A Special Message from David Suzuki

My wife Tara and I spend as much time as we can with our kids and grandkids — a great privilege. The children’s exuberant energy, infinite curiosity and profound wonder leave us happily exhausted.

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

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 these crises 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. Remember Greta and the worldwide mass demonstrations before COVID?

People in Canada want climate action.

Last year, the federal government passed a game-changing accountability law to ensure it meets climate targets. This year’s emissions reduction plan focuses on the oil and gas sector — our largest and still growing emissions source — for the first time. A bill before Parliament is pushing Canada to recognize every person in Canada’s right to a healthy environment. And because one-quarter of Canada’s poorest neighbourhoods are within a kilometre of a polluting facility, compared to just seven per cent of the wealthiest, another highlights the need to prevent environmental racism and promote environmental justice.

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 political promises that may not be kept. Our species and the others that share this precious world need clean air, safe water, toxic-free food and a stable climate.

Decisions made today will determine the future for decades to come.

Let’s follow the example in science fiction movies as all countries unite to fight an alien invasion. We can 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, 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 radical!

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.

I’m proud to be radical. How about you?

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