I just turned 80. I thought my work would be over and I'd be able to kick back and relax with my grandchildren by this age.
When my wife Tara and I started the David Suzuki Foundation in 1990, it was with a sense of urgency. I'd been involved in environmental issues since the 1960s, and hosted TV and radio programs about science during the 1970s, but it was working on the 1988 five-part CBC radio series It's a Matter of Survival that galvanized me.
After interviewing more than 150 scientists and experts from around the world, I saw that humans were destroying the very life-support systems of the planet at an alarming rate and scale. The program's message was that we had time to change course.
Listeners wanted to know what they could do. We received more than 16,000 letters — in pre-email days! Up until then, my response had always been, "I'm just the messenger," but Tara said that wasn't enough, that it was time to talk about solutions. She was right.
We invited 13 "thinkers" to Pender Island in 1989. Together, we saw the need for an organization that would address systemic issues based on the best scientific information.
Over the past 26 years, the Foundation has faced struggles, challenges and changes. Although we've succeeded in many important areas — getting much needed protection for habitat and species, providing scientific research on issues ranging from climate change to fisheries to natural capital, and raising awareness about our fundamental interconnectedness with nature — the pace of planetary destruction has not slowed.
But as awareness about the challenges we face grows, a shift is taking place.
The Paris Agreement, signed by 195 countries at the end of 2015, showed the world is finally taking the climate crisis seriously.
Thanks to people like you who have supported the Foundation's work with your time, donations and actions, more and more people are coming together to make our world a healthier place for ourselves and our children and grandchildren.
As a father and grandfather, I know I share with you the sense that this work is worthwhile and that together we can bring about positive change.
I'm grateful to you for standing with us and supporting us, and for continuing to work for a better world. I hope you will continue to support the Foundation in its important work.