We've come a long way since the Foundation got its start 20 years ago, and I'm proud of what we've accomplished over the past two decades. But I can't help but feel some disappointment. We sounded the alarm about climate change so many years ago, and yet governments are still dithering on what to do about it.
When we started the Foundation, we negotiated with government leaders and policy–makers to protect our wildlife and oceans and to turn back climate change. But we still have a lot of work to do. We must keep going.
Lately, I've been buoyed by the shift I've noticed in awareness about environmental issues, at least in public and business sectors. Concern for the environment is growing more rapidly among individuals and business leaders than among governments. Despite the intransigence of the politicians and some industry leaders, more and more people are making efforts in their everyday lives to protect the environment, and many business leaders are starting to realize that protecting the biosphere that keeps us alive is good for business.
Many people are also beginning to understand that the real bottom line is that we need clean air and unpolluted water to live. We need food free from toxic additives to remain healthy and enjoy a good quality of life. Our highest priority must be to protect the biosphere that gives us life, not to use it as a dumping ground.
I believe that most people really do care about the world – our home – and that gives me hope. The many people who support the David Suzuki Foundation – the staff, volunteers, ambassadors, donors, people who join our campaigns and actions – make us realize that our work is worthwhile. Businesses adopting more sustainable practices, people cycling to work and school, city councils implementing and strengthening recycling and composting programs... all of these things show that positive change is happening all around us every day.
When we first started the Foundation, I thought that by the time I approached my 75th birthday, I could enjoy some leisure time and that much of our work would be done. But the ecological challenges we face today are just as difficult as they were 20 years ago. I never thought the Foundation alone could get us onto a truly sustainable path, which is why I'm encouraged that people across Canada are pitching in – writing to their leaders, lowering their emissions, and reducing their impact in their everyday lives.
With your ongoing support and activism, we will continue to work for a healthier world.
To find out if Dr. Suzuki is coming to your town, please visit davidsuzuki.org/david/speaking-schedule/