Photo: An open letter from Dr. David Suzuki

(Credit: Adam Valvasori via Flickr)


Dear friends,

Some of you may have seen media coverage about my decision to step off the board of directors of the David Suzuki Foundation. I am writing to tell you more about this and what it means.

After my children and grandchildren, my greatest pride is the David Suzuki Foundation.

I am fiercely proud of how the Foundation brings science and solutions to environment problems. I'm determined to ensure that the Foundation continues to have the ability to solve critical environmental issues and bring hope for the future.

But I have reached a point in my life where I would like to consider myself an elder. I want to speak freely without fear that my words will be deemed too political, and harm the organization of which I am so proud. I am keenly aware that some governments, industries and special interest groups are working hard to silence us. They use threats to the Foundation's charitable status in attempts to mute its powerful voice on issues that matter deeply to you and many other Canadians.

This bullying demonstrates how important it is to speak out.

The Foundation's science-based, solutions-oriented research and educational work has enriched our democracy and reflected Canadian values for two decades. While not always happily received by governments or industrial interests, this work is strictly non-partisan, as required by the laws governing charities, and has made the Foundation one of the most trusted environmental voices in Canada.

Our opponents, however, are redoubling their efforts to marginalize the Foundation by getting at me, personally.

So last year, I made the decision to step off the board of directors of the David Suzuki Foundation. I remain one of its most active volunteers and committed major donors. This way I can fulfill my personal mission and the Foundation can continue to build on its inspiring work—for us and our grandchildren—in finding solutions to our shared, and very real, environmental challenges.

I hope you understand this decision and will continue to show your, steadfast support for my work in this concrete way:

Please share this letter with your family and friends and, at this critical moment, invite them to become supporters of the David Suzuki Foundation, by joining our online community or donating today.


David Suzuki

April 13, 2012

Read more

Post a comment


Oct 18, 2013
1:34 PM

Dr. Suzuki, I have watched your show The Nature Of Things since I was a child and still watch when I have the time today. I watched your show when other children were watching cartoons. You have inspired me and taught me to be conscientious about our earth and the environment. In my eyes you are one of the most intelligent people on this planet and it angers me that anyone would not follow your ideas and implement your plans. You are a great leader and inspiration to anyone who dares to accept the facts as they are.

May 18, 2013
2:03 PM

I thank you, Dr. Suzuki, for being the light for so many Canadians just like me. If only you knew the influence of your words and your visions that you share with whoever is willing to listen. I used to be angry alot because of frustrations i experienced because of a flawed system that i was born into.

I was looking for answers and just could not seem to find them anywhere i looked. I consulted with my father and he turned me on to a speech you had done in B.C. It was a lecture on education for a changing biosphere. It answered the questions that i had been puzzling about and cleared all the negativity that my mind was hooked on.

I now realize that no one but the people of this nation and others will be the change that this world needs to see to protect the natural way of life. I now realize instead of attacking the government {beating your head off a wall} will in the long run make only a little drop in a ocean of difference. But if i focus that energy to educate people of choices we can make to make this a better place for all and to do my personal best to reduce my carbon footprint and others around me.

So for this I thank you Dr. Suzuki.


Jan 20, 2013
11:38 AM

Dr. Suzuki,

Thank you for all of your important work and most of all, thank you for caring. Have you seen the ‘Zietgiest’ documentaries on you tube yet? Also, Empire of the State? Please tell us what we need to do Sir, we need intelligent, technicians to guide us into the future and to save our planet.

Oct 23, 2012
1:15 PM

Dear Elder David,

I saw you talk many years ago in Wollongong. Knowing that city, knowing its people, knowing my christian upbringing, and knowing the great spirit that moves in us all, your talk was like the 'living waters'. I could feel the sacredness of your purpose transforming my consciousness and as far as I felt it may have been collective. A worship of a new kind, of common sense and science, of knowledge, of truth, of freedom and life and spirit. You were the finger pointing to the moon. The scientist prophet pointing to our greater reality. I didn't loose any hope in the revealing of the urgency of your message. It called me like spirit does to compassion in action. To the worship of the intelligence of biodiversity. To the reunion of culture and nature.

