Welcome to 2008. If you had told me at the beginning of last year that 2007 would be the breakout year for the environment, I probably wouldn’t have believed you.
Yes, 2006 had An Inconvenient Truth, but 2007 saw the environment become a true media darling.
We’ve come a long way. In 2006, people started paying attention to the environment again. In 2007, the media got on board and environmental stories made front-page news all year long.
But for some this might seem like déjà vu. In the late ’80s and early ’90s, the environment was also a top public concern. Governments poured money into environment ministries. Corporations developed environmental stewardship platforms. Municipalities across the country rolled out blue box recycling programs.
And the people cheered. Problem solved!
Of course, we all know now the problem wasn’t solved and we lost a decade of potential progress because people slipped into complacency.
The thing is, we don’t have a choice anymore. Leading scientists have been telling us for decades that we are on a dangerous path. The good news is it is not too late to make changes.
We already have the public’s attention, but now we need to get serious about solutions. We know how hard it is to be environmentally responsible. Many of our daily decisions are not good for the environment because they are easier and often cheaper to make. Still, challenge yourself, your neighbours, friends and co-workers to make Canada a global warming problem-solver, not a problem-maker.
Large-scale changes also require corporate and government leadership. But here, too, individual action can have great power. Politicians and business leaders know the public is concerned, but they are slow to respond unless really pushed.
If you really want to make a big difference in 2008 — push them. Push them hard. Change is underway. Real change is happening. Let our leaders know there’s nothing that can stop it.
Take David Suzuki’s Nature Challenge and learn more at www.davidsuzuki.org.
David Suzuki & Dr. Faisal Moola
Dr. David T. Suzuki is an award-winning scientist, environmentalist and broadcaster. He is the co-founder of the David Suzuki Foundation in Vancouver where he lives with his wife and two daughters.