The American Institute of Architects (AIA) National Convention opened yesterday to a standing ovation following world renowned ecologist David Suzuki (CC, OBC, BA, Ph.D). His opening speech touched on his research of the “ecological imperative of sustainability from a life sciences perspective.” Suzuki, well known in his field as a world leader in topics of sustainability and ecology, has also authored thirty-two books (fifteen for children), is the recipient of UNESCO’s (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) Kalinga Prize for Science, and most recently, is the host of PBS series The Secret of Life.

David Suzuki, Ecologist, Sustainability, AIA

Suzuki’s made the statement: “We are consuming the world to death,” then proved his point with a statistic from the World Wildlife Foundation that maintains it takes nature 1.3 years to replace what we consume in 1 year. He likened the human condition to that of cancer cells which eventually kill their host, similar to the exponential growth of bacteria within a test tube; doubling every minute and eating away at the single food source in the test-tube. Like the bacteria, he asserted, there will soon be no more resources available for us to expend – posing the question, “When do we stop and rethink the way we live?”

Even though nine out of ten Canadians (Suzuki is Canadian) currently rates the environment as a top concern, he was quick to remind us that we’ve been here before (in 1988 during the presidential election of George Bush Senior). He urges us to make changes today through his challenge entitled “Sustainability within a Generation: A new vision for Canada” (soon to be released in the US under the same name following a collective study from Harvard), which lays out nine goals Canada can achieve by the year 2030. Suzuki also encourages consumers to follow the handbook ‘Responsible Choices for Consumers’ by the Union of Concerned Scientists, encouraging large numbers of people to take small steps to make significant changes in today’s environment.

+ David Suzuki Foundation
+ Sustainability Within a Generation