Canada’s Walk of Fame honours Canadians who have made major contributions in culture, business, science, sports and technology. On March 23, the Walk of Fame unveiled a plaque in Vancouver to commemorate David Suzuki, award-winning scientist, author, environmentalist and broadcaster, fondly remembered for his CBC TV show, The Nature of Things.
Previous inductees include: Michael J. Fox, Terry Fox, Glenn Gould, Karen Kain, k.d.lang, Gordon Lightfoot, Sarah McLachlan, Deepa Mehta, Joni Mitchell, Wayne Gretzky, Lawrence Hill, Oscar Peterson and Buffy Sainte-Marie.
There was a reception at the Vancouver CBC building and I was thrilled to be invited. David made a heartfelt acceptance speech, saying his award belonged to the audiences who watched The Nature of Things. My most memorable experience of meeting David Suzuki happened around 1980 when he came to the University of Alberta to give a talk on science and how it impacts our world. I don’t remember his exact words. I do remember that I was changed by them. I began to realize the importance of science in our world and that it must done with attention to the consequences, with acceptance and understanding of the ways of the natural world.
For decades, David has reminded us that we “are not immune to the laws of Nature.” And many of us have been listening. He advises us to put the “eco” back into “economics.” We’re waiting for business and government to pay attention to that message.
At the reception, I met some of the team at the David Suzuki Foundation (DSF), founded by David and his wife Tara. The idea is to collaborate with DSF on an event that would focus on Howe Sound/Atl’kitsem and my book, Whale in the Door, an event that would celebrate the sound and bring residents and lovers of the sound together. We are still at the brainstorming stage. More on that in another post.
I leave you with these words from David: “The way we see the world shapes the way we treat it. If a mountain is a deity, not a pile of ore; if a river is one of the veins of the land, not potential irrigation water; if a forest is a sacred grove, not timber; if other species are biological kin, not resources; or if the planet is our mother, not an opportunity — then we will treat each other with greater respect. This is the challenge, to look at the world from a different perspective.”
Speaking of perspectives, everyone at the reception received a pair of socks. They’re red. On the soles in black lettering, The Nature of Things, with David’s image as a younger person along the sides. Colourful socks. To encourage us to walk in his footsteps? To walk softly on the Earth?
Thank you, David Suzuki. You are an inspiration. And Happy 82nd birthday!