Author David Suzuki

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

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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Orca survival depends on protecting chinook salmon

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Two of British Columbia’s most iconic species, chinook salmon and southern resident killer whales, are in trouble. The whale depends on the salmon for survival. Is it time to manage chinook fisheries with killer whales in mind? In marine ecosystems, cause and effect is a challenge. It’s almost impossible to claim with certainty that depletion of one species is caused by abundance or lack of another. The general rule is that big things eat smaller things, so any given species will eat dozens of others, even their smaller kin. The southern resident killer whales, also known as orcas, are an…

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Nature offers the best defence against flooding

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Spring flooding in Canada this year upended lives, inundated city streets and swamped houses, prompting calls for sandbags, seawalls and dikes to save communities. Ontario and Quebec’s April rainfall was double the 30-year average. Thousands of homes in 130 Quebec municipalities stretching from the Ontario border to the Gaspé Peninsula flooded in May. Montreal residents raced to protect their homes and families as three dikes gave way and the city declared a state of emergency. The Ontario government had to boost its resources for an emergency flood response. In Atlantic Canada, some parts of New Brunswick recorded more than 150…

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Bicycling never gets old

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Two hundred years ago this month, an environmental and fuel crisis inspired one of our greatest inventions — a device so simple, efficient and useful that it’s turning out to be part of the solution to today’s environmental and fuel crises. As a Treehugger article explains, the eruption of Indonesia’s Mount Tambora in April 1815 spewed so much ash and sulphur dioxide into the atmosphere that it blackened skies, and 1816 became known as the year without summer in much of Europe and North America. The largest volcanic eruption in recorded history led to widespread crop failure and famine. Livestock…

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Trump is a pariah in the face of climate crisis

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In withdrawing from the Paris Agreement, U.S. President Donald Trump demonstrated monumental ignorance about climate change and the agreement itself. As Vox energy and climate writer David Roberts noted about Trump’s announcement, “It is a remarkable address, in its own way, in that virtually every passage contains something false or misleading.” From absurd claims that the voluntary agreement will impose “draconian financial and economic burdens” on the U.S. to petty, irrational fears that it confers advantages to other countries to the misguided notion that it can and should be renegotiated, Trump is either misinformed or lying. The agreement to limit…

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Protecting oceans is paying off

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Do you remember Harry Potter’s invisibility cloak? It turns out wizards aren’t the only ones who can vanish from sight with a special coat. Marine researchers have discovered shrimp-like crustaceans called hyperiids that can hide in the open using internal nanotechnology to cloak themselves in invisibility. That’s just one among many fascinating discoveries to celebrate on World Oceans Day, June 8. Last summer, scientists confirmed the elusive Greenland shark can live up to 400 years, beating out ancient bowhead whales and rougheye rockfish for the longest documented lifespan of any vertebrate. Researchers are just starting to learn about the two-metre, scale-free…

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World Environment Day reminds us to reconnect with nature

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The notion that we must conquer or dominate nature has governed human behaviour for a relatively short period of our 150,000-year history on this 4.5-billion-year-old planet. It’s an understandable impulse. Our intelligence and foresight allowed us to develop complex societies, and gave us a sense of control over our existence in the face of powerful, often threatening natural forces. Unfortunately, our lack of attention to the intricate and interconnected ways of nature has led to widespread devastation that now threatens the very systems that support human health and survival. We have become disconnected from our own true nature. The more…

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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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