David Suzuki in December 2009
David Takayoshi Suzuki
March 24, 1936
|Institutions||University of British Columbia|
|Thesis||Interchromosomal effects on crossing over in Drosophila melanogaster (1961)|
|Doctoral advisor||Bill Baker|
|Other academic advisors|
David Takayoshi Suzuki Canadian academic, science broadcaster and environmental activist. Suzuki earned a Ph.D. in zoology from the University of Chicago in 1961, and was a professor in the genetics department at the University of British Columbia from 1963 until his retirement in 2001. Since the mid-1970s, Suzuki has been known for his television and radio series, documentaries and books about nature and the environment. He is best known as host and narrator of the popular and long-running CBC Television science program The Nature of Things, seen in over 40 countries. He is also well known for criticizing governments for their lack of action to protect the environment.(born March 24, 1936) is a
A longtime activist to reverse global climate change, Suzuki co-founded the David Suzuki Foundation in 1990, to work "to find ways for society to live in balance with the natural world that does sustain us". The Foundation's priorities are: oceans and sustainable fishing, climate change and clean energy, sustainability, and Suzuki's Nature Challenge. The Foundation also works on ways to help protect the oceans from large oil spills such as the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Suzuki has also served as a director of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association from 1982 to 1987.
Suzuki was awarded the Right Livelihood Award in 2009. His 2011 book, The Legacy, won the Nautilus Book Award. He is a Companion of the Order of Canada. In 2004, Suzuki ranked fifth on the list of final nominees in a CBC Television series that asked viewers to select The Greatest Canadian of all time.
Suzuki has a twin sister named Marcia, as well as two other siblings, Geraldine (now known as Aiko) and Dawn. He was born in 1936 to Setsu Nakamura and Kaoru Carr Suzuki in Vancouver, British Columbia, where his parents were also born. Suzuki's maternal and paternal grandparents had immigrated to Canada at the beginning of the 20th century from Hiroshima Prefecture and Aichi Prefecture respectively.
A third-generation Japanese Canadian ("Canadian Sansei"), Suzuki's family suffered internment in British Columbia early during the Second World War until after the war ended in 1945. In June 1942, the government sold the Suzuki family's dry-cleaning business, then interned Suzuki, his mother, and two sisters in a camp at Slocan in the British Columbia Interior. His father had been sent to a labour camp in Solsqua two months earlier. Suzuki's sister Dawn was born in the internment camp.
After the war, Suzuki's family, like other Japanese Canadian families, were forced to move east of the Rockies. The Suzukis moved to Etobicoke, Leamington, and later to London in Ontario. Suzuki, in interviews, has many times credited his father for having interested him in and sensitized him to nature.
Suzuki received his Bachelor of Arts degree in biology in 1958 from Amherst College in Massachusetts where he first discovered genetics study, and his Doctor of Philosophy degree in zoology from the University of Chicago in 1961. From 1961 to 1962, Suzuki worked at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. From 1962 to 1963, he was an assistant professor at the University of Alberta. He was a professor in the genetics department at the University of British Columbia for almost forty years, from 1963 until his retirement in 2001, and has since been professor emeritus at a university research institute.
Early in his research career he studied genetics using the popular model organism Drosophila melanogaster (fruit flies). To be able to use his initials in naming any new genes he found, he studied dominant temperature-sensitive (DTS) phenotypes. He jokingly noted at a lecture at Johns Hopkins University that the only alternative subject was "(damn) tough skin".
Suzuki began in television in 1970 with the weekly children's show Suzuki on Science. In 1974, he founded the radio program Quirks & Quarks, which he also hosted on CBC AM radio (the forerunner of CBC Radio One) from 1975 to 1979. Throughout the 1970s, he also hosted Science Magazine, a weekly program geared towards an adult audience.
Since 1979, Suzuki has hosted The Nature of Things, a CBC television series that has aired in nearly fifty countries worldwide. In this program, Suzuki's aim is to stimulate interest in the natural world, to point out threats to human well-being and wildlife habitat, and to present alternatives to humanity for achieving a more sustainable society. Suzuki has been a prominent proponent of renewable energy sources and the soft energy path.