We are so grateful for all of your guidance and strength in times that are calling for us all to take action in real and lasting ways. Blessings upon you and your family and the foundation for trying your best in difficulty to wake us into action. Lets face it, no one wants to wake up to a nightmare, thats why this call for action is so positively needed. You have excelled at that balance as a Doctor, now many blessings to you in your new position of wisdom as an Elder. May your moons be many more.

May 16, 2012
8:13 PM

Thank you for all your essential work for us and for the environment. You are one of Canada's greatest teachers and scientists. May your work continue.

Apr 25, 2012
2:24 PM

I understand that it is an organization called "Ethical Oil" (what a laugh) that is lobbying to have the Suzuki Foundation's charitable status reviewed. Is that not interference? This makes me sick. The tar sands jeopardizes the ground water, the rivers and could cause earthquakes (with regard to in-situ fracking with chemicals and steam). There is no such thing as ethical oil What can we do to assist the Suzuki Foundation with this issue?

Apr 25, 2012
4:34 AM

Thank you for making a difference.

Apr 24, 2012
1:27 AM

Dear David, You are making the right decision, do not listen to the negativeness from people today, you are a True Warrior of Light for this Earth and all its inhabitants. I know why you have made this decision, it is time for the voices to be heard. People of CANADA, the time for the Great Unification of the Clans of Earth has come, the Great Purification that has been spoken of for centuries is now unfolding. We have now returned, to assist with this transformation into the new world, but only if YOU are will change first.
David, I wish you well brother, im sure our paths will cross, and when they do we will have much to talk about. Your Friend

Apr 22, 2012
1:08 AM

David Suzuki has my utmost respect and admiration. He has earned the right, over decades of leadership and action, to do whatever he feels is best for the organization bearing his name and for himself and his family. We all must support his decision and carry on his work in all possible ways, as he continues to do each and every day.

Apr 21, 2012
2:55 PM

Dr. Suzuki, I can't wait to hear what you really think, now that you are free to speak your mind like never before, and able to say what so needs to be said and heard. Your legacy will be long lasting, and I am grateful for and incredibly inspired by your courage and commitment. Now let's get 'er dun!! peace, mary

Apr 19, 2012
12:12 PM

Thank you for your enormous contribution Dr. Suzuki. And for leading the way once more.

Apr 18, 2012
9:58 AM

It saddens me greatly to hear about the bullying but we, your supporters, will always stand behind you and the DSF. I have learned so much from you. Thank you.

Apr 18, 2012
5:26 AM

David, I was one of your Foundation's first volunteers, back in 1992. The energy, passion and vision that you, Tara and your Board of Directors had for the Foundation back then was truly inspirational. The Foundation is going strong today, 20 years later, because of that commitment. For every person who blocks your path, you will have the energy of 1000 people behind you, pushing you forward. Stay strong and keep on!

Apr 17, 2012
6:46 PM

This decision will not in any way negatively effect DSF. This was an excellent decision by David and one that will prove effective in promoting Canadian and global awareness of the PC party's dismantling and tightening of environmental agencies. While DSF is not political, we individual citizens are. We do live in a democracy.This isn't rocket science. The actions of our current govt from restricting scientists from speaking in a timely manner, to the closing of PEARL, the labeling of environmental groups as "hijackers" or suggestive language intimating those who speak about the degradation of the air , water , and soil as terrorist sympathizers (eg, groups would take money from anyone, maybe al queda), the recent inquiry regarding charitable organizations such as DSF, Tides Canada, and now the recent change in the review process for projects, such as oil and gas. Is this democracy or an oligarchy? David's decision was smart-let's be sure to use it to our advantage and educate Canadians what really is happening to our democratic process.

Apr 17, 2012
1:36 PM

We need to start hitting these corporations and agencies who want to silence the DSF where it hurts — in the wallet. Dr. Suzuki has done such good work, and I have nominated him for Canada's Walk of Fame! I would really be interested in starting boycott movements against those corporations that would silence protesters. I am hoping Dr. Suzuki will be forthcoming with the names of some of those agencies soon.

