The United Nations reports 50,000 species go extinct every year.
The source of all of this destruction?
“Stupidity,” says famed environmentalist David Suzuki.
“We’re clearcutting forests, destroying coral reefs, polluting habitat, raising the temperature of the planet… all kinds of things.”
On Friday, Suzuki will deliver a talk, Biodiversity, Our Lives Depend On It, in Whitehorse.
But why do our lives depend upon it?
“Human beings cannot survive for more than two or three minutes without air,” said Suzuki by phone from Toronto.
“We cannot survive more than a few days without water. We cannot survive more than a few weeks without food.
“All of those things are delivered to us by biodiversity.”
And yet human beings are driving biodiversity out of existence.
The major problem is the way that we see the world, said Suzuki.
“We now think that we’re so smart that we don’t need biodiversity — we don’t need nature — because 85 per cent of Canadians live in big cities,” he said.
“And in big cities you think, well, if we want nature we’ll just have parks.”
Nature has been sacrificed in favour of the Canadian economy.
“Yeah, if those loggers want to go clearcut the boreal, nobody gives a shit,” he said. “We need the income. It’s the economy.
“We lose sight of the fact that we’re still embedded in the natural world and dependent on biodiversity as much as any other species.”
Politicians forget that the economy is also very dependent on biodiversity and are behaving “absolutely suicidal.
“Do we need more stuff to give us clean air, clean water, clean soil, clean energy — what’s going on here?” he said.
“The important things in life are being degraded and we’re saying we’ve got to keep the economy going when the economy is destroying a lot of what we need.”
Still, Canadians are dumb enough to buy the Conservative government’s view the economy is more important than the environment, he says.
“You’ve got an opposition party that is so weak that people have to hold their nose to vote,” he said.
“So why is it that Mr. Harper isn’t up there in sky-high numbers?
“It’s that his position on the environment is absolutely outrageous, going against what the public wants.”
When asked which political party he supports, Suzuki tells people that he is a Conservative.
However, Harper’s team is not conservative.
“What is a major part of the word ‘conservative?’” he asked.
“We say, save things for the future, live within your means — that’s what a conservative is.
“The radical says, ‘Fuck the atmosphere, I don’t care about that. Pollute all you want, global warming? Who gives a shit?’”
“That’s not very conservative, if you ask me.”
Suzuki speaks Friday at 7 p.m. at the Mount McIntyre Recreation Centre in the Grey Mountain Room.
Tickets are $15.