At the end of his public talk at the Smithsonian Natural History Museum in Washington DC, Canadian naturalist and TV host David Suzuki autographed copies of his life’s story in print, simply titled: David Suzuki: The Autobiography.
Naturally, I lined up. He inscribed it as: “To Nalaka: For Mother Earth”.
Suzuki has been one of my heroes from the time I first listened to him in May 1991, at an environmental youth conference in his home town of Vancouver. That was a memorable meeting, thanks largely to the presence of David Suzuki and Anita Roddick, founder of The Body Shop and an equally passionate campaigner for social justice and environmental causes.
The dedication of his autobiography is moving as it is fitting a man of public science who has done much to critically communicate science, technology and environment issues through radio, television and print media:
With deepest gratitude,
I thank and dedicate this book to the general public,
who made my life’s work possible.
You watched and listened to my programs;
You read, thought about, and responded to
ideas I expressed in writing.
You support added weight and
visibility to my efforts and carried me past
numerous road blocks and detractors.
That support has been a great honour, privilege,
and responsibility, which I have tried in my fallible, human
way to live up to.
In his acknowledgements, Suzuki goes on to thank many and varied people in his life including his parents, wife, children, grandchildren — as well as ‘the dozens of CBC radio and television staff, freelance researchers, writers and media professionals whose efforts have made me look good, a job that Jim Murray (his first producer on The Nature of Things) reminded me was not easy’.
I’m reading the book that is full of fascinating insights. There can’t be too many scientists who stripped down to a fig leaf and allowed public photography — all in the name of science (see photo).
If he harboured any doubts whether his life held anything of interest or value to others, he need not have worried. David Suzuki is one of Canada’s greatest living treasures.
And his audiences know it.