Time for John Abbott and West Island Students to get involved – to help preserve the wetlands, forests, and fields of Ste. Anne de Bellevue.You don’t have to live here to participate – the lands belong to all Quebecers.
David Suzuki tells students at John Abbott:
We’ve reached critical point in history
Source: The Gazette
Dr. David Suzuki has spoken and the message is grim.
The renowned scientist and environmentalist told a sold-out crowd of 1,600 student and staff at John Abbott College in Ste-Anne-de-Bellevue, Tuesday, that we have reached a critical point in history.
He said that what we do or don’t do in the next years will decide whether we survive as a species.
The lecture was streamed live on the Internet to almost 14,000 students watching at schools in the Lester B. Pearson School Board.
“I consider myself an elder,” Suzuki, 76, said following a blessing by a Mohawk elder. John Abbott College is built on aboriginal land.
“I’m at the end of my life,” Suzuki said. “But what is done now will affect you for the rest of your lives. You have the biggest stake in what’s going on today.”
The author of 52 books, many of them targeting young people, holds 25 honorary degrees and has a broadcast career that spans more than 30 years.
“I tell my fellow elders to get the hell off the golf course and share what they’ve learned,” he said. “Together, elders and young people can create a powerful force.”
Suzuki spoke of the shifting of human priorities, how the laws of nature have been replaced by the laws of the marketplace.
“Attitudes and behaviours must change if vast human misery is to be avoided,” he said. “There are 7 billion people on this planet. That’s a huge ecological footprint — just to keep us alive. Yet a study showed that 97 per cent of teenage girls list shopping as their favourite activity.
“The challenge is to rediscover who we are and to understand that we are utterly dependent on the laws of nature. We need clean water and air to survive. We need healthy soil to grow food.
“We can change the market — it’s a human construct — we sure as hell can’t change the laws of nature.”
Suzuki called for young people to get involved politically, even if they are too young to vote.
“We need their leadership,” he said at a press conference following the lecture and a book signing. “What is hanging in the balance is their future.”
It might appear overwhelming, but Suzuki said even the smallest gesture will have an impact over time, like drops of water that eventually fill a bucket.
Remember to shut off lights, reduce water consumption, recycle and reuse. And try your mightiest not to get seduced by the super-consumer mentality.
“Young people can’t want the next iPad. That’s just not part of the new future. That’s the challenge,” Suzuki said.
And then there’s the fact that their parents and grandparents have left a huge mess to clean up.
“The state my generation and the baby-boomer generation left the planet in for the younger generations is immoral,” Suzuki said. “We partied like there was no tomorrow. Bigger houses, bigger cars, lots and lots of stuff. We never thought about what we would be leaving behind.”
Suzuki blasted the federal government for “refusing to acknowledge that the issue of climate change is important to Canadians.”
He praised the PQ government for closing the Gentilly-2 nuclear plant, extending the moratorium on fracking and cancelling a loan to revive the asbestos industry.
Suzuki’s visit coincided with the opening of John Abbott College’s new Science and Health Technologies building. The building is designed by the Saucier + Perrotte architecture firm and is in the running to be certified LEED gold, which means highly environmentally friendly.
During the early stages of construction, if healthy trees were found to be in the way, they were relocated, not destroyed.
Even the shape of the building’s facade was designed to protect the presence of one, very old Ginkgo tree.
“To do all that for one tree shows a respect for other life forms,” Suzuki said. “I applaud John Abbott for leading the way. But a “green” building shouldn’t be something special. It should be the price of doing business.”