Interview with David Suzuki

Living in Canada, one cannot ignore David Suzuki. I had never heard of him before coming to Canada but in the past few years, as I became more environmentally-conscious, I have come to admire greatly the man and his work. Suzuki has recently made it to the list of top ten greatest Canadians and I’m currently engrossed in his autobiography. His passion and his commitment are very inspiring and Alan and I have really enjoyed watching the Suzuki Diaries, a recent documentary in which Suzuki and his daughter travel through Europe to look for environmental solutions. The documentary can be watched online. When it comes to the environment, many people get confused about what they can do to make an impact. Not everybody can become an activist or has the time to do in-depth research on the issue.  Working together with the Union of Concerned Scientists, the David Suzuki Foundation came up with a list of the ten most effective things we can do as individuals to protect our environment. Calling it the Nature Challenge, the David Suzuki Foundation asks each of us to commit to implement at least three (3) of the following ten steps in the coming year:

  1. Reduce home energy use by 10 percent
  2. Choose energy-efficient home and appliances
  3. Don’t use pesticides
  4. Eat meat-free meals one day a week
  5. Buy locally grown and produced food
  6. Choose a fuel-efficient vehicle
  7. Walk, bike, carpool or take public transit one day a week
  8. Choose a home close to work or school
  9. Support alternative transportation
  10. Learn more and share information with others

Since I live a 15- min walk from where I work/study, numbers 6-9 are not at all a problem. The choice of where we live is important. In Montreal, we lived in the suburbs and were highly dependent on our car to get around. I’ve always disliked our dependence on the automobile and even in the suburbs would try to encourage Alan to walk to the grocery store or take the bus. This dislike was not necessarily related to environmental concern – I simply don’t like driving in a car – but when it came time to move to Toronto I asked that we find a place at walking-distance to the university. This choice has paid us back manifold in the past five years. Yes, living downtown may represent a slightly higher cost in term of rent but the amount of money we have saved in transportation cost and quality of life has repaid that many times over. We gave up our car after a year in Toronto and even Alan, a man who got a driver’s license while still a teenager and has had his own car since he was 18 and who would never have thought possible to live without one, now campaigns for alternative transportation and tells everyone who would listen how much easier his life is without a car. But of course not everyone can make that choice since many places in North America cannot be reached without a car and not every major urban centre in this side of the world has an efficient public transit system. But in that case, there’s still much that can be done about using cars responsibly and choosing fuel-efficient vehicles. During the past year, I’ve focused on numbers 4 and 5. It really wasn’t hard. At least one-third of our meals are now meat-free, probably closer to half. We support local business and shop for locally-grown produce at the market and small stores around our home. We feel healthier than ever before. We have become more aware of our energy consumption – this is the area we can most improve upon since we are both technology geeks and have our computers on 24/7. One of the resolutions for the new year is to focus more on number 10. One of Alan’s good friends is thinking of getting rid of her car and take transit more after hearing him talk about it so often. It’s a small victory but who said you can’t change the world one person at a time? And here’s an interview with David Suzuki done by  WWF-Australia.

Author: guerson

Born and raised in Brazil, a Canadian stole my heart and took me to Canada in 1999. After seven years between Montreal and Toronto, we then moved to Barcelona, Spain, where I did research for my PhD thesis. This blog began as a chronicle of our adventures while living in Barcelona and exploring the old world and has acquired a life of its own after we moved back to Canada.

3 thoughts on “Interview with David Suzuki”

  1. Well we do have a very fuel-efficient car! Some of the other suggestions are harder for us as renters (our appliances are from the 1970s and 1980s, definitely not energy-efficient). I did change all of the light bulbs in the apartment to compact florescent ones.

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