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A conversation with David Suzuki on his 75th birthday

April 13, 2011 • Climate Change & Mitigation, Daily Email Recap

Thanks to Harriet Mitteldorf for this interview with David Suzuki.  See http://www.commonground.ca/iss/236/cg236_interview.shtml

March 2011
Sustainable activism

A conversation with David Suzuki on his 75th birthday

Interview by Joseph Roberts

Joseph Roberts: How did it all begin?

David Suzuki: We started when the Worldwatch Institute said it’s the turnaround decade. We thought we were only going to be here for 10 years. So we said every dollar we raise we’re going to spend because we don’t have time. Who would’ve imagined that 20 years later we’d still be here and that conditions would be worse.

JR: And it hasn’t turned around.

DS: No. We’ve had five years now of the most anti-environmental government we’ve ever had. We have a leader who claims the economy is his highest priority, proroguing parliament to focus on the economy and yet a leading economist like Sir Nicholas Stern says if we don’t deal with climate change it’s going to destroy the global economy. Our prime minister has never, ever, said this is an important issue affecting Canada and we’ve got to do something.

JR: My concern now is the way global economics is actually speeding up the destruction. With the UN declaring 2011 the International Year of the Forest and we have less than a third of the forest left on this planet, what is to be done?

DS: From my standpoint, I don’t attend international meetings anymore. I went to Rio in ’92 and Kyoto in ’97. And we’ve had, you know, the Year of the Child and the Year of the Ocean and God knows all these wonderful things, but so long as we cling to this economic system, I don’t see any way out of it. As you said, it’s this economic drive that is just trashing the planet.

JR: At universities today, a higher percentage of students are focusing on the so-called ‘financial industries’ and less and less on the sciences and the arts.

DS: My parents were survivors of the depression and the lessons they taught me were, to me, very important. Live within your means, save some for tomorrow, help your neighbour as you never know when you might need their help. Simple lessons. My dad and mom said you need money to buy the necessities in life, but you don’t run after money as if having more makes you a better or more important person. My parents didn’t like to talk about money. They felt there was something about that – that you don’t just obsess over it. Now, we have over 500 billionaires. How can any human being be worth a billion dollars, and at a time when two billion people live on two dollars or less a day? This is an obscenity.

To read the rest of the interview, please click here: http://www.commonground.ca/iss/236/cg236_interview.shtml


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