Suzuki shares Blue Dot movement to heal the planet


“Is a forest a sacred grove, or simply timber and pulp? Is a river the veins and capillaries of the land, or is it for power and irrigation? Is the soil a complex community of organisms, or just dirt? Is another species our biological kin, or a resource? Is our house our home, or a piece of real estate?”

These were some of the thought-provoking ideas award-winning scientist, environmentalist and broadcaster, David Suzuki shared during his keynote speech at Sheridan’s Trafalgar Campus on Monday.

For 45 minutes Suzuki poked and prodded at many common Western ideologies, while more than 500 enthusiastic students, teachers and community members listened attentively.

Suzuki signs a Mission Zero banner that Sheridan's sustainability group put together. The sign read "I pledge to support Sheridan in the fight against climate change."

Suzuki signs a Mission Zero banner that Sheridan’s sustainability group put together. The sign read “I pledge to support Sheridan in the fight against climate change.”

The audience was captivated by Suzuki’s stories, his ideas and his newest project, the Blue Dot Movement. The Town of Oakville passed a declaration supporting the movement on July 20.

Suzuki described his final project as a grassroots movement, beginning by getting municipalities to sign on, followed by the provinces and eventually the country.

“We want to get a constitutional amendment and enshrine the right to a healthy environment,” said Suzuki.

He spoke about how our society has changed and how certain rights that have been taken into consideration and encompassed under Canadian legislation.

“My parents were born in this country but they couldn’t vote until 1948. The indigenous people of this country couldn’t vote until 1960,” said Suzuki. “It was illegal to be gay in this country until 1965 and women couldn’t vote 100 years ago. These are all changes that have come about as society has changed and as we began to enshrine certain rights in our constitution.”

Currently 110 countries worldwide have included the right to a healthy environment somewhere in their federal constitutions, yet Canada is not among them.

Suzuki explained that we are at a unique and important time in our history. Not only is there a new government in Canada for the first time in 10 years, but there is also the World Climate Change Conference (COP21) in Paris at the end of this month.

“I believe that we’ve had 10 very dark years of what is criminal activity of the Harper government. In the name of the economy Mr. Harper has been wilfully blind to the reality of the impact of climate change on Canada,” Suzuki said. “I feel hopeful, certainly now that Harper is gone. There’s been a huge shift.”


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Planting sustainable roots at Sheridan College

Mission Zero seeks volunteer support


While addressing global issues he managed to bring the conversation to a personal level as well. Suzuki, 79, explained that at this point in his life he’s tired of fighting, and he has no interest in it.

“The problem with fighting is that there’s a winner and a loser. I think when it comes to ecological issues, we can’t afford to have losers,” Suzuki said.

At the end of the day he explained that if we are to change the way we live and how we operate that we have to speak to each other human to human, and agree on what our true basic needs are.

“We create things that we take more seriously than our biological needs,” said Suzuki. “We elevate the economy over the very atmosphere that keeps us alive.”

At the end of the speech the gymnasium erupted with applause and Suzuki received a standing ovation.

Second-year Social Service Worker student, Mohku Sayeed, was one of many in attendance that was grateful to hear Suzuki speak.

“I though his speech was phenomenal,” said Sayeed. “I appreciate him being so clear and concise and that if we want to make progress in this conversation we need to recognize where things are rooting back to.”

Sayeed was the first to take to the stage to introduce the performance put on by Sheridan’s Aboriginal Initiatives Office prior to Suzuki’s introduction.

The performance included a quick speech and song, reminding us all that the land we are on was that of the Mississauga, New Credit First Nations.

“There were people that lived here for thousands of years,” said Suzuki following the performance. “And when we talk about sustainability we ought to be thinking about the people we took this country from.”


Below is a timeline of the various projects that the Suzuki Foundation has initiated since 1991: