David Suzuki, a highly recognized international leader in sustainable ecology, was born in 1936 as a third generation Japanese-American in Canada. He received a doctorate in Zoology from the University of Chicago was a professor at the University of British Columbia for 38 years. Early academic studies targeted the genetics of fruit flies. He was such a phenomenon that he received the E.W.R Steacie Memorial Fellowship for being a spectacular research scientist in Canada. He is well-known as an environmentalist, a distinguished scientist, and a broadcaster. He is also the author of over 50 books for adults and children. One of his textbooks, "An Introduction to Genetic Analysis," written in 1976, is continually used today. It has been translated into seven different languages.
He is very much acknowledged through his unprecedented 30 years of prominent broadcasting programs. These programs included "Suzuki on Science," a television series called "The Nature of Things," a radio program called "Quirks and Quarks," and "Science Magazine," to name a few. However, it was the 1989 radio series "It’s a Matter of Survival," that sent shock-waves of panic and alarm through he country about the state of our planet which was heading towards catastrophic devastation of astronomical proportions. The people spoke out in fear and concern. After much planning and many meetings with the greatest of minds, the David Suzuki Foundation was established in 1990.
Through research and thorough investigation it was found that the people played a great part in the breakdown of the planet and thus the Foundation created the Declaration of Interdependence or foundation principals. The main thought is, “We can’t steal from the future to serve the present. We need to sustain and steward the Earth for our descendants.” The foundation’s goals are concerned with protecting nature and climate, building a community, transforming the economy and reconnecting with nature. One main focus is Canada’s forestry, fisheries andsustainability.
The David Suzuki Foundation partnered with many international entities from its inception to protect salmon or restore clam fishery. Some of these groups included the Ainu of Japan, the Kayapo people of Brazil and the Indigenous people of Columbia. It also provided many publication guidelines for logging and annual reports on the Canadian rainforest. The Climate Change team currently includes health issues such as the fight for clean airand offering energy solutions. It is a proponent for going carbon neutral, assists governments in banning pesticides, works with chefs to change over to sustainable seafood, and developed the Nature Challenge for green living tips to use in our everyday lives. The foundation’s affect on the environment has gone global. Guidelines are even provided to help businesses decrease their impact on the environment.
David Suzuki has and still is making an impact in our world. His honors and awards are nothing short of staggering, and serve to provide proof of his accolades. Some of these awards include the UNESCO Kalinga Prize for Science, the United Nations Environment Program Medal, Companion of the Order of Canada, 25 honorary doctorates, and the Right Livelihood Award, established to recognize those “offering practical and exemplary answers to the most urgent challenges facing us today.” It is also considered to be the “Alternative Nobel Prize.” These prestigious accomplishments are a major feat for a man who was interned with his parents and siblings in a British Columbia camp during World War II at a very tender age. Truly he has set a great example by informing and teaching on saving the planet, and his carbon footprint solidifies his passion and beliefs.