Canada at 150: Suzuki sees a nation facing ‘an apocalyptic period’

2017 marks the 150th birthday of Confederation. With less than five years to plan for the party, Postmedia News asked eminent Canadians how the country should mark the occasion. Today: David Suzuki.

David Suzuki would like to be cheerful about Canada’s 150th birthday in less than five years. But Canada’s best-known environmentalist says the reality is that a “great country” is moving backwards.

“Sorry I can’t be more celebratory,” Suzuki, an award-winning geneticist and television broadcaster, said in an interview with Postmedia News. “I happen to think that we are in an apocalyptic period and if you look at the history of what Canadians have done, it doesn’t look good.”

Suzuki, who in 1990 founded his own national environmental charity, based in Vancouver, said Canada has often been at the forefront of global progress on sustainable development.

For example, he said, former prime minister Brian Mulroney recognized the threat of global warming 25 years ago, when Canada signed an international treaty – the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change – to stabilize heat-trapping greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.

But Suzuki thinks Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s government is turning a blind eye to scientific evidence that links expanding consumption of fossil fuels, deforestation and major land-use changes with global warming.

The evidence suggests the entire country is at serious risk, both environmentally and economically, from the rapid warming

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in the Earth’s lower atmosphere, says Suzuki.

“At a time when we ought to reflect back on where the country has come from and where we seem to be going, we’re seeing a total failure of leadership in terms of dealing with real long-term consequences,” said Suzuki. “We’re starting an experiment now with the country that will reverberate literally for centuries and we’re doing absolutely nothing to try to reduce the risk by reducing our greenhouse gas emissions.” Read more…