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The swamp that inspired David Suzuki

When David Suzuki first teamed up with acclaimed filmmaker SturlaGunnarsson to make a movie, the environmental scientist imagined itbeing something “like <em>Avatar</em>.”

When David Suzuki first teamed up with acclaimed filmmaker Sturla Gunnarsson to make a movie, the environmental scientist imagined it being something “like Avatar.”

“What he ended up doing was nothing like what I had in mind,” said Suzuki during an interview in Toronto. “(My proposal was to) go through the evolution of the solar system, the planet, the evolution of life and the appearance of humans right up to the present. Of course that was a pretty grandiose idea but Sturla evolved something absolutely different.”

What did evolve was Force of Nature: The David Suzuki Movie (in theatres this Friday), a unique film that combines the Canadian icon’s so-called “last lecture” with stirring biographical digressions that help inform his innovative thinking.

“The ideas were engaging and a lot of them are still there, but as our discussions evolved and David’s character emerged, I just became more and more interested in him as a human being,” said Gunnarsson. “What started out being more of a scientific environmentally-themed film became more of a humanist drama.”

While Suzuki’s life story is extraordinary, one of the film’s pleasures is indeed learning how the legend simply discovered his love of science – playing in a local swamp.

“(That) magical place for me is now entombed in a big parking lot and shopping centre – it’s gone,” said Suzuki adding that today’s obsession with consumerism may be environmentalism’s biggest challenge.

“Those opportunities to contact with the natural world are just diminishing very rapidly and if you don’t love nature, you’re not going to fight to save it,” said Suzuki. “This is one of the major crises of our time.”

 
 
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