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David Suzuki announces retirement from The Nature of Things, says he’s ready to focus more on environmentalism


After 44 years of hosting CBC’s The nature of things, David Suzuki’s term will end. While the upcoming season will be his last, that doesn’t necessarily mean the public will see or hear little of the iconic – and sometimes controversial, Canadian environmentalist. argue.

“This is the most important moment in my life,” Suzuki told CBC News in an interview. “I hate to call it retirement. I’m just moving on.”

His final season with the series focusing on nature and science will premiere in January. In a statement, CBC management said new storage plans will be confirmed “in the coming weeks.”

Suzuki said he is excited about the future of the show.

In recent years, the 86-year-old has taken a step back from the series, appearing less on camera. He pokes fun at his age, saying he’s “beyond the best of me before dating.”

Suzuki said he wants to retire for a while but continues with the program to make sure that The nature of things will not be canceled after he leaves.

“People in the media think, ‘Oh my God, The The nature of thingsis it still light? “

The show – and Suzuki – have come a long way since he first started hosting it in 1979.

When he began his broadcasting career in the 1960s, Suzuki’s casual style stood out.

He said: “I have a headband and shoulder length hair and old lady glasses.

Suzuki began hosting CBC’s Quirks & Quarks program in 1975. As a trained scientist who completed eight years of post-secondary study in the United States, his journalism career began with a series of curricula. television episode on genetics, which aired on the local CBC Alberta channel on Sunday Mornings. (CBC stills collection)

But Suzuki was able to connect with the audience, and he took the Canadian with him as he explored a wide range of topics.

Through The nature of thingsSuzuki has shared his passion for science and nature with the public – from explaining how a ballpoint pen works to discussing a 1980s battle. login on Haida Gwaii of British Columbiaformerly known as the Queen Charlotte Islands.

Through interviewing people in Haida, Suzuki said he first understood how nature and humans connect.

“Through them, I see there’s no ‘out there environment’ … the environment is what makes us who we are,” he said.

VIEW | Activist Haida told David Suzuki about opposing logging:

Guujaaw tells Suzuki why the Haida family opposes logging.

David Suzuki talks with Haida activist and artist Guujaaw (then known as Gary Edenshaw) about why the Haida people oppose logging. The interview is from the documentary Windy Bay, which first aired on The Nature of Things in 1982.

Fear that environmentalism has failed

During his long tenure as a science communicator and environmentalist, Suzuki has earned a reputation for speaking his mind – and sometimes landing in hot water.

He is made controversial statement on the safety of genetically modified foods. The general consensus of the majority of scientists and World Health Organization whether GMOs are safe, although some members of the public remain wary, according to a survey by the Pew Research Center.

Last year, Suzuki was accused of inciting eco-terrorism for saying that if the government doesn’t take climate change seriously, people will blow up the pipeline. Critics also say the environmentalist is a hypocrite living in a multimillion-dollar waterfront house in Vancouver.

Suzuki holds a banner with protesters protesting Kinder Morgan’s plan to expand the Trans Mountain oil pipeline, in Burnaby, BC, in March 2018. (Canadian Press)

Suzuki defended himself, saying trolls and news outlets could take his words out of context or falsify them.

“This type of attack is used as some sort of excuse to avoid whatever I’m saying. But that doesn’t mean the message isn’t real,” Suzuki told CBC’s Ian Hanomansing.

Suzuki is both careless and self-critical in reflecting on his legacy.

Looking back on his broadcasting career, he said he feels very honored to be in the drama and proud of what it achieved, though he doesn’t see it as his own achievement.

Suzuki said that he hopes people will learn something from his work, but added that “when I die, I don’t care what people think of me. I will die.”

As for his environmental protection activities, Suzuki said he still has a lot of work to do.

Suzuki, left, and Swedish environmental activist Greta Thunberg, 16, speak before a climate march in Montreal on September 27, 2019. (Ivanoh Demers / Radio-Canada)

“Overall, I feel like a failure, part of a movement that has failed,” he said. “All I wanted was to be able to tell my grandchildren, ‘I did the best I could.'”

Suzuki said he thinks the key to tackling climate change is to get people to change the way they think about nature.

“We are intimately connected. There is no separation between us and the air, between us and nature,” he said.

He hopes to have more free time soon to devote to the environmental movement.

‘Now we can tell the truth’

As he moves into the next phase of his life, Suzuki said he believes it’s more than ever before it’s his responsibility to call it that.

“I don’t have to kiss anyone’s ass to get a job or get a raise or a promotion,” he said. “I am free now, as an elder.

“As an older person, you no longer worry about power, money or fame. Now we can tell the truth. We can look back and say ‘this is BS.'”

Just a few days ago, Suzuki did exactly that at a press conference in BC, accusing the federal government of being “bullshit” for promoting tourism while failing to address climate change.

He credits his father for teaching him to take a stance. Suzuki remembers being lectured by her father in high school for taking a “namby-pamby” stance on an issue as the student council president.

“He said, ‘If you want people to like you, then you won’t support anything. There will always be people who oppose or disagree with you.”

A young Suzuki, right, a third-generation Japanese-Canadian, is shown with his two sisters at a British Columbia Interior Slocan City detention camp, between 1942 and 1945. (Canadian National Archives)

Suzuki, a third-generation Japanese-Canadian, spent part of his childhood in an internment camp in the BC Civil Service with his family during World War II. His father was sent into forced labor by the Canadian government.

He says his experience in war is part of the reason social justice and activism are so important to him.

When asked what his childhood would think of where he is, Suzuki paused.

“I guess he’ll be surprised. I don’t know what he’ll think.”

Journey from ‘hotshot scientist’ to TV announcer

Suzuki, a scientist by training, said he never planned to be a full-time broadcaster. After eight years of post-secondary education in the United States, he returned to Canada in 1962 with plans to pursue a career as a geneticist.

Suzuki said: “In my mind, I am a good scientist. “I wanted to make a name for myself in the field of genetics – and shockingly, when I applied for a research grant, I was given $4,200.”

Suzuki said he couldn’t believe the lack of funding for Canadian research, compared with his American colleagues, who are receiving grants in the tens of thousands of dollars.

“I said, ‘What the hell is going on? Canada and science are like a puddle of water.'”

VIEW | David Suzuki, ‘sexy poster boy of science’:

David Suzuki, ‘sexy poster boy of science’

David Suzuki raised his eyebrows at the bold advertisement.

That was part of the reason Suzuki shared his passion for science with the country.

His introduction into journalism began with a series of television episodes about genetics, which aired on the local CBC Alberta channel on Sunday mornings. Suzuki was teaching in the department of genetics at the University of Alberta at the time.

“I started meeting people on campus who said, ‘I really liked the show you did last week.'”

Suzuki said he was surprised at how many people watched TV on Sunday.

“That’s when I realized this is a powerful vehicle.”

He then went on to become the first host of CBC’s radio show Quirks & Quarksand in 1979 he took over The nature of thingsReleased in November 1960.

“I want Canadians to know that science is important,” Suzuki said.

Even though people now have loads of information at their fingertips, Suzuki is still worried about the amount of misinformation.

A Japanese-Canadian man with white hair smiles and laughs in the middle of a conversation, as he sits in his home.  On the table in front of you is a glass of water, behind is a window with green foliage in the yard.
Suzuki, pictured in conversation with CBC’s Ian Hanomansing, says his goal has always been to teach Canadians that science is important. (Ben Nelms / CBC)

“I want people to have more information. Well, now that they have it…. It’s really a bad state, and people don’t know how to get through that information,” he said. speak.

“But I hope that even though it’s a dump out there, but The nature of things will continue to sparkle like a jewel. “

Suzuki said he deeply values ​​his time with the program and the opportunities it has given him to learn from others.

“I had a great run,” he said.

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