A Special Message from David Suzuki


My wife Tara and I have spent much of lockdown with our kids and grandkids. The children’s exuberant energy, infinite curiosity and profound wonder leave us happily exhausted.

But I worry about the world we’re leaving them… 

Because the other global threats — climate catastrophe and mass species extinction — continue unabated. And they’re only going to get worse unless we take action. Fast.

Safeguarding Earth’s life-support systems is the best way to protect the future for our children and grandchildren.

Our major crises — pandemics, climate disruption and biodiversity loss — all have roots in our lack of recognition of our place in nature. We need transformational change to get to a radically different way for living on this planet. 

We must remember that we’re embedded in a complex web of relationships with — and dependent on — all other plant and animal species, and air, water, soil and sunlight. We must recognize our interconnectedness with nature and protect natural systems that make the planet habitable. 

In this time of enormous crises lies enormous opportunity. To resolve them requires commitment, tenacity and humility. Humanity is on the cusp of positive change, propelled by a tidal wave of people who want a safer, healthier world. 

People in Canada want climate action. Our Supreme Court affirmed that climate change is an emergency. The international youth-led climate movement is not backing down. The cost of renewable energy is plummeting and available to more people. Indigenous communities are leading on the transition to renewables in creative, culturally appropriate ways. Cities and towns are declaring climate emergencies and bringing in ambitious plans.

And in December 2020, the federal government released a plan that makes polluters pay, supports clean tech development and brings in cleaner transportation and fuel stands. But Canada still has far to go if we are going to meet our Paris Agreement responsibilities. 

We can’t afford to rest on possible incremental changes and promises that may not be kept. Our species and the myriad others that share this precious world — the only place in the universe known to harbour life — needed clean air, safe water, toxic-free food and a stable climate long before this pandemic. And we’ll need it afterward. 

Decisions made today will determine the future for decades to come. Let’s harness humanity’s collective power for the greatest common good: respecting, protecting and restoring nature so it can sustain all life.

In 2012, Joe Oliver, then Canada’s federal natural resources minister, called environmentalists “radicals” and the David Suzuki Foundation launched a campaign to take “radical” back. Radically Canadian started as a defence against those who ignore the urgency of climate change.

Today, being “radical” means something else.

It’s not about antagonism. It’s about unity, kindness and generosity — to each other and to the Earth that sustains us.

Caring about the air, water and land that give us life. Exploring ways to ensure Canada’s natural resources serve the national interest. Maintaining and strengthening values that have long defined our nation. Building on progress we’ve made over the years to create a society based on compassion, equity and respect for the people and places we love. If those qualities make us radicals, then I and many others wear the label proudly. We are radically Canadian!

The word “radical” comes from the Latin “radix,” which means “root.” Let’s get rooted to what really matters. Nature matters. Things once considered radical — a green economy and a just, equal, sustainable society — are now just common sense.