in Canada may soon enjoy the right to breathe fresh air, drink clean water, eat…

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Local action needed to resolve world’s biggest problems

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Humans are an astonishing anomaly. As many species teeter on extinction, our populations grow in size and complexity. From exploring space to eradicating diseases and other remarkable achievements, human curiosity has pushed the outer limits of our physical universe. Yet our ability to embrace shared values has been challenging. More than a billion people live in poverty, inequality gaps are expanding, and we face unprecedented environmental challenges that threaten our survival. To confront these, heads of states met in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in 1992 and established sustainable development as a global undertaking. Known as Agenda 21, the non-binding plan…

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Plastic straws suck

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Of all the plastic products we use and take for granted, plastic drinking straws are among the most unnecessary. Designed to be used once and discarded, their only real purpose is to keep your mouth from touching a glass or ice. It made more sense in the days when contaminated vessels were more of an issue. Now, there’s a movement to get people and businesses to ditch the straws. It may not seem like a big deal, but it is. In the U.S. alone, people discard 500 million straws every day, or more than 180 billion a year. That’s about…

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Butterflyways blooming throughout the land

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Pollinator pathway. Bumblebee highway. River of Flowers. Bee Line. These have all described habitat corridors created to help pollinators like bees and butterflies. We can add Butterflyways to the list. Residents of Toronto and Richmond, B.C., recently celebrated official designation of neighbourhood Butterflyways. The David Suzuki Foundation began its Butterflyway Project earlier this year, recruiting more than 150 residents in five Canadian cities as the first Butterflyway Rangers. These volunteers learned how to help local pollinators flourish. They returned to their neighbourhoods with a mission: create a local Butterflyway by planting at least a dozen pollinator patches filled with native…

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