David Suzuki on the “bottom line for the 21st Century”

David Suzuki delivered his presentation “Setting the bottom line for the 21st Century” in the Grand Hall. (Lynn Sunderman Photography)

On Monday, Feb. 8 David Suzuki delivered his presentation “Setting the bottom line for the 21st Century” in the Grand Hall. The 80-year-old environmentalist, author, broadcaster and scientist offered social and political commentary through personal stories with comedic delivery.

Suzuki started his speech by explaining how all of humanity “originated from the great plains of Africa,” establishing a commonality we all share to this day as a species. Elaborating that humans are an invasive and the most powerful species, the biggest problem the earth faces is dealing with human destruction.

“You know we are heading in the wrong direction,” Suzuki said, pointing to islands of plastic in the ocean.

He said we need to, “transition from fossil fuels by making the commitment to stop using up the legacy of our children and grandchildren.”

According to Suzuki, it is best for humans to use science in the proper way, and to learn from our mistakes in the past and be more careful when introducing new creations into the environment. He believes that science is a very powerful tool, especially when the focus is too narrow.

A narrow focus leads to neglect in other areas, like the environment.

Suzuki does not think it is too late – not yet.

“Mother nature is surprising. She is the basis of my hope. This hope is based in reality. ‘Too late’ isn’t the right attitude,” Suzuki said.

Even though humans seem to be the main drivers of climate change and environmental degradation, Suzuki has hope that we can still turn our consumerist and wasteful society around.

Suzuki said that it is time to call for civil disobedience and not let corporations set the narrative for conversation.

We must revise the “hope for the future,” Suzuki said, adding that “following your heart” by knowing what is truly best for this planet is the first step we must all take to help heal the earth.