Suzuki was the host of the critically acclaimed 1993 PBS series The Secret of Life. His 1985 hit series, A Planet for the Taking, averaged more than 1.8 million viewers per episode and earned him a United Nations Environment Programme Medal. His perspective in this series is summed up in his statement: "We have both a sense of the importance of the wilderness and space in our culture and an attitude that it is limitless and therefore we needn't worry." He concludes with a call for a major "perceptual shift" in our relationship with nature and the wild.
Suzuki's The Sacred Balance, a book first published in 1997 and later made into a five-hour mini-series on Canadian public television, was broadcast in 2002. Suzuki is now taking part in an advertisement campaign with the tagline "You have the power", promoting energy conservation through various household alternatives, such as the use of compact fluorescent lightbulbs.
For the Discovery Channel, Suzuki also produced "Yellowstone to Yukon: The Wildlands Project" in 1997. The conservation-biology based documentary focused on Dave Foreman's Wildlands Project, which considers how to create corridors between and buffer zones around large wilderness reserves as a means to preserve biological diversity. Foreman developed this project after leaving Earth First! (which he co-founded) in 1990. The conservation biologists Michael Soulé and Reed Noss were also directly involved.
Climate change activism
In recent years, Suzuki has been a forceful spokesperson on global climate change. In February 2008, he urged McGill University students to speak out against politicians who fail to act on climate change, stating "What I would challenge you to do is to put a lot of effort into trying to see whether there's a legal way of throwing our so-called leaders into jail because what they're doing is a criminal act."
Suzuki is unequivocal that climate change is a very real and pressing problem and that an "overwhelming majority of scientists" now agree that human activity is responsible. The David Suzuki Foundation website has a clear statement of this:
The debate is over about whether or not climate change is real. Irrefutable evidence from around the world – including extreme weather events, record temperatures, retreating glaciers, and rising sea levels – all point to the fact climate change is happening now and at rates much faster than previously thought.
The overwhelming majority of scientists who study climate change agree that human activity is responsible for changing the climate. The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is one of the largest bodies of international scientists ever assembled to study a scientific issue, involving more than 2,500 scientists from more than 130 countries. The IPCC has concluded that most of the warming observed during the past 50 years is attributable to human activities. Its findings have been publicly endorsed by the National Academies of Science of all G8 nations, as well as those of China, India and Brazil.
Suzuki says that despite this growing consensus, many in the public and the media seemed doubtful about the science for many years. The reason for the confusion about climate change, in Suzuki's view, was due to a well organized campaign of disinformation about the science involved. "A very small number of critics" denies that climate change exists and that humans are the cause. These climate change deniers, Suzuki says, tend not to be climate scientists and do not publish in peer-reviewed scientific journals but rather target the media, the general public, and policy makers. Their goal: "delaying action on climate change". According to Suzuki, deniers have received significant funding from coal and oil companies, including ExxonMobil. They are linked to "industry-funded lobby groups", such as the Information Council on the Environment (ICE), whose aim is to "reposition global warming as theory (not fact)".
Suzuki has attracted criticism for maintaining a lifestyle with a substantial carbon footprint while proselytizing against carbon emissions. Suzuki himself laments that in travelling constantly to spread his message of climate responsibility, he has ended up "over his [carbon] limit by hundreds of tonnes". He says that he has stopped vacationing overseas, and aims to "cluster" his speaking engagements together to reduce his carbon footprint. He would prefer, he says, to appear solely by video conference.
