Suzuki says “Canada could be sustainable within a generation”

David Suzuki says that politicians often miss his point about sustainability. He says they complain about having to address competing interests such as health care, the economy and other problems to worry about rather than focusing on environmental concerns.

This attitude frustrates Suzuki because it proves that they really are missing the point being made by not only himself but by environmental groups, scientist, health care organizations, municipalities and others. The point these groups are trying to make is that the health of the country as a whole, including the economy, depends on the quality of the air, water, food, our communities, and our ability to get around.

Despite the efforts made by these organizations many politicians and business leaders still hold to their “environment versus economy” idea to justify their poor environmental practices. David Suzuki is fighting hard against this old idea and working to change the attitudes of our leader so they will come to recognize the connection between the health of Canada’s environment and the health of the citizens.

In the Suzuki Foundation’s report Sustainability within a generation: A new vision for Canada. Lawyer David Boyd points out that, in spite of our reputation as an environmental leader, Canada ranks near the bottom of developed countries in terms of issues like transportation, waste, energy use, air pollution and water use. Partly because of poor government policies, Canadians are some of the most wasteful people on the planet. Each of us uses the equivalent of 575,000 litres of oil and 125 million litres of water in our lifetimes. No wonder our cities are polluted!

Suzuki says that for Canada to become sustainable – that is, reach a state where our activities are not depleting the resources we depend on for our health and well-being – we need fundamental policy shifts, starting at the highest level, that encourage efficiency and innovation and discourage waste. Many of these policy shifts are what some people call “no brainers,” things like better efficiency standards for appliances and better insulation standards for our homes. By reducing the amount of energy we need to heat our houses and power our appliances, we will save money, reduce stress on the electricity grid (like the stress that caused last summer’s blackout in Ontario), reduce pollution and slow global warming. 

Suzuki wants people to know that today’s fuel efficiency standards for our vehicles are straight out of the dark ages. Suzuki says “It’s simply bizarre that only one of the vehicles in Ford’s new-car lineup gets better fuel efficiency than Henry Ford’s 1912 Model T. And it’s shocking that new vehicles in today’s showrooms, on average, burn the same amount of fuel as new vehicles did in 1980. Where’s the progress in that? Where’s the innovation?”

The “Sustainability within a generation” report says that to develop a clean, modern economy, we have to address these inadequacies. We have to reduce our dependence on oil, coal and gas that cause air pollution and climate change. We have to shift to clean, renewable energy sources like wind and solar power, as many European countries have already successfully done.

See the full report at: