Saturday, February 19, 2011
Five minutes with David Suzuki featured by Good Magazine Issue 17 (March-April 2011)
FIVE MINUTES WITH David SuzukiDavid Suzuki, scientist and passionate environmentalist, spoke to Vincent Heeringa about action and optimism when he was last in New Zealand.
Good: Sometimes our environment problems seem so large that as individuals we are overwhelmed. How can we make a difference?
David: I used to say 'think global, act local'. But it becomes so immense that people feel disempowered. We're better to 'think locally and act locally' to have any hope of being effective globally.
Good: How urgent are our problems?
David: I feel like we're heading towards a brick wall at 100 miles an hour, and we've got to slow down and get off the road. Individually, we can begin to act. On my website we've got the nature challenge - the 10 most effective things people can do. We focus on three areas: what we eat, how wemove and where we live - so food, housing and transportation.Very simple things, but if everybody does them it'll be quite effective at slowing us down.
Good: And on a global scale?
David: We need big government action: regulation and taxation. We need to regulate and bring down our car emissions. And we have to use taxation creatively: pull back taxes on the things you want to encourage, like infrastructure and green salaries, and tax the hell out of pollution.
Good: Do you feel like there's a momentum building?
David: The frustration for me is the power of the people with money. And that money in the end is driving the resistance to making the big changes. I'm an elder now, free of the burden of having to seek celebrity or power or money. So here's the truth: if we don't act, my children and grandchildren are in for deep trouble. When I'm on my deathbed, I want my grandchildren to gather round and for me to be able to say, "Look, I did the best I could!" I'm not going to be able to save the world, I'm only one person. But grandpa did the best he could.