Photo: This Father's Day, I'm thanking David Suzuki and his dad

What if David Suzuki's dad had prioritized making more money? (Credit: Ully Bleil)

It's not always easy to resist the urge to "keep up with the Joneses" — to load up on the latest fashions and newest gadgets, buy a bigger car or home.

David Suzuki's dad, Carr, loved nature and the outdoors. He took David fishing, instilling a love, appreciation and gratitude for the natural world and taught him to pity those who only chase after money and things.

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David's dad helped make him who he is. Watching David on The Nature of Things when I was a kid inspired me to pursue a career in science and ecology — and led me to this point.

This Father's Day, reflect on the values instilled in you by your father figures and male role models. Why do you prioritize your connection with nature, or even read this blog? And what do you do to nurture that connection with the kids in your life?


Comment on this blog to win a hand-crafted shaving brush by Brad of The Copper Hat, made from 100 per cent post-consumer recycled polystyrene and a tin of all-natural shave soap. (Congrats to Laura of Calgary, our winner!)

Lindsay Coulter, a fellow Queen of Green

June 10, 2014

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Sep 27, 2014
8:29 PM

I saw a program where David Suzuki told how he left his father in his wheelchair in nature by himself for a period of time (?). When he came back to get his father, his father said, “I had the best day!!!” I was so touched and it impacted me greatly.

Jul 05, 2014
2:18 PM

Thank you David Suzuki, you are my hero! You deserve so much credit, and, please, don’t give up the fight for the world to be a better place! You rock, my friend. Hugs and warm wishes. Dallas.

Jul 05, 2014
12:53 PM

I actually grew up watching Nature shows.. they infected me with a wonderful love of Nature (and I’m here because I used to watch The Nature of Things, and David Suzuki’s opinions I actually know I can trust). To this day I watch Mother Nature in action, especially during the summer, I’m simply amazed with how all has evolved to benefit each other, and if not to create balance of populations of various species. It’s nothing less than magical to me. My son is only a toddler, but I teach him with the plants I grow indoors (which we also eat) and explain what each thing he sees in my yard is (it’s very wild, save for the non-native flowers, you would think it’s unkept) from the bees, to the wasps, to the trees, the vegetables, fruits, the birds and even the rocks and water, trying to teach him from now to adulthood how important it all is, and that we must preserve it as this is our only home, and we cannot be selfish, because this is also the home of other living organisms, and even the non-living items serve a significant purpose. I even let him watch me catch a stray bug that manages to get in my house and release it back into Nature.We spend more time in Nature than we do with other activities.

Jul 05, 2014
12:41 AM

I am so grateful that my husband is doing the same for our 3 kids. The other night he decided to take the eldest (6 years old) out for a brief bike ride for a bit of alone time together and they rode their bikes to and along the dyke (in Richmond) and were gone for 2 hours!!!!!! Those will be their lasting impressions of their dad!

Jul 04, 2014
1:57 PM

Thank you Carr, from all Canadians, for bringing up such a wonderful man to champion the environmental cause for us all! David for Prime Minister!!

Jul 02, 2014
10:38 PM

My father loved history as well as nature. He took us kids regularly to Point Pelee and Jack Miner’s bird sanctuary in SW Ontario. Being raised on a farm, he instilled in us a love for all creatures, the bounty of the earth and honest hard work.And we’re passing these on to the next generation.

Jul 02, 2014
7:48 PM

During an infestation of Tent caterpillars in the 60’s (that literally covered everything with a moving black blanket- like a Hitchcock movie), I asked my Dad if he was scared working as a faller surrounded by them in the bush. Amazingly he said “no, because he never ever saw any in the bush. This only happens in town”, (and that he’d never seen anything like it as a kid).

That astonished me, and really made me think. People were spraying DDT on them all the time, and they kept on crawling. Later I noticed that tiny inch worms would grow as large as your baby finger if the rose bush was subjected to systemic poisons.

Some people think organics are a new concept, but everyone had organic food when my Dad was young. My generation only had organics while we still grew our own food.

I miss Dad. To him growing things the old way was just second nature and simple. He knew so much stuff that I have trouble finding out about now a-days.

Jul 02, 2014
6:41 PM

My dad was always pointing out things that weren’t natural and could be toxic to the body. Because of this, I’ve always read labels and look for things that are good for humans and good for the earth. I talk about these kinds of things constantly with my children as they are the future and need to know how important it is to use natural products that are good for us and the earth.

Jul 02, 2014
4:41 PM

My dad was born n raised a townie but once he was older, he soon brought a piece of land, to become a farmer… As time went by, he learned more and became good at being a farmer! Mum how ever hated the products he used. In the seventys, in the uk, chemicals seemed to play a big part but mum hated it! So a new era begun, plus the rows and fears… As kids we saw all this… Time flew by and soon I was having kids. Watching my dad farm and equating farming to what we eat, listening to mum, I was fast becoming a ‘natural’ shopper, back then it wasn’t anywhere as ‘fashionable’, plus farming was just becoming the huge industry it has fast become now, where fast huge yields become the new goal. I try to as much as I can do, afford or find live as simply as I can, but even that is still not as fashionable as it could be, even in this dawn of what seems a ‘natural era’. My dad begun what I see as now mine, natural, simple, good wholesome living… As kids we can carry a torch that once was a small flame, set alight by a desire to live of the land, getting back to the land, where we start n finish.

Jun 22, 2014
4:35 PM

My father taught me to fish as well and has influenced the way I perceive our environment and the natural beauty and balance of it. I hope to install the same teachings of respect for nature and for the simple love of it to my own children if I should have any, but right now I can start on other young minds, like that of my 7 year old cousin. I want more children to grow up with knowledge and respect for the environment. :)

Jun 18, 2014
8:10 PM

This is for my Da who did the same for me.

Jun 14, 2014
9:15 PM

Father’s Day. The one day we set aside every year to honour and celebrate the importance of fathering. For many this may include taking dad out for brunch, or a ball game, it may include a new set of tools, such as a shiny drill set or a new driver to improve his golf game. All of which are nice sentiments, but in the end lack real substance. As we celebrate the importance and meaning of “father-ing” let us be reminded of the great “fathers” of our time, from every culture, religion, and nation. These historical figures were our first fathers, our first teachers. They led by example. They lead by strength. They lead by logic untainted by greed and self-importance. They lead with courage. They were lead by Truth. For me, a happy Fathers’s Day is the return to those ideals, manifested in the strength and decency of true fatherly leadership: one that promotes health over wealth, uses logic vs emotion, values justice more than self-importance, and recognizes the dignity and sacredness of all peoples,animals, and the planet we inhabit. Happy Father’s Day.

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