Genetically modified food
Suzuki has written that "products of biotechnology are being rammed into our food, onto our fields and into our medicines, without any public participation in discussions and with the complicity, indeed, the active support and funding of governments. But there are profound health, ecological and economic ramifications of this activity." In a 1999 CP Wire article, Suzuki is quoted as saying: "Any politician or scientist who tells you these products are safe is either very stupid or lying." In an interview with CBC TV, Suzuki argues that the science showing GMOs are safe is "very, very bad science" and that the commercialization of GMOs is "driven by money". His foundation's website includes an "Understanding GMO" page which claims "the safety of GMO foods is unproven and a growing body of research connects these foods with health concerns". However, Health Canada, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Medical Association, the National Academies of Sciences, the World Health Organization, and several other scientific and medical institutions from around the world have all concluded that genetically modified foods are safe to eat.
In a 2013 speech on water policy at the University of Alberta, Suzuki claimed that a second emergency at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant would require the evacuation of the North American west coast. Three months later, he admitted that his comment was "off-the-cuff". However, Suzuki still speculates that another earthquake could trigger a new nuclear disaster in Fukushima, as the Japanese Atomic Energy Commission paper he cited in his aforementioned speech at the University of Alberta states that such a disaster could call for the evacuation of over 10 million Japanese residents.
In 2013, in L'Express, the French news magazine, Suzuki called Canada's immigration policy "disgusting" (We "plunder southern countries to deprive them of their future leaders, and wish to increase our population to support economic growth") and insisted that "Canada is full" ("Our useful area is reduced").
Canadian justice system
While being interviewed by Tony Jones on Australia's ABC TV network in September 2013, Suzuki repeated the claim from Canadian media that the Harper government was building prisons even though crime rates were declining in Canada. He suggested that the prisons might be being built so that Stephen Harper can incarcerate environmental activists. Jean-Christophe De Le Rue, a spokesman for Public Safety Minister Steven Blaney, denied the claims, emphasizing that the Canadian government is not building any prisons, nor do they have plans to build any. However, in 2011, the Harper government did announce a 5-year, "$2-billion federal prison-building boom" to add "over 2,700 beds to men's and women's prisons across Canada" with $517-million already "spent on prison construction" in 2010–2011.
David Suzuki was married to Setsuko Joane Sunahara from 1958 to 1965; the couple had three children. In 1973, Suzuki married a second time to Tara Elizabeth Cullis, 13 years his junior, with whom he had two daughters, Severn Cullis-Suzuki and Sarika Cullis-Suzuki. He is also a grandfather to six grandchildren. Suzuki is an atheist. Suzuki is related to Montreal Canadiens player Nick Suzuki and Barrie Colts forward Ryan Suzuki.
Suzuki is the author of 52 books (nineteen for children), including David Suzuki: The Autobiography, Tree: A Life Story, The Sacred Balance, Genethics, Wisdom of the Elders, Inventing the Future, and the best-selling Looking At Senses a series of children's science books. This is a partial list of publications by Suzuki:
- Sciencescape – The Nature of Canada (1986) – with Hans Blohm and Marjorie Harris
- Pebbles to Computers: The Thread (1986) – with Hans Blohm and Stafford Beer
- Metamorphosis: Stages in a life (1987) ISBN 0-773-72139-8
- Genethics: The Clash between the New Genetics and Human Values (1990)
- It's a Matter of Survival (1991) ISBN 0-674-46970-4
- Time to Change (1994)
- The Japan We Never Knew: A Journey of Discovery (1997) – with Keibo Oiwa
- The Sacred Balance (1997)
- From Naked Ape to Superspecies: A Personal Perspective on Humanity and the Global Ecocrisis (1999) – with Holly Dressel. ISBN 0-773-73194-6
- Good News for a Change: Hope for a Troubled Planet (2001) – with Holly Dressel. ISBN 0-773-73307-8
- More Good News (2003)
- David Suzuki: The Autobiography (2006)
- David Suzuki's Green Guide (2008) – with David Boyd
- The Big Picture: Reflections on Science, Humanity, and a Quickly Changing Planet (2009) – with David Taylor
- The Legacy: An Elder's vision for a sustainable future (2010) – with foreword by Margaret Atwood
- Letters to My Grandchildren (2015) ISBN 978-1771640886
- Force of Nature: The David Suzuki Movie (2010), 93-minute documentary DVD (210616DV)
Awards and honours
- Suzuki is an appointee to the Order of Canada, first as an Officer (1976), then upgraded to Companion status in (2006), the Order of British Columbia (1995), and is the recipient of UNESCO's Kalinga Prize for the Popularization of Science (1986) and a long list of Canadian and international honours.