Apr 16, 2012
9:39 PM

Thank you David. You are indeed a elder.The native elder tradition to make decisions based on the impacted on 7 future generations is one lost on capitalist

The present and future oil sand production is nothing short of genocide of our water supply,the environment and the native people.The present arrogance of Harper is destructive to our democracy and our country.It makes me weep for our country and our children's child. I actually heard Harper say one day on air that the oil sands was natural oil spill, and we are just cleaning it up.

It is time to take back our country politically and environmentally. We are behind you all the way

Apr 16, 2012
5:31 PM

Bravo Mr Suzuki, cette décision n'a pas dû être la plus facile à prendre et pour vous, et pour l'organisation qui porte votre nom.

Parfois, mieux vaut être au dessus de la mêlée que dedans et c'est exactement ce que vous venez de faire. Et puis comme vous le dite si bien, vous n'êtes pas très loin…au cas où.

Apr 16, 2012
5:00 PM

As always this is what i feel is a brilliant way to continue to be the powerhouse leader that i have always felt you are Mr. Suzuki. Your actions have impact and i'm excited for this new change for you and the foundation and the continued influence you both have.

I stand behind any decision you make because i stand behind you.

Wishing you all the best in your continued journey as an elder, and a huge thank you for all you have done for our planet and as such our lives and future generations.

with love and support, Laura.

ps Any chance of you running for prime minister?? i have a strong feeling you would win.

Apr 16, 2012
3:19 PM

We stand by David. We canadian people, stand up, right behind, beside him.

Apr 16, 2012
1:46 PM

It is sad that it had to come to this, but please make your voice heard, we are listening, now and always!

Apr 16, 2012
8:31 AM

I thank you for all you and your foundation have done. I hope to hear your voice loud and clear in the future, and I wish you all the best. Canada has come to a very sad time in our evolution, especially since we now have born again neanderthals determined to destroy everything they fear

Apr 16, 2012
5:57 AM

I would just like to thank you first and foremost for caring.You make us think and wonder about things.I've always thought you to be an honourable man.If you think this is the way to go it probably is. Your family is pretty cool too..Sincerely Sandra Earle

Apr 15, 2012
7:16 PM

You're doing the right thing. Your input outside of the Foundation is sorely needed by Canada today. The PM can play his games with 'radicals' and try and stifle funds… but you are better off unfettered by 'blackmail tactics'. Speak your mind and stand your ground. Don't back down!

Apr 15, 2012
3:44 PM

I hope that means he can now run for prime minister

Apr 15, 2012
1:44 PM

I'm a Canadian, and unknowingly product of your beliefs and spoken words David, I began my free thinking adulthood with simply agreeing to your environmental stances and on the way you spoke of the world. I have, for the most part traveled the world, lived one year on the Great Barrier Reef diving every day with animals just as intelligent as your own dog, and far more complex. Whales looking you in the eye. You see that they are thinking and are calm and trust worthy…Later I worked on a tug boat, traveling the coast of British Columbia from Vancouver to Kitamat, only to see how truly amazing and unbelievable, and beautiful and majestic my own backyard is. Porpoise jumping in calm inlet waters, Orcas feeding in rip currents, salmon bubbling up from the wash of the bow, waterfalls cascading from alpine peaks directly to ocean waters. I could go on and on and on..I know theses pockets of original life are so unbelievably rare and valuable to recharge your soul and reaffirm how precious this world is which directs me into positivity and making the way I approach life itself better. That is worth everything to me. I have also seen the trouble the world is in. I now work as an ultra sonic girth weld tester for pipelines, after 2 years, doing work in all corners, I'm truly horrified of what we as humans are capable of. The sheen of rainbow capped water in the Gulf of Mexico hundreds of KM from shore, or surrounded by hundreds and hundreds of oil platforms as far as the eye can see…larger than the Eiffel Tower. Standing in Northern Alberta, in complete nature, and unable to breath due to the smell of tar that chokes me with nothing I can see creating it..I'm ashamed at what we've done and what we are still doing, I'm sad to think that my phone will ring for the Northern Gateway project, trust me, I know I will not go… I'd go so far as to stand up and fight if need be. I'm so ashamed of Canadians who support our newly found filthy wealth, like when your grand mother gave you a dollar, we can't wait to buy the most sugary treat only to find 6 months down the road, your parents are spilling out hundreds to repair your teeth, No one wants to say I told you so, but thats what is happening. I only trust you David. I only will listen to you, because I've been the type of guy to test the things you've said and for the most part your dead on. I'm a fan of no one in particular, but your apart of my family as a Canadian, a British Columbian, and a trusted friend. Next to you as a Canadian is no one, you tell it like it is, and for that in this day and age thats very rare… I'm just an average BC guy. I try to do the right thing for all my neighbors but sometimes for whatever reason, people are so silly. It takes guts to say the facts and be prepared for them to come down hard on you with names and bulling tactics. kinda like the same people we asked to lead us and our best interests, and lay the ground work for the next hundred years. When did that go wrong? I hope that we change our path in Canada for the worlds sake. Thank you, David Suzuki, Thank you for caring, and being my voice, when I think I don't have one. It means the world to me. Paul Hilliard

