Author David Suzuki

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

By 2002, drivers in London, England, were spending as much as half their commuting time stalled in traffic, contributing to much of the city centre’s dangerous particulate pollution. To deal with a growing population, increasing gridlock and air quality concerns, the city implemented a congestion charge, using a photo-based licence-recognition system. Between 7 a.m. and 6 p.m. on weekdays, drivers entering a 21-square-kilometre zone in Central London are charged a fee, which has risen from about C$8.50 in 2003 to $20 now. The city offers discounts or exemptions for zone residents, people with disabilities, emergency vehicles, motorcycles and taxis. Congestion…

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According to an African proverb (and the Dalai Lama), “If you think you’re too small to make a difference, try sleeping in a closed room with a mosquito.” The saying implies that even when we feel insignificant and powerless, we can create a buzz. But mosquitoes and other tiny critters can literally have a huge impact. An insect no bigger than a grain of rice, fortified by climate change, has devastated forests in British Columbia and beyond. Warmer winters have allowed the mountain pine beetle to move further north and survive and thrive in places where cold temperatures once halted…

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Shortly after completing my PhD in the U.S., I taught in the University of Alberta’s genetics department. It’s also where I started my broadcasting career. I’m honoured that the university is giving me an honorary degree for being “the face of environmental consciousness to generations of Canadians as well as viewers in more than 40 countries worldwide.” Although I’m just one of 13 people receiving honorary degrees in June, my award has stirred up controversy. As flattering as it is to be made the fulcrum of debate surrounding fossil fuels, climate change and humanity’s future, this isn’t about me. After…

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Canada has taken a major step in cleaning up its oil and gas sector. We’re the first country to commit to methane emission regulations for the industry, marking an important shift toward climate protection. The new regulations help uphold a major plank in the Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change, under which Canada committed to cutting oil and gas industry methane pollution by 40 to 45 per cent over the next eight years. The policy represents the most significant contribution to holding industry accountable for reducing its greenhouse gas emissions. Why is this a big deal? Methane is…

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“We’re not going to get off fossil fuels overnight!” How many times have you heard that? Over the decades I’ve been hearing it, we’ve increased exploration and development, continued to build infrastructure that locks us in to fossil fuels for years to come, increased greenhouse gas emissions and pollution, and failed to conserve energy and develop clean energy to the extent necessary to prevent catastrophic global climate change. At some point, the phrase just becomes an excuse for procrastination. People aren’t terribly good at averting the biggest crisis humanity faces, but we’re masters at concocting excuses to do as little…

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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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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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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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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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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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