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Rediscovering the fundamentals

Rediscovering the fundamentals

The second wave of COVID-19 is hitting hard. Over the next few months, governments will remain focused on addressing the largest public health emergency in recent memory. But to avoid past mistakes and seize this unique opportunity to build a more resilient, sustainable world, it’s also time to lay the groundwork for a green and just post-pandemic recovery.
I’m almost 85 years old. I co-founded the David Suzuki Foundation 30 years ago, after a CBC Radio series I hosted, It’s a Matter of Survival, generated 17,000 letters – in pre-email times! – from people concerned about the state of the planet and the future their children would inherit. Decades later, as we grapple with many of the same environmental crises and now a global pandemic, we have many reasons to despair. But after spending most of lockdown with three of my grandkids and seeing the world through their curious, caring eyes, I’m reinvigorated and newly committed to doing all I can to help humankind find a better path.
I spent the first seven months of lockdown at a family cabin in BC, where I rediscovered some fundamental truths. Without the basic elements – fire, air, water and earth – there is no life. We also need to renew our understanding of the interconnections between all life and existence, something I refer to as “spirit.” When our relationship with these elements is out of whack, and when we lose our “spiritual” connection, we risk our very being.
The privilege of spending lockdown safe and healthy with family wasn’t lost on me. I wanted to make the most of the time. One way was to produce my first podcast. I reached out to old friends like Jane Fonda and Neil Young, spoke with celebrated thinkers like Kwame McKenzie and Jennifer Keesmaat, Indigenous leaders like Winona LaDuke and Jeannette Armstrong. We recorded five episodes that explore how the pandemic can help us refocus on what’s most important.
It will be a challenge. The fossil fuel industry is working hard to convince people to let it continue its destructive ways. Important climate lawsuits are getting thrown out of court. More than a million species worldwide are at risk of extinction. The list goes on. But I believe the reasons to be hopeful are many.
Recently, the federal government revealed details of a climate accountability plan to help us achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. It’s a real strategy with real legislative power. For an environmentalist of nearly 40 years, this is good news.
This next decade will be critical if we’re to rediscover balance with the natural world, our home. By 2030, we’ll have a good sense of whether we’re on track.
Visit to hear how. David Suzuki

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