David Suzuki

David Suzuki

Environmentalist and Host of The Nature of Things

Speaker Categories: Environmental | Education | Philanthropy | Virtual Keynotes | COVID-19

Travels From: -, Canada.

Speaker Fee Range: $20,001 to $40,000*

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Environmentalist and Host of The Nature of Things

David Suzuki, Co-Founder of the David Suzuki Foundation, is an award-winning scientist, environmentalist and broadcaster. He is renowned for his radio and television programs that explain the complexities of the natural sciences in a compelling, easily understood way.

Education

Dr. Suzuki is a geneticist. He graduated from Amherst College (Massachusetts) in 1958 with an Honours BA in Biology, followed by a Ph.D. in Zoology from the University of Chicago in 1961. He held a research associateship in the Biology Division of Tennessee's Oak Ridge National Lab (1961 – 62), was an Assistant Professor in Genetics at the University of Alberta (1962 – 63), and since then has been a faculty member of the University of British Columbia. He is now Professor Emeritus at UBC.

Awards

In 1972, he was awarded the E.W.R. Steacie Memorial Fellowship for the outstanding research scientist in Canada under the age of 35 and held it for three years. He has won numerous academic awards and holds 25 honourary degrees in Canada, the U.S. and Australia. He was elected to the Royal Society of Canada and is a Companion of the Order of Canada. Dr. Suzuki has written 52 books, including 19 for children. His 1976 textbook An Introduction to Genetic Analysis (with A.J.F. Griffiths), remains the most widely used genetics text book in the U.S. and has been translated into Italian, Spanish, Greek, Indonesian, Arabic, French and German.

Science Broadcaster

Dr. Suzuki has received consistently high acclaim for his thirty years of award-winning work in broadcasting. In 1974 he developed and hosted the long running popular science program Quirks and Quarks on CBC Radio for four years. He has since presented two influential documentary CBC radio series on the environment, It's a Matter of Survival and From Naked Ape to Superspecies. His national television career began with CBC in 1971 when he wrote and hosted Suzuki on Science. He was host of Science Magazine (1974 – 79) then created and hosted a number of television specials, and in 1979 became the host of the award-winning series, The Nature of Things with David Suzuki. He has won four Gemini Awards as best host of different Canadian television series. His eight part television series, A Planet for the Taking, won an award from the United Nations. His eight part BBC/PBS series, The Secret of Life, was praised internationally, as was his five part series The Brain for the Discovery Channel. On June 10, 2002 he received the John Drainie Award for broadcasting excellence.

Sustainability

Dr. Suzuki is also recognized as a world leader in sustainable ecology. He is the recipient of UNESCO's Kalinga Prize for Science, the United Nations Environment Program Medal, UNEPs Global 500 and in 2009 won the Right Livelihood Award that is considered the Alternative Nobel Prize.

The Sacred Balance-Rediscovering Our Place in Nature

David Suzuki argues that the real bottom line, and society’s challenge today, is not debts and deficits, but the need to live full and meaningful lives without destroying the Earth’s biosphere, which supports all life. Suzuki explores the physical, social, and spiritual needs that form the basis of any society that aspires to a sustainable future and a high quality life for its citizens. Those fundamental requirements are rooted in the Earth and its life support systems. They are worthy of reverence and respect; they are sacred.

The Challenge of the 21st Century: Setting the Real Bottom Line

Developments in science and technology have resulted in a seismic shift in the way the majority of people live, and we have now undeniably altered the biological, physical and chemical properties of the planet. Traditional people refer to the Earth as their ‘Mother’ and tell us we are made of the four sacred elements: earth, air, fire and water. Today science is now verifying this ancient wisdom – that we are all biological beings with an absolute dependence on clean air, water, soil and sunlight for our well being. Diversity at the genetic, species, ecosystem and cultural level is critical for long-term resilience and adaptability. How do we ensure this? We need a different set of priorities to become our bottom line for evaluating life in the twenty-first century.

What Can We Learn from COVID-19 and Where Do We Go Now? (Virtual Keynote)

The Covid-19 crisis has had two enormous and related consequences: 1) brought much of human activity to a halt and 2) given nature a respite from human activity. Both provide an opportunity to reset society’s priorities and to head in a different direction. Confrontation with the reality of a new epidemic has subdued political and economic imperatives to scientific reality. In a time of accusations of fake media, deep conspiracies, and relentless trolls, scientists have regained authoritative prominence. Confined and restricted from normal lifestyles, people have had to confront important questions about purpose, values, opportunities, and constraints in the way we as individuals and societies live. Nature – air, water, soil, energy, biodiversity – is the very source of our lives and well-being, but in the 20th century, humanity changed from rural agricultural living to inhabitants of big cities where our highest priority became our jobs. And so, the economy assumed greatest prominence in our values and we failed to ask the most important questions about this human creation called the economy, namely: What is an economy for? Where does nature fit in an economy? What is the value of nature and the spiritual? What are the limits? How much is enough? Are we happier with the sheer quantity of consumer items? The lockdown also reveals the way we care for elders who are often castigated as a “drain on the economy”, expendable and a nuisance. We see unmet fundamental needs of isolated Indigenous communities, of the poor and street people. This is our moment to reset our priorities. In the battle for action on climate change, we have often been stymied by the lack of funds, yet governments find enormous resources to bail out automotive and fossil fuel industries in economic downturns. It is astounding to see how the Covid-19 crisis has opened new avenues of spending without dissent about increasing deficits or overspending. I lived through two other remarkable crises- World War II and the Soviet launch of Sputnik – both of which resulted in enormous economic and technological benefits for humankind and both deserve to be discussed. Finally, the restriction of human activity during the lockdown has not only given us clean air and silence, nature has shocked us with its resilience. This is the ultimate lesson, that nature can be far more forgiving than we deserve. So post Covid-19, let’s continue to allow her to recover and put our efforts into living green and creating jobs that restore Earth’s sustainable productivity.

Good News for a Change: Hope for a Troubled Planet

  • Tree: A Life Story
    Tree: A Life Story Purchase Book
  • Letters to My Grandchildren: Wisdom and Inspiration from One of the Most Important Thinkers on the Planet
    Letters to My Grandchildren: Wisdom and Inspiration from One of the Most Important Thinkers on the Planet Purchase Book
  • The Blue Dot: Defending the Only Planet We've Got
    The Blue Dot: Defending the Only Planet We've Got Purchase Book

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  • Tree: A Life Story
    Tree: A Life Story Purchase Book
  • Letters to My Grandchildren: Wisdom and Inspiration from One of the Most Important Thinkers on the Planet
    Letters to My Grandchildren: Wisdom and Inspiration from One of the Most Important Thinkers on the Planet Purchase Book

Testimonials

  • David was a major success as I knew he would be. 580 students and 50-plus faculty listened to him with rapt attention. Many people commented on his warmth, wit, humor, touch of irreverence, and brilliance in his field. A lively Q&A period followed where about 70 students and ten faculty attended. Many conversations ensued in the science department and other classes in the days that followed. He raised many questions and some were controversial for the more conservative students. This was to be expected and it made for a great learning experience for everyone. Academic freedom of expression is something we cherish at Taft. A good debate about critical issues is important. We were very pleased with his overall performance. It was wonderful! Thanks for the help!


    Taft School Chaplain
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