David Suzuki

Air Dates: November 17-19, 2012

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This week's guest on REPORT FROM SANTA FE is Dr. David Suzuki, scientist, geneticist, and author of 52 books. He is considered a Canadian icon having received the Order of Canada, and also named one of ten of the “Greatest Canadians” that have ever lived. Dr. Suzuki has been awarded 27 honorary degrees, as well as UNESCO's Kalinga Prize for the Popularization of Science, the UN Environment Program Medal, and the 2009 Right Livelihood Award (also known as the Alternative Nobel Prize). He is a popular science broadcaster and hosted CBC's “The Nature of Things,” seen in over 50 nations, from the 1970s. David Suzuki talks with Lorene Mills about big ideas about the human race. He cites one of humanity's earliest abilities, to think and act with foresight, and contrasts that with the disconnect happening now regarding the future of humanity and the destruction of the environment. He calls on the Elders of our time, those who remember a truly different global environment, to step into a role of education and custodianship. He stresses how much the environment is a part of us, as much as we are a part of it, and challenges us to seize this moment in time to take action to save the resources we have left, and to use the foresight that makes us, fundamentally, human. We have become a force of nature. Basically we’ve become so powerful that we are altering the chemical, physical, and biological properties of the planet. So, we are a super species. There’s never been a species able to do this in the four billion years that life has existed on the planet. -- QUOTES from Suzuki: “It is really mystifying to me that people who say the economy is the highest priority, it is everything. Well, surely if the economy is the highest priority, we ought to be asking, what is an economy for? How much is enough? Are there any limits? We ought to be asking, are we happier with all this stuff? I mean surely those are critical questions. But no, we just take the economy as something we’ve got to keep serving, it’s got to keep growing, or else we’re in deep trouble. There are a lot of people saying we’re at the end of growth.” “We put everything together, and we did something no other animal has - we invented an idea called the future. I mean the future doesn’t exist except as an idea in the human mind…. I believe foresight was the great characteristic that enabled us to escape from Africa and literally take over the planet. And yet today we have top scientists using supercomputers in the best tradition of our species, looking ahead, seeing where we’re going, and telling us where the dangers lie. And they have been warning us for 40 years -- we are so powerful; we are changing the chemistry of the atmosphere.”