This year we invited David Suzuki, a well-known environmentalist, author and activist to come to the Sunshine Coast to participate in the Arts Council Literary Reading Program. With funding by the Canada Council, the program brings authors and poets to the Sunshine Coast to present readings of their work throughout the year. For some time, we’ve had it in mind to have a theme evening devoted to the environment and climate change, and who would be better for that than David Suzuki?
We knew our chances of getting him were slim to none, and we were right. David reluctantly declined our offer, but he took the time to write a personal handwritten note explaining why. It was very cool for me to receive the letter because David Suzuki has been one of my personal heroes for decades. It is something I will keep and show to friends and family; however, I was also saddened by the last few lines of the letter, which read as follows:
“I am going to be working flat out on the election Oct 21st. After that, I think I will have expended all I have in me and I will withdraw from public life.”
It shouldn’t come as a surprise that David Suzuki, who will be 84 on his next birthday, has decided to step back from the role he has played as Canada’s leading spokesman for the environment and the danger of climate change. He has been such a strong voice for so many years that it is difficult to imagine the climate debate without him. It is, perhaps, a signal that it is time for the rest of us to step up.