Author David Suzuki

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

Contrary to a common perception, ignoring climate change won’t make it disappear. Global research going back to 1824 in fields ranging through physics, oceanography, biology and geology have confirmed human activity — mainly burning fossil fuels, raising livestock and destroying carbon sinks like forests and wetlands — is increasing greenhouse gas emissions and causing global temperatures to rise rapidly, putting humanity at risk. Every legitimate scientific academy and institution and every government, except the current U.S. administration, agrees. Yet the disconnect between that reality and government action to confront the greatest crisis humanity faces is astounding. Nowhere is that disconnect…

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All nine community water systems on Lytton First Nation land in B.C. have been under boil water advisories at one time or another. Now the First Nation is taking an innovative approach to resolving its drinking water problems. It’s working with public and private organizations and universities in a “circle of trust” to identify challenges and test solutions in real-world conditions. The approach came about as the result of a partnership with RES’EAU-WaterNET, a strategic research network under the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada. Because problems with drinking water systems vary, RES’EAU-WaterNET works with communities like Lytton…

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People sometimes get bugged by insects, but we need them. They play essential roles in pollination, combatting unwanted agricultural pests, recycling organic matter, feeding fish, birds and bats, and much more. They’re the most numerous and diverse animals on Earth and form the base of many terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems. Our admiration for these critters goes beyond their ability to adapt, their fantastically diverse colours and shapes, and their accomplishments that create dramatic impacts on our world’s functioning. Could the same six-legged creatures that form the backbone of ecosystem services also help minimize humanity’s environmental footprint? Could insects revolutionize the…

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Canada is losing a lot of its wildlife. The World Wildlife Fund’s 2017 Living Planet Report Canada found half the monitored mammal, bird, reptile, amphibian and fish species declined from 1970 to 2014. Threatened and endangered species continue to disappear despite federal legislation designed to protect them and help their populations recover. What’s going wrong? The report puts the blame on habitat loss, farming, forestry, urban and industrial development, climate change, pollution, invasive species and overfishing — all related to human activity. One reason plant and animal populations continue to suffer is that protection under the Species at Risk Act is plagued…

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Angel Gurria sounds like the leader of an environmental or social justice group. In a recent University of Toronto lecture, “Climate Action: Time for Implementation”, he stressed that climate change is a public health issue “disproportionately affecting the most vulnerable as well as those least responsible for anthropogenic warming.” Gurria is Secretary-General of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, a group representing some of the richest, most industrialized nations on Earth. He said the Toronto lecture was his third climate talk in recent years. In the first, he argued that fossil fuel emissions to the atmosphere must be “completely…

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Brazil has flooded large swaths of the Amazon for hydro dams, despite opposition from Indigenous Peoples, environmentalists and others. The country gets 70 per cent of its electricity from hydropower. Brazil’s government had plans to expand development, opening half the Amazon basin to hydro. But a surprising announcement could halt that. In an interview with O Globo, Mines and Energy Executive Secretary Paulo Pedrosa said the government is reconsidering hydro construction in the face of societal pressure, environmental damage and increasingly competitive renewable energy options. We can see parallels in Canada, where large hydro projects have been pushed through despite similar…

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My parents were born in Vancouver — Dad in 1909, Mom in 1911 — and married during the Great Depression. It was a difficult time that shaped their values and outlook, which they drummed into my sisters and me. “Save some for tomorrow,” they often scolded. “Share; don’t be greedy.” “Help others when they need it because one day you might need to ask for their help.” “Live within your means.” Their most important was, “You must work hard for the necessities in life, but don’t run after money as if having fancy clothes or big cars make you a…

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A year ago, we revisited the 1992 “World Scientists’ Warning to Humanity.” Signed by a majority of Nobel laureates in sciences at the time and more than 1,700 leading scientists worldwide, the document warned, “Human beings and the natural world are on a collision course.” It called for a new ethic that encompasses our responsibility to ourselves and nature and that recognizes our dependence on Earth and its natural systems. It also called for stabilizing human population through “improved social and economic conditions, and the adoption of effective, voluntary family planning.” Now, 25 years later, we’ve added two billion people,…

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Traditionally, we’ve labelled events over which we have no influence or control “acts of God” or “natural disasters.” But what’s “natural” about climate-induced disasters today? Scientists call the interval since the Industrial Revolution the “Anthropocene,” a period when our species hasbecome the major factor altering the biological, physical and chemical properties of the planet on a geological scale. Empowered by fossil fuel–driven technologies, a rapidly growing human population and an insatiable demand for constant growth in consumption and the global economy, our species is responsible for the calamitous consequences. We now know that the weight of water behind large dams…

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In their efforts to discredit renewable energy and support continued fossil fuel burning, many anti-environmentalists have circulated a dual image purporting to compare a lithium mine with an oilsands operation. It illustrates the level of dishonesty to which some will stoop to keep us on our current polluting, climate-disrupting path (although in some cases it could be ignorance). The image is a poor attempt to prove that lithium batteries and renewable energy are worse for the environment than energy from oilsands bitumen. The first problem is that the “lithium mine” is actually BHP Billiton’s Escondida copper mine in Chile (the…

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