- Canadian version of the Queen Elizabeth II Silver Jubilee Medal in 1977.
- 125th Anniversary of the Confederation of Canada Medal in 1992.
- Canadian version of the Queen Elizabeth II Golden Jubilee Medal in 2002.
- Canadian version of the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal in 2012.
- In 2004, Suzuki was nominated as one of the top ten "Greatest Canadians" by viewers of the CBC. In the final vote he ranked fifth, making him the greatest living Canadian. Suzuki said that his own vote was for Tommy Douglas who was the eventual winner.
- In 2006, Suzuki was the recipient of the Bradford Washburn Award presented at the Museum of Science in Boston, Massachusetts.
- In 2007, Suzuki was honoured by Global Exchange, with the International Human Rights Award.
- In 2009, Suzuki was awarded the honorary Right Livelihood Award.
- He was the subject of Sturla Gunnarsson's 2010 documentary film Force of Nature: The David Suzuki Movie.
- On June 23, 2015, Suzuki was awarded the Freedom of the City by the Vancouver City Council, which entitled him to the title Freeman of the City of Vancouver.
- "Protecting Canada from an Oil Spill". David Suzuki Foundation. Archived from the original on 28 October 2014. Retrieved 28 October 2014.
- Suzuki, David. "Excerpt from The Legacy: An Elder's Vision for Our Sustainable Future by David Suzuki". Archived from the original on 2013-02-03. Retrieved 2018-08-26.
- Environmentalist David Suzuki has words of warning for ancestral homeland Kris Kosaka, April 25, 2009, The Japan Times.
- Suzuki, David (1987). Metamorphosis: Stages in a Life. Stoddart. pp. 20.
- Gordon, K. (2007) The Slocan Valley - Our History Archived 2007-08-05 at the Wayback Machine, Slocan Valley Economic Development Commission. Retrieved on July 28, 2007.
- Panorama (May 3, 2007). "May is Asian Heritage Month". Metroland Media. Retrieved 3 October 2014.
- Wong, Jan (1997-02-20). "Lunch with Jan Wong: Free clams, an eyeball and Suzuki's world view", The Globe and Mail, p. E1.
- Suzuki, David Takayoshi (1961). Interchromosomal effects on crossing over in Drosophila melanogaster (Ph.D.). The University of Chicago. OCLC 49442104 – via ProQuest.
- "David Suzuki's profile". Greenfestivals.org. Archived from the original on 2011-07-22. Retrieved 2011-02-21.
- "CBC website on Nature of Things". CBC.ca. 2007-05-18. Archived from the original on August 6, 2010. Retrieved 2011-02-21.
- Review of The Secret of Life 25 September 1993 New York Times. Retrieved 21 July 2008.
- "Broadcast schedule of The Sacred Balance". SacredBalance.com. Archived from the original on 2010-09-07. Retrieved 2011-02-21.
- "Production Team of The Sacred Balance". SacredBalance.com. 2002-10-13. Archived from the original on 2010-09-07. Retrieved 2011-02-21.
- Babbage, Sarah (2008-02-04). "Jail Politicians Who Ignore Science: Suzuki". Canada: The McGill Daily. Archived from the original on 2008-02-08. Retrieved 2008-02-10.
- Offman, Craig (2008-02-07). "Jail politicians who ignore climate science: Suzuki". National Post. Canada. Retrieved 2008-02-07.
- "Climate change deniers". Climate Change Science and Policy. David Suzuki Foundation. Archived from the original on 2011-08-03. Retrieved 2011-08-13.
- The Heat is Online. "The Coal Industry's "ICE" Campaign (1999)". Retrieved on: 2011-08-13.
