Red Star Café’s very first blog post, in 2007, was about Rachel Carson’s centenary.
In those days, David Suzuki says, he considered himself a “hot-shot scientist” who wanted to make his mark in the world when he started his career as a geneticist in the 1960s.
Suzuki found himself inspired by a book by Rachel Carson, Silent Spring, which warned about the harmful effects of pesticides and led to the birth of the modern environmental movement.
“Those were days of battling,” said Suzuki. “We had issues and people were swept up. They got caught up in the excitement and the aura of stopping logging to protect old-growth rainforests, protecting pristine rivers. People loved that and began to look at the environment as a serious issue.”
“The bottom line is very clear,” he said. “We are animals and as animals, as biological creatures, if we don’t have clean air, clean water and clean soil that gives us our food and clean energy from the sun and biodiversity, if we don’t have those things, we’re dead . . . and yet we use air, water and soil as a garbage can and we cut down and destroy species.”
“I think David is, more than any one person, responsible for the environmental consciousness of Canadians,” says Elizabeth May, Green Party leader.
Says Miles Richardson, who led the Haida nation in the 1980s through a battle to stop the logging industry from threatening to destroy an old-growth forest on the northern coastal British Columbia islands: “I think David will be building his legacy until he draws his last breath. He’s very committed. . . . He’s one of those rare individuals in the world that has the courage to live their convictions and that’s a difficult thing to do and it’s sometimes a really painful thing to do, but he gives it his best.”
Those who dwell among the beauties and mysteries of the Earth are never alone or weary of life. — Rachel Carson
Suzuki at 75, from the Vancouver Sun.
Image: Nick O’Sullivan