David Suzuki and the David Suzuki Foundation are travelling to B.C. coastal communities to get people motivated to fight the forces driving climate change.
Suzuki opened the Celebrating Coastal Connections tour to an audience of about 500 at Beban Park social centre Monday.
Suzuki, his foundation and First Nations representatives talked about the consequences of climate change and discussed the need to mend a clash of cultures with non-aboriginal peoples who began arriving 500 years ago.
Suzuki said the fundamentals of the cultural clash lie in how First Nations and settlers viewed the land. Newcomers, including his grandparents, left their elders and elders’ values behind in their lands of origin and saw the land only as a resource to be exploited for monetary gain. That thinking was passed down to their children.
First Nations, whose roots in B.C. “are 10,000 years deep,” view the Earth as a home and mother that provides food, shelter and everything needed to sustain life.
“The partnership of First Nations, who provide that perspective, with environmentalists who describe the ecological impact of our species, I believe can become a powerful force for change,” Suzuki said.
Snuneymuxw Chief John Wesley echoed that sentiment.
“When we talk about connecting we’ve also got to communicate and work together as partners and replenish our rivers, all our resources,” Wesley said. “You know, if we’re working together it’s easier to replenish the beaches and rivers.”
Suzuki also quoted pessimistic predictions from scientists warning the choices humans make in the next few years could determine whether the human species will survive beyond the end of the 21st century.
“I cannot overemphasize the need indicated by these people for urgent action, but I tell them, ‘Don’t say it’s too late because we don’t know enough to say it’s too late. Stop acting as if that end has been determined,” Suzuki said. “We’ve got to act and we’ve always got to act in the sense of hope.”
For more information, please visit www.davidsuzuki.org.