(Climate change David Suzuki calls for a new look at world interdependence – Photo: Jon Yu)
EDMONTON (CUP) — While explaining to a University of Alberta education class the importance of seeing the world as fundamentally interconnected, David Suzuki criticized the Alberta government’s opposition to ratifying the Kyoto agreement.
“We’ve had that argument for 200 years: the economy comes before the right thing to do,” said Suzuki. “When Rachel Carson published Silent Spring [a seminal book on the effects of DDT], the immediate response from the chemical industry was bullshit, there’s no proof at all.”
“[Alberta’s opposition has] absolutely no credibility because it’s predictable and it’s always the same bloody thing,” said Suzuki. “And I’m shocked that someone as eminent as Peter Lougheed will get sucked into this whole thing.”
Suzuki, a noted CBC broadcaster and environmentalist, visited campus last Thursday to promote his CBC series Sacred Balance. The series details Suzuki’s environmental philosophy, describing the global environment as crucially interdependent and very vulnerable to human actions.
While the economy has increasingly become the bottom line in world decisions, said Suzuki, global emphasis should truly be on the needs of the planet: clean air, water, energy, and biodiversity.
“We’re trying to protect the economy at all costs, instead of the planet that supports us,” said Suzuki.
But Suzuki also stressed an unusual aspect in his view of the world: the human need for love in the world.
Only through love can humans truly realize themselves, and find the empathy to take care of the planet they are given, said Suzuki.
“When I say [love], I find that scientists’ eyeballs just turn up and they go, “?My God, he’s finally flipped out and gone over to the New Age side,'” laughed Suzuki. “But I mean that in the most scientifically profound way.”
The solutions to the commodification of the planet, said Suzuki, can only rest with the careful but determined action of people. Suzuki highlighted cities as opportunities for efficiency, urging the reduction of car use and efficient transit, and championing diversity in city neighbourhoods rather than homogenization.
“If you own a sports utility vehicle, you don’t give a shit about the environment, so let’s just say it the way it is,” said Suzuki.
Suzuki also outlined a goal of reaching one million individuals with his message, and asking them to change small things about their lifestyles in order to recognize the precarious situation the planet faces.
“Each of us is insignificant”?we’re just a tiny part of a big problem. But if millions of us take small steps to change our lives, then we have something,” said Suzuki. “If Rick Mercer can get 1.5 million people to ask Stockwell Day to change his name to Doris, then we can get a million people to do something about our home, the biosphere.”
Suzuki’s visit wasn’t a new event: he taught genetics at the University of Alberta from 1962 to 1963, his first teaching job after graduating from college. He will return on Jan. 9 as part of the student union’s Revolutionary Speaker Series, which featured Ralph Nader last month.