11 Inspiring David Suzuki Quotes

These 11 quotes from David Suzuki’s vast catalogue of written work show that environmentalists don’t always focus on the doom and gloom of ecological concerns and slow political progress of change. From the miracle of life, the oft taken-for-granted beauty of nature, the importance that our individual beliefs and traditions on impacting change, and the great deal we have already done to work towards a sustainable future, these David Suzuki quotes are the perfect remedy for all our environmentally-informed ills.

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1) We are all connected

Every breath is a sacrament, an affirmation of our connection with all other living things, a renewal of our link with our ancestors and a contribution to generations yet to come. Our breath is a part of life’s breath, the ocean of air that envelopes the earth.

—The Breath of All Green Things, The Sacred Balance

2) Looking to the past and the future

We are the planet’s most recent iteration of life’s forms, an infant species but one that has the precocity to see our place in the cosmos and dream of worlds yet to come. I believe we are capable of even greater things, to rediscover our home, to find ways to live in balance with the sacred elements, and to create a future rich in the joy, happiness, and meaning that are our real wealth.

—A Vision for the Future, The Legacy

3) Your own worldview is significant

The knowledge of every band of human beings, acquired and accumulated through generations of observation, experience and conjecture, was a priceless legacy for survival. All over the world, small family groups of nomadic hunter-gatherers depended on skills and knowledge that were profoundly local, embedded in the flora, fauna, climate and geology of a region. This information was woven together into what anthropologists call a worldview—a story whose subject for each group is the world and everything in it, a world in which human beings are deeply and inextricably immersed. Each worldview was tied to a unique locale and peopled with spirits and gods. At the centre of the story stood the people who had shaped it to make sense of their world. Their narrative provided answers to those age-old questions: Who are we? How did we get here? What does it all mean? Every worldview describes a universe in which everything is connected with everything else. Stars, clouds, forests, oceans and human beings are interconnected components of a single system in which nothing can exist in isolation.

—Weaving a Worldview, The Sacred Balance

4) On Canada and social justice

I love this country and am committed to it. Much of the overt racism and obvious discrimination of the past is now gone. In fact, people in the Canada of the early 1900s could not have had all the genetic lines in them that you have mixed in you today. But people fought hard for the gains made in social justice and democracy over time—women’s right to vote; visible minorities’ right to vote; freedom for all to move, seek professions, and live where they wish; gay rights; apologies for past wrongs. Please, dear grandchildren, be ever vigilant—if others lose their rights or are treated unfairly, speak up.

—In Search of Roots, Letters to My Grandchildren (Full excerpt here).

5) Go Outside!

Why we should spend more time outside, and escape from our modern lifestyles:

Go out into nature. Nature is not our enemy, it is our home; in fact, it sustains us and is in every one of us. All living things are our relatives and belong with us in the biosphere. Out of doors we learn very quickly that there is another rhythm and a different agenda from the frenetic human pace and program. Feel the rain and wind on your face, smell the fragrance of soil and ocean, gaze at the spectacle of the myriad stars in clear air or countless animals making their annual migration. Doing so will rekindle that sense of wonder and excitement we all had as children discovering the world and will engender a feeling of peace and harmony at being in balance with the natural world that is our home.

—Restoring the Balance, The Sacred Balance

6) What an Environmentally fair Economic Policy Might look like

Imagine harnessing all the power of science and technology for the good of humanity. Imagine including environmental health as an indicator of economic well-being. Imagine the cost of polluting goods and services actually reflecting the damage they cause to human health and the environment. Imagine proactive environmental policies designed to prevent environmental damage from occurring in the first place, rather than simply trying to clean messes up later. All of this is possible, but only if we as individuals, as a society, and ultimately, as a species decide that this is what we want.

—Final Words, The Big Picture

7) Every goal counts

We need to remember that every effort people make, however small, and every fruit we pick, however low to the ground, takes us another step toward a real future on our very real planet. Today the Earth’s basic functions, cycles, and systems, from her oceans and forests to her rivers and grasslands, from the carbon and water cycles to the atmosphere, have come to need the actions of humans, absolutely as much as we need theirs. The revolution of the twenty-first century is that the human–Earth relationship has become totally reciprocal.

—Taking Visionary Action, More Good News

8) Changing your outlook can change the world

The way we see the world shapes the way we treat it. If a mountain is a deity, not a pile of ore; if a river is one of the veins of the land, not potential irrigation water; if a forest is a sacred grove, not timber; if other species are our biological kin, not resources; or if the planet is our mother, not an opportunity—then we will treat each one with greater respect. That is the challenge, to look at the world from a different perspective.

—What Can I Do?, The David Suzuki Reader

9) Every little helps

We are spiritual beings, and we need spirit more than ever. We need to understand that nature gave us birth and is our home and source of wellbeing, and that when we die, we will return to it. We needn’t be saddled with the impossible weight of managing the entire biosphere, but we must meet the challenge of living in balance with the sacred elements. We are part of a community of beings that are related to us.

—A Change in Perspective, The David Suzuki Reader

10) More good news

The good news does not end there. Production of wind and solar energy is soaring and further technological breakthroughs are on the horizon. Sales of local and organic food are blossoming. Sales of highly efficient hybrid vehicles are racing. