Today, most scientists agree that climate change, with its dire implications, is the most urgent challenge facing humankind. Global-warming deniers have taken on the taint of 9/11 conspiracy theorists. Yet, Suzuki admits, we’ve made surprisingly little progress in persuading the public, and the politicians, that the path we’re on ends in disaster in a very few generations. The growth of carbon dioxide emissions, mainly from fossil fuel, remains a threat. Carbon in the atmosphere keeps accumulating. In 2014 the average global temperature was the highest ever recorded.
He’s admired, though there’s some criticism as well.
Right-wingers are not his only critics. Some young activists are ambivalent. “Yes, of course, he’s done good things in terms of awareness,” says someone who works in clean energy and spoke frankly so long as he went unnamed. “But as long as we see things like climate change as an environmental issue, not an economic and political one, it falls off the list of voter priorities, which lets the politicians kick it down the road. My work involves not talking about the environment as such, but about public policy and economic development. That’s the discussion we need now. I’m not sure Suzuki gets that.”
Perhaps so, although Suzuki’s “Blue Dot” campaign, launched last year, suggests otherwise. It seeks to amend the Charter of Rights and Freedoms to include a healthy environment as a fundamental human right. Suzuki calls it “my last big push,” though Deanna Bayne says: “I don’t think he’ll ever stop. His work isn’t just his work—it’s his life.” Indeed, he soldiers on with the energy of one half his age.
And no, he’s got nothing to do with what Steve Saideman posits as (potential) “environmental xenophobia“.