Volume 92, Issue 54

Wednesday, December 9, 1998

and to all a goodnight


Suzuki sets clock to Earth Time

Gazette file photo
HONDA, TOYOTA, SUZUKI...YEAH, SUZUKI. David Suzuki speaks about his new book, Earth Time.

By Jill Sutherly

Gazette Staff

When garbage day rolls around, David Suzuki tosses one small bag of garbage out by the curb – per month.

His latest book Earth Time, by following the lead of his previous works is sure to hit the best seller list soon. The award winning scientist, environmentalist and broadcaster, addresses an issue very close to home – the future of planet Earth.

"The global ecological emergency is not some sensational or self-serving fabrication or exaggeration. The future of our children is now in serious jeopardy and each day that we carry on with business as usual reduces the range of options that will remain open to them," Suzuki writes.

Earth Time is a compilation of essays, critiquing the obstacles which prevent society from seeing the real ecological crisis in progress. It tackles specific issues to provoke recognition, with the intent of sparking immediate changes in the society.

In person, Suzuki emphasizes one of the most significant factors leading us on this path of environmental destruction is the human brain and our mind set. "We forget that we're still animals. We need clean air, clean water, clean food. We've got to get our mind in tune with what the crisis is," Suzuki explains. He contends forces such as globalization, changing technology, willful blindness and human selfishness have taken their toll on the overwhelming degradation of the Earth.

"I wanted to contrast the rhythms and cycles of the earth with human time," Suzuki notes in explanation of the title Earth Time. "We're a very young species and we've changed very quickly. Our numbers have suddenly risen, our technology has suddenly risen and we're now demanding that the Earth give us stuff. It's too fast – it's not in sync with the Earth's time," Suzuki declares. In short, he explains our natural resources are disappearing because we have solely been focusing upon human time rather than living within the Earth's time.

Suzuki directs his new book particularly towards young people whom he hopes will recognize the catastrophic effects of global warming and ozone layer depletion. Earth Time, Suzuki anticipates, will provoke a commitment from the younger generation to improve their actions beyond their adult role models.

"The commitment I've made is not so much for me as it is for my grandchildren," Suzuki states. "I know I'm not going to save the planet, but I'm going to do the best I can and if millions of people do the best they can, then we're going to make a change."

In Suzuki's eyes, humanity's greatest need today is a restored sense of connection with the Earth and our natural surroundings. This can only come about by experiencing directly the vastness of our planet first hand. He's disappointed by the statistics, which reveal over half of children learn about nature from television, one third from schools and less than 10 per cent by actually going outdoors.

"The environment isn't something 'out there,' something we take from, put into and have to manage so we can continue to exploit it, without damaging its productive capacity," Suzuki explains. "The issue is far more profound. We literally are the Earth."

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Copyright The Gazette 1998