Some used to view David Suzuki as a slightly eccentric tree-hugger. Now many of those same people are calling him a prophet. Canada’s leading environmentalist and host of CBC’s “The Nature of Things” received yet another honor for his groundbreaking work recently. The Right Livelihood Awards, regarded by many as the “alternative Nobel Prizes”, were established in 1980 by European philanthropist Jakob von Uexkull, and celebrate activists fighting climate change or nuclear weapons, or providing medical treatment to those living in poverty. A Congolese man by the name of Rene Ngongo won the prize for his work dealing with the rain forests, and Alyn Ware, a Kiwi, won for his decades-long struggle to promote world peace. The final prizewinner was Dr. Catherine Hamlin, an Australian who currently lives in Ethiopia promoting women’s health.
David Suzuki, 73, is known for his radio, TV, book, and public speaking series, as well as his criticism of world governments for their lethargic response to climate change. Suzuki’s family was sent to an internment camp in World War II, after which he moved from Vancouver to London, Ontario. He later returned to Vancouver and taught at UBC for almost 40 years.
On a more local note, I recently had the opportunity to take in a climate change-oriented presentation by the Maritimes’ pre-eminent environmentalist, Richard Zurawski, who has authored several books on weather and climate in the Maritimes. It was a powerful presentation, and anyone who has the opportunity to see him should. A few of his strongest points involved a change needed in industry, due to the extremely high greenhouse gas emissions put out by industry versus private citizens, and Nova Scotia needing to be a model for others – we’re not large enough to have a measurable effect ourselves, but we can show the world how to make itself greener. At the end, he took questions, all of which were handled extremely well, and had innovative ideas, some of which were included in his talk, while to hear others, you had to engage him in one-on-one dialogue. His final lines of his presentation summed it up best. They were along the lines of: “You may not agree with all my solutions to global warming. You won’t be able to implement them all – no one can. You have to pick and choose which ones you want to do. We can sit here all day and argue about the solutions to global warming. But you can’t argue the science. It’s happening.”
Carsten MacLean is the President of the BRHS Climate Change Committee, and involved in various local social and environmental groups. He would like to congratulate the BRHS Sr. Boys soccer team on their record-setting 4th straight Provincial Championship.