- "International day of demonstrations on climate change". CNN.com. October 26, 2009. Archived from the original on October 27, 2009. Retrieved October 26, 2009.
- Cernetig, Miro. "Suzuki gets the irony as popularity increases". Vancouver Sun. CanWest Global. Archived from the original on 2011-11-25. Retrieved 2008-01-09.
- "Biotech Essay" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2017-07-22.
- "CP Wire".
- "CBC Interview".
- "Understanding GMO". Archived from the original on 2012-12-23.
- "David Suzuki: Canada's 'science guy' turned eccentric anti-GMO, chemical scaremonger?". Genetic Literacy Project. 5 January 2019. Retrieved 9 February 2020.
- Hopper, Tristin (25 January 2015). "David Suzuki 'regrets' claim that another Fukushima disaster would require mass evacuations in North America". National Post. Retrieved 9 February 2020.
- Suzuki, David. "https:david-suzuki-citizen-scientists-can-fill-info-gaps-about-fukushima-effects". straight.com.
- Hopper, Tristin (25 January 2015). "David Suzuki 'regrets' claim that another Fukushima disaster would require mass evacuations in North America". National Post. Retrieved 9 February 2020.
- "David Suzuki and Jason Kenney amplify each other". The Globe and Mail. Toronto. 2013-07-15. Retrieved 2013-10-04.
- "An Audience With David Suzuki". ABC Q&A. 2013-09-23. Retrieved 2018-04-06.
- "Critics say Harper government throwing prison expansion money away". Toronto Star. 2011-01-10. Retrieved 2013-12-02.
- "Canada's crime rate: Two decades of decline". Statistics Canada. 2017-03-03. Retrieved 2018-04-06.
- "Suzuki: Harper is building prisons for eco-activists". Toronto Sun. Retrieved 2013-10-04.
- "Harper government to announce more prison expansions". iPolitics.ca. Retrieved 2013-12-02.
- "Prison costs soar 86% in past five years: report". National Post. Retrieved 2013-12-02.
- Jonathon Gatehouse. "The nature of David Suzuki". Macleans.ca.
- David Suzuki still has hope
- Maclean's Nov 25, 2013
- Letters to My Grandchildren, David Suzuki
- Nancy Schiefer (2006-04-28). "Review: Suzuki laments conscience role". The London Free Press. Archived from the original on 2006-09-03. Retrieved 2007-10-29.
As an atheist, Suzuki declares, he has no illusions about life and death, adding that the individual is insignificant in cosmic terms.Review of book "David Suzuki: The Autobiography", by David Suzuki (Greystone Books, 2006)
- "Team Cherry Profiles – Sherwin-Williams CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game". sherwin-williamstopprospects.ca. Retrieved 2017-04-11.
- Books and Sound Recordings by David T. Suzuki Archived 2010-11-03 at the Wayback Machine David Suzuki Foundation. Complete Book List. Retrieved on: September 20, 2010.
- "More Good News". D&M Publishers. Archived from the original on 2010-07-15. Retrieved 2010-07-28.
- "Force of Nature, The David Suzuki Movie : The Nature of Things with David Suzuki : CBC-TV". CBC.ca. 2011-03-29. Archived from the original on August 8, 2011. Retrieved 2011-10-31.
- "| Arapahoe Library District". ArapahoeLibraries.org. 2011-08-25. Archived from the original on 2012-03-20. Retrieved 2011-10-31.
- Force of Nature at IMDb
- "Received Order of Canada". Davidsuzuki.org. 2011-02-03. Archived from the original on 2011-11-03. Retrieved 2011-10-31.
- "Received Order of British Columbia". VPL.ca. Archived from the original on 2011-09-28. Retrieved 2011-10-31.
- "Received UNESCO prize". CBC.ca. 2007-05-18. Archived from the original on March 30, 2009. Retrieved 2011-02-21.
- "Microsoft Word – Great_minds_in_science_7.doc" (PDF). Retrieved 2011-10-31.
