2007 Sir John Quick lecture - David Suzuki

Can we avoid the looming ecological armageddon?

Presented live via video conference on 25 October 2007 from Vancouver, Canada, by Dr David Suzuki, award-winning scientist, environmentalist and broadcaster. Listen to the lecture (MP3 file 44.5MB).

Dr Suzuki looks at the contrast between our vaunted claims at rationality and the way we are handling ecological issues like climate change.

He argues that, in the case of climate change, our political leaders do not utilise the best information to reach a conclusion. Our political leaders factor in elements such as the next election and the business community’s needs and then adopt the kind of information that justifies their actions.

Dr Suzuki suggests that this goes directly against the strategy for survival used by our species since the beginning of our existence – using our ability to peer into the future, examine the potential dangers and opportunities, and then to act accordingly.

Dr David Suzuki

david-suzukiDavid Suzuki, Chair of the David Suzuki Foundation, is an award-winning scientist, environmentalist and broadcaster. He is renowned for his radio and television programs that explain the complexities of the natural sciences in a compelling, easily understood way.

Dr. Suzuki is a geneticist. He graduated from Amherst College (Massachusetts) in 1958 with an Honours BA in Biology, followed by a Ph.D. in Zoology from the University of Chicago. He held a research associateship in the Biology Division of Tennessee’s Oak Ridge National Lab (1961 – 62), was an Assistant Professor in Genetics at the University of Alberta (1962 – 63), and since then has been a faculty member of the University of British Columbia. He is now Professor Emeritus of The University of British Columbia, Sustainable Development Research Institute.

In 1972, he was awarded the E.W.R. Steacie Memorial Fellowship for the outstanding research scientist in Canada under the age of 35. He has won numerous academic awards and holds 19 honourary degrees in Canada, the U.S. and Australia. A member of the Royal Society of Canada and a Companion to the Order of Canada, Dr. Suzuki has written 43 books, including 17 for children. His 1976 textbook An Introduction to Genetic Analysis (with A.J.F. Griffiths), remains the most widely used genetics text book in the U.S. and has been translated into Italian, Spanish, Greek, Indonesian, Arabic, French and German.

Dr. Suzuki has received consistently high acclaim for his thirty years of award-winning work in broadcasting. In 1974 he developed and hosted the long running popular science program Quirks and Quarks on CBC Radio. He has since presented two influential documentary CBC radio series on the environment, It’s a Matter of Survival and From Naked Ape to Superspecies. His television career began with CBC in 1971 when he wrote and hosted Suzuki on Science. He then created and hosted a number of television specials, and in 1979 became the host of the award-winning The Nature of Things with David Suzuki. He has won four Gemini Awards as best host of a Canadian television series for The Nature of Things, which he has been with for 26 of the 46 seasons they have been on air.  His eight part television series, A Planet for the Taking, won an award from the United Nations. His eight part PBS series, The Secret of Life, was praised internationally, as was his five part series The Brain for the Discovery Channel. On June 10, 2002 he received the John Drainie Award for broadcasting excellence.

Dr. Suzuki is also recognized as a world leader in sustainable ecology. He is the recipient of UNESCO’s Kalinga Prize for Science, the United Nations Environment Program Medal and the Global 500. He is a fellow of the American Association of the Advancement of Science. More info: www.davidsuzuki.org.