Apr 15, 2012
11:48 AM

thankyou for all your hard work on MS and CCSVI from myself in UK you did well

Apr 15, 2012
11:47 AM

It is a sad time for Canada when the governing political party claims a constituency having such antipathy towards environmentalism. It is a product of our deeply flawed electoral system. Nonetheless, It's time to free David from worrying about how his words might be used to harm the movement. I really want to hear what David has to say about a number of issues and I'm afraid that won't be possible as long as he is connected directly with the board. It's time David and God speed!

Apr 15, 2012
11:22 AM

Wise decision. We need to speak out more strongly and directly than ever. Many of us are restricted by employment rules/fears/environments and other limitations which restrain our voices. I strongly hope that the generation that had the courage and conviction to be politically active in the 60s, but was restrained by family and jobs and related obligations for the last few decades, to re-awaken and find that conviction and courage again to use their new freedom in retirement to speak the truth to power more strongly than ever.

Apr 15, 2012
11:15 AM

The first time I saw you was on the Bay/Avenue Rd. N. bus — it was passing by Yuk-Yuks -it was 1977/78? I wanted then, to say "Thank You" for all your tireless work and for opening my eyes to environmental issues. Some 35 years later, I say thank you — the word just isn't big enough to express my gratitude. The biggest and simplest message you gave me, the light bulb moment, was that we are not colonist of this earth, continuing to conquer and exploit, but rather, WE ARE NATURE and must work in harmony with our mother Earth. So obvious, yet, up until I heard this from you (repeatedly), this simple fact eluded me. Again, thank you and lets all keep our duty as guardian, of this indescribable, forever fascinating place we call home. Now you are an elder — raise a little Hell! Warmest Regards, margaret whitman

Apr 15, 2012
11:12 AM

David, you are an inspiration to us all. A Canadian icon!

Keep on spreading the word!

Apr 15, 2012
11:04 AM

Everyone makes mistakes, and it is easy to follow the wrong path.

I trust your judgment, and I see now that you are doing the right thing. I'm sorry.

Apr 15, 2012
10:39 AM

To David:

You should be extraordinarily proud of the efforts you have taken on.

On behalf of all those that you represent with your voice and issue that you have represented — the world wants to thank you.

Maybe it is time to take a deep breath and stand aside. By doing so, it invites others to join your important causes. We can not do this alone and perhaps this is the important message here.

I think what I am trying to say is that by your stepping aside, you are bravely asking the world to step forward and take up this important cause that you began.

How can we all help? You are an awesome leader. NK

Apr 15, 2012
4:30 AM

while i dont always agree totaly with mister suzukis veiws especially on evolution and creation ect or any one elses totally for that matter. but i respect him and consider him a great canadian, and i believe this is just the begining of the , dictateorial ,extreme ,right wing,, puppet of the corporations and corporate media ,globalized , let the market dictate everything GOVERMENT.well the market wont give you tax funded fire protection or public schools or pensions or roads or medicare or rural gas lines ect ect we no longer have a democracey ,also even on our wonderful cbc we have a total idiot being payed with my tax payers dollars always hate baiting the liberals or the left or the greens or any one that isnt a right wing facist, plus holding up a nic romney membership card promoting the right, with my taxes. which is much less of my dollar then the privete media gets..canadians weve been braiwashed too vote for our demise

Apr 14, 2012
7:39 PM

Mr Suzuki,

It's a sad day when the almighty dollar becomes more important to government than the long-term welfare of the population that actually pays its salary, but I applaud your decision to help preserve the foundation and I am certain many others do also.