- "The Unlikely Activist". The Unlikely Activist. Retrieved 2011-02-21.
- "Right Livelihood Award: 2009 – David Suzuki". RightLivelihood.org. Archived from the original on 2010-06-20. Retrieved 2010-07-28.
- "Freedom of the City". City of Vancouver. Retrieved 2015-11-03.
- Host: Dr. David Suzuki, CBC, 2010
- "Past honorary degree recipients". University of Prince Edward Island. Retrieved 2018-08-26.
- "Honorary degrees conferred (chronological)" (PDF). University of Windsor. Retrieved 2018-08-26.
- "Honorary degrees". Acadia University. Retrieved 2018-08-26.
- "Recipients of Honorary & Degrees" (PDF). Trent University. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2012-03-05. Retrieved 2010-07-28.
- "Honorary degree citation: David Takayoshi Suzuki". Governors State University. 1986. Retrieved 2018-08-26.
- "Past honorary degree recipients". Lakehead University. Retrieved 2018-08-26.
- "Honorary degree recipients (chronological)" (PDF). McMaster University. Retrieved 2018-08-26.
- "Honorary degrees" (PDF). Queen's University. 2011-09-14. Retrieved 2018-08-26.
- "Honorary degrees awarded since 1954". Carleton University. Retrieved 2018-08-26.
- "Honorary degree recipients by date received". Amherst College. Retrieved 2018-08-26.
- "Doctor of the University acceptance speeches". Griffith University. Retrieved 2018-08-26.
- "Honorary degrees". Whitman College. Retrieved 2018-08-26.
- "Past honorary degree recipients". Simon Fraser University. 2015. Retrieved 2018-08-26.
- "Honorary degree recipients". York University. Retrieved 2018-08-26.
- "Honorary degree recipients". Flinders University. Retrieved 2018-08-26.
- "Honorary doctorates". Ryerson University. Retrieved 2018-08-26.
- "Honorary degrees awarded, 1881-present" (PDF). University of Western Ontario. Retrieved 2018-08-26.
- "In The News | Lambton College - The Bridge to Your Future". Lambton.on.ca. Archived from the original on 2011-09-27. Retrieved 2011-10-31.
- "Honorary graduates of Memorial University of Newfoundland" (PDF). Memorial University of Newfoundland. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2018-04-29. Retrieved 2018-08-26.
- "Honorary degrees — chronological". University of British Columbia. 2018-02-19. Retrieved 2018-08-26.
- "David Suzuki". University of British Columbia. Retrieved 2018-08-26.
- "Honorary degree recipients". University of Guelph. Retrieved 2018-08-26.
- Issawi, Hamdi (April 19, 2018). "University of Alberta stands by decision to give David Suzuki honorary degree — in spite of online backlash". The Star Edmonton. Retrieved May 1, 2018.
- John C. Phillipson et al. "David Takayoshi Suzuki" in The Canadian Encyclopedia: Year 2000 Edition, James Marsh, ed. Toronto: McClelland and Stewart, 1999. p. 2277. ISBN 0-7710-2099-6
- David Suzuki. Metamorphosis. Toronto: Stoddart, 1991. ISBN 0-7737-5509-8
- Suzuki, David (2007), David Suzuki: The Autobiography, Greystone Books, ISBN 9781553652816
- Suzuki, David; Boyd, David R. (2008), David Suzuki's Green Guide, Greystone Books, ISBN 9781553652939
- Gazlay, Suzy (2009), David Suzuki: Doing Battle with Climate Change, Crabtree, ISBN 9780778746652
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to David Suzuki.|
|Wikiquote has quotations related to: David Suzuki|
- David Suzuki Foundation
- David Suzuki Institute
- David Suzuki at IMDb
- Order of Canada citation
- The Nature of Things official website
- The Right Livelihood Award
- David Suzuki speaks out against genetically modified food, 2:39, Oct. 17, 2001, CBC Digital Archive
- Video: David Suzuki - Observing our Species At the Montreal Degrowth Conference 2012, 10 minutes.