The Nature of Things

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Not to be confused with On the Nature of Things.

The Nature of Things (also, The Nature of Things with David Suzuki) is a Canadian television series of documentary programs. It debuted on CBC Television on November 6, 1960. Many of the programs document nature and the effect that humans have on it. The program "was one of the first mainstream programs to present scientific evidence on a number of environmental issues, including nuclear power and genetic engineering".[1] The series is named after an epic poem by Roman philosopher Lucretius: "De rerum natura" — On the Nature of Things.


The first host was Donald Ivey, with Patterson Hume co-hosting many episodes.[2] Following Ivey’s departure, the second season continued with several guest hosts, including Lister Sinclair, Donald Crowdis, and John Livingston.[3] Since 1979, it has been hosted by David Suzuki.[3] The series has won many awards and Suzuki has won three Gemini Awards and one ACTRA Award as best host. Documentarian William Whitehead has also been a frequent writer for the series.

When Suzuki took over as the host of the show in 1979 he reluctantly left the radio show called Quirks and Quarks. He enjoyed radio as a medium because it was less restricted when compared to television, but saw benefits in switching to television. He stated that television had a greater impact as it reached more people, and this was important because he wanted to make science accessible to the general public. The goal of The Nature of Things with David Suzuki was to translate the confusing and complex scientific language into concepts that the general public could understand. This would give people the information that they need in order to make informed decisions about how science and technology should be managed.[4] There is one new episode every week which all contributes to a scientific understanding of how the world works. They are created not only for entertainment, but also to encourage and popularize education.[5]

Notable episodes[edit]

  • Reefer Madness 2, the effects of medical marijuana and people dealing with its legalization, 15 October 1998[6]
  • "The Investigation of Swissair 111", 2 September 2003
  • Darwin's Brave New World, a three-part documentary on the life of Charles Darwin as he wrote The Origin of Species, 1 November 2009
  • "The Downside of High", marijuana's negative effects towards mental illness, 2010[7]
  • "Untangling Alzheimer's", a medical investigation from a very personal perspective, 2013[8]
  • Wild Canada, a four-part miniseries focusing on high-definition video footage of Canadian nature and wildlife, which aired in 2014.
  • Sonic Magic: The Wonder and Science of Sound:[9] Though our world is full of sound, we only notice the noise. Sound can thrill, delight, warn and scare us. But there's much more to the story. Sound can cure the sick and make the blind see. Yes, it really can. Oh, and it can change the taste of food too. Sonic Magic, indeed. Aired November 12, 2015. Episode 6, 2015-2016 Season.


  1. ^ MacDowell, Laurel Sefton. 2012. An environmental history of Canada. Vancouver: UBC Press. Page 248
  2. ^ "50 Years of the Nature of Things". Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. January 5, 2012. Retrieved 2010-02-06. 
  3. ^ a b "CBC-TV: The Nature of Things with David Suzuki: History". Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. Archived from the original on 2010-08-06. Retrieved 2010-02-06. 
  4. ^ Suzuki, David T. 2006. David Suzuki the autobiography. Vancouver: Greystone Books
  5. ^ "About the Show". The Nature of Things. 
  6. ^ "Reefer Madness 2". The Nature of Things with David Suzuki. CBC-TV. Archived from the original on 2008-01-13. 
  7. ^ "The Downside of High". The Nature of Things with David Suzuki (CBC-TV). Archived from the original on 2013-02-06. 
  8. ^ "Untangling Alzheimer's". CBC News. July 17, 2014. Retrieved October 23, 2014. 
  9. ^

External links[edit]