From an environmental vs.economic standpoint I am starting to get the distinct impression that all will be sacrificed to 'keep the wheel turning' so to speak. The underhanded nature in which our present government is rewriting present laws to suit their own agenda is frankly quite frightening in a sinister, Orwellian way, but the singling out of environmental groups and others that challenge the political status quo certainly doesn't surprise me.

It's just too bad we can't elect the people who really care and give a damn, although a responsible government would still need the support of the populace to implement the meaningful change required to save us from ourselves, and changes of this magnitude make people very uncomfortable.

I guess I would just like to say thank you for your hard work and dedication to our planet, its species and by extension, me.

Most of all, thank you for telling the truth.

Apr 14, 2012
5:43 PM

After learning of David's decision to remove himself from the board and having recently watched Waking the Green Tiger and Future Cities, I went to Wikipedia and read his bio. Is his daughter carrying on, in her own right, with this important work? I would like to write to David, if I may. May I have his email address? Please feel free to visit my website at I also blog at I salute his courage land wish David and his daughter,Severin continued success. I look forward to hearing from you. Best regards, D.

Apr 14, 2012
2:16 PM

It sounds as if David is saying he's been having to pull his punches until now. If he has been being moderate, I just can't wait until he lets it all hang out

Apr 14, 2012
2:14 PM

Dear Dr Suzuki, I was shocked to learn of your decision to leave the board of the foundation bearing your name. I do understand the need to be able speak openly and freely, and am delighted that you will now be free to do so without fear the DSF will appear politically motivated.

Busy working for many years, I was aware of the good work of the DSF only in the past year. The goal of educating on the complex problems facing the environment and the pathways toward solutions is too important not to have a trusted politically neutral voice. In reading past posts etc I see no evidence that the DSF has not upheld this principle fully.

Advocating for protection of the environment is a politically neutral activity. It's neutral because it's a fact that a healthy environment benefits us all and harms no one. It's interesting to watch how public opinion is being manipulated to the point were environmental concern is now viewed as political. An enemy has been manufactured out of thin air.

This apparent manufacture of a make believe world can also be observed on examination of current global economics which we are led to believe there is no alternative to. A few proceed to scoop all the wealth, and surpluses generated by labor, leaving nothing but debt and a burnt shell of an environment for the rest. The perpetrators of this kind of activity use partisan politics as a tool to their own ends and have done so historically wherever possible.

It's an inescapable conclusion that these positions are linked and that the politics of free and democratic nations have been exploited to suit the needs of a few at the expense of the rest of the planet.

Thank you for your tireless efforts in support of the environment and for the DSF.. I hope to continue to hear your voice alongside other deeply concerned and outspoken academics.

Apr 14, 2012
11:12 AM

It is always a good choice when coming from the heart and more reason to do so by stepping down from the board. I have to say that the government isn't acknowledged, nor the media propaganda in interfering with my hearts decision to have been well educated by the Suzuki Foundation

Apr 14, 2012
10:16 AM

Dear Dr. Suzuki,

I'm sorry to hear that politics has made it impossible for you to continue to helm your own Foundation. I hope that this step affords you the freedom you desire. Perhaps an nomination to a political party so you can take your message of rational ecological sustainability directly to the House of Commons?

I would vote for you if you were I were in your riding!

Sincerely, Jeremy Nasmith

Apr 14, 2012
9:23 AM

I follow you from Spain for a few months now after I found a really interesting article on your website. I believe many people are more than satisfied for how you've tried to improve the enviroment giving us useful solutions to help improve our society. I respect your decision, as Im sure everybody does. You've inspired us enough and give us a really important part of your time and believes, and I thank you for that! =).

Apr 14, 2012
9:22 AM

I'm so saddened by this recent news. I'm sorry David that you've felt the need to bend under political pressure like this. Your scientific view of the environment is always under attack and it sickens me that these people actually have forced you into this. As your name is attached to the foundation, I'm not certain that this decision will really stop the attacks on the foundation and what they stand for. I believe the foundation needs you on the board of directors. I also believe the environment needs you on the board of directors. I applaud everything that you do, and please know that you have more supporters than unsupporters!

Apr 14, 2012
9:21 AM

Thank you for all your hard work, David, and your inspiration. I know you're continuing in a slightly different way.

All the best to you

Apr 14, 2012
9:18 AM

I love you Dr David Suzuki- you are a modern hero and champ. This makes me so sad. I understand. But its not fair. People and planet before profits.

Apr 14, 2012
6:52 AM

Dear Dr. Suzuki

I am saddened by this announcement because of its implications regarding the efforts by government and others to mute the voices of reason in this country. Yet, I also understand the need to put some distance between yourself and this organization that continues to carry on such excellent and relevant work. I have been a huge admirer of yours for years and want to thank you for the incredible and tireless work you have done. I look forward to hearing more from you in the coming years, with fewer fetters. I'm sure it will be interesting and timely. Congratulations on work so well done, with more to come in a new vein.

Apr 14, 2012
5:43 AM

Thanks David. I understand and fully support what you are doing and why.

Apr 14, 2012
4:55 AM

I have been a supporter of the David Suzuki Foundation for many years now, and have had the honour of meeting Dr. Suzuki, and I recognize the dedication he has put forth in the creation, guidance, direction, and financial support of this fine NGO. My sense is that the David Suzuki Foundation has been his most recent child, which he has helped to nurture from its infancy to early adulthood.

I am quite distressed that our government has used their political clout to pervert the concept of ‘advocacy’ in such a manner as to try to weaken those NGOs which “dare” to oppose their agenda. Further, however, I am angry that, in this case, they have brought a wedge into a family. Dr. Suzuki has been compelled to have to make a choice between protecting his namesake NGO by leaving it, or remaining a steward to it and possibly bringing it harm. What an awful way to treat this honoured elder, so committed to the betterment of this planet and mankind’s relationship to it and its many other inhabitants.

Unlike so many of Dr. Suzuki’s opponents, who are working toward their own personal wealth and aggrandizement over the well-being of our natural world, Dr. Suzuki has shown himself to work tirelessly toward protecting our small blue planet for future generations, as he has now done for decades. His mission has been continued with clarity, and purpose.

So, be it. If he must isolate himself from the daily operations of the David Suzuki Foundation to protect its ability to function as an NGO in this heated period of political climate change, I commend him for making this decision. As difficult as it must be, it will allow him the independence to speak righteously, honestly and without the need for self-censure, and perhaps, in the greater picture, this changed landscape will allow for the type of freedom of expression that an elder in our society deserves.

In the political chess game many have been forced into with the current government, this turn of events may, in fact, be a gift. While disruptive to the Foundation at first, it may well lead to two levels of awareness. One brought by the Foundation’s scientific, scholarly, factual research and information, as well as through their coalition with progressive environmental entities pressing for enforcement of legislative responsibilities, while the other from a now fully unbridled and uncontained wise elder who can indeed speak his mind freely without fear of bringing harm to his namesake foundation.

I look forward to both continuing to exert their influences toward those political, legal, and ethical environmental issues we all regularly face. And I particularly look forward to hearing Dr. Suzuki, as he speaks with an even clearer voice, no longer concerned he may be sanctioned for expressing his beliefs and wisdom.

Apr 13, 2012
8:15 PM

It is true that when we attach ourselves to organizations or companies, we have to be so careful with what we say. Good move Elder David, it will liberate you. Your work over the years has been appreciated and we expect to keep hearing from you as an independent voice.



Apr 13, 2012
6:38 PM

Your journey is a great one. We are right behind you.

Apr 13, 2012
5:20 PM

God Bless you David and thank you for all the hard work, education and devotion to the things we all hold dear, our home the Earth.

Apr 13, 2012
4:49 PM

Thank you Dr. Suzuki for every ounce of your hard work and dedication. It has not gone unnoticed or unappreciated, and will not be forgotten quickly. Thank you.

The David Suzuki Foundation does not necessarily endorse the comments or views posted within this forum. All contributors acknowledge DSF's right to remove product/service endorsements and refuse publication of comments deemed to be offensive or that contravene our operating principles as a charitable organization. Please note that all comments are pre-moderated. Privacy Policy »