Photo: Reflections and wishes as I approach my 80th birthday

(Credit: Nadege Vince)

For more than 25 years, I've studied and communicated about the seriousness of the climate crisis. It was the main reason my wife, Tara, and I joined other thinkers to start an environmental organization, which we named the David Suzuki Foundation (a name I initially rejected) — now celebrating its 25th year!

I can't help thinking how much better off we'd all be had the politicians and public heeded the warnings from climate scientists and experts so many years ago. Had we taken incremental steps, we could have shifted much further from dangerous fossil fuels to energy conservation and clean energy with only minor disruptions. Now, as the consequences of global warming hit home and become increasingly severe, we have to resort to more drastic and possibly disruptive solutions.

Still, we have time. A growing body of research shows addressing climate change and other environmental challenges will not only benefit human health and well-being, but will also provide economic boosts. And not doing anything about it could be disastrous for the economies of Canada and the world.
During the federal election campaign,

we heard a lot of promises about tackling climate change. Let's hope our new government keeps its promises and works with other parties to do even more. That means making constructive contributions to next month's UN climate summit in Paris.

As my 80th birthday approaches, I look back at the good work people at the Foundation have done, to bring about fishing industry reforms, protect species at risk and their habitat, promote restrictions on pesticides that harm our children's health, find solutions to our climate and energy challenges, and so much more. None of it would have been possible without the support of hundreds of volunteers and tens of thousands of donors. Now municipalities representing more than seven million Canadians have signed declarations for the right to a healthy environment, and the Manitoba government has committed to doing so as well, using the Foundation's Blue Dot campaign to create a powerful and ever- growing movement from coast to coast to coast.

But there's still work ahead. I won't be around forever, but I care about my children and grandchildren and all the world's people, and about the planet and natural systems that allow us to thrive and survive. And so I have some birthday wishes. At the top is for world leaders to finally come up with a fair and binding agreement in Paris to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. I also wish for your continued support. Together, we've made great gains, but we have much left to do. Thanks.