In the age of Darwin and reality television, Canada's longest-running documentary series is the ultimate "survivor," says David Suzuki. Having recently celebrated his 30th anniversary as the host of the award-winning The Nature of Things with David Suzuki, some might say the same of David Suzuki himself.The famous David Suzuki 'fig leaf' photo circa 1999.
For three decades, Canadians have trusted David Suzuki and The Nature of Things on issues of the environment, wildlife, technology and medicine. the nature of things - and David Suzuki have paved the way for a greater understanding of the increasingly complex world in which we live.
David points out how the nature of things has informed his own world-view. Indeed, his perspective has changed from seeing the world as existing for humanity's sake to recognizing that humans are simply one part of the natural world. He says, about this profound shift in thinking, "it was a huge realization for me."A young Suzuki at the beginning of his broadcasting career.
Before his life as a broadcaster, David Suzuki was a distinguished professor and geneticist. He has authored 40 books, received 24 honorary degrees and has been recognized by the UN for his environmental leadership. David is a fellow of the Royal Society of Canada and a Companion of the Order of Canada. He is founder of the influential non-profit organization, the David Suzuki Foundation. A Canadian icon for many years, Canadians bestowed on David the humbling status of fifth Greatest Canadian in 2004.David Suzuki, circa 1970's
David began his career in television because of his passion to provide audiences with a way to understand the complex world of science. He soon realized that the "social ramifications of science can be immense," and he began to ask the questions no one else was asking. When the nature of things presented environmental degradation, satellite technology and birth control, the show raised the controversies and dilemmas and explained the potential social impacts. David proudly notes "The Nature of Things has been bringing that home for years."
For more than a generation, nature of things viewers have seen fast-paced change: genetic engineering transformed and computer technologies becoming extensions of ourselves. "Computers were monsters when I started out in television." But in David's opinion, some issues haven't advanced enough. In 1988, The Nature of Things interviewed a group of scientists calling for a 20 per cent reduction in greenhouse gases over 15 years. "Imagine if we had done it, we would be way past Kyoto by now."
What about the future? Canada's foremost environmental conscience acknowledges the challenges ahead, but hand-wringing is not an option. "I want to say I did the best I could. That means you can't give up."
Learn more about David Suzuki on CBC's Digital Archives.