David Suzuki is co-founder of the David Suzuki Foundation, an award-winning scientist, environmentalist and broadcaster. He is also a renowned rabble-raiser.
The David Suzuki Foundation works through science and education to protect the diversity of nature and our quality of life, now and for the future.
With a goal of achieving sustainability within a generation, the Foundation collaborates with scientists, business and industry, academia, government and non-governmental organizations. We seek the best research to provide innovative solutions that will help build a clean, competitive economy that does not threaten the natural services that support all life.
Scientists often come up with new discoveries, technologies or theories. But sometimes they rediscover what our ancestors already knew. A couple of recent findings show we have a lot to learn from our forebears – and nature – about bugs.
Modern methods of controlling pests have consisted mainly of poisoning them with chemicals. But that’s led to problems. Pesticides kill far more than the bugs they target, and pollute air, water and soil. As we learned with the widespread use of DDT to control agricultural pests and mosquitoes, chemicals can bioaccumulate, meaning molecules may concentrate hundreds of thousands of times up the food web – eventually reaching people.
My parents lived through the Great Depression of the 1930s and were profoundly affected by it. They taught us to work hard to earn a living, live within our means, save for tomorrow, share and not be greedy and help our neighbours because one day we might need their help. Those homilies and teachings seem quaint in today’s world of credit cards, hyper-consumption and massive debt.
Some people think a widespread shift from fossil fuels to cleaner energy sources is not practical or even possible. You've probably heard the arguments: wind doesn't always blow, sun doesn't always shine, the technology's not advanced enough, installations take up too much space, we need sources of baseload power that can only come from fossil fuels or nuclear power. And so we carry on, rushing to squeeze every last drop of oil and gas from the ground using increasingly difficult and destructive methods like fracking, deep-sea drilling and oil sands extraction, with seemingly little concern for what we'll do after we've burned it all.
Is your office bad for your health and well-being? Unfortunately, a growing body of scientific evidence says yes.
The modern workday pose -- fingers on keyboard, slight slouch, glassy eyes fixed on glowing screen, bathed in unnatural light – can drain vitality, happiness and creativity. Designed to maximize efficiency, this sterile setup actually reduces productivity and job satisfaction.
Opposition to windmills often centres on health effects, but what is it about wind power that causes people to feel ill? According to recent research, it may not be the infrasound from wind-energy installations but, oddly enough, the warnings from opponents.
Access to information is a basic foundation of democracy. Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms also gives us “freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression, including freedom of the press and other media of communication.”
The federal government recently pulled out of an important global treaty: the UN Convention to Combat Desertification. It’s aimed at fighting drought, a problem that affects almost 30 per cent of Earth’s land surface and threatens the well-being of more than a billion people worldwide, including in our Prairie provinces.
Every year, the cumulative effects of overgrazing, over-cultivation, deforestation, poor irrigation and increasing extreme weather events – including those that cause drought – permanently degrade close to 10 million hectares of land. This has led to a creeping loss of places where food can easily be grown.
Few places on Earth have been untouched by humans, according to a study in the journal Science. Satellite images taken from hundreds of kilometres above the planet reveal a world that we have irrevocably changed within a remarkably short time.
Ontario’s Healthy Kids Panel recently proposed a strategy to help kids get onto a path to health. The problem is that the path doesn’t lead them into nature. Though the report quotes parents’ comments and research showing kids spend dramatically less time outside than ever, it doesn’t encourage time in nature.
That said, many of the report’s recommendations should be implemented and supported locally, provincially and nationally to reduce the risks of obesity. Encouraging parents and children to be more critical about dietary choices and requiring more information and labelling from restaurants and food producers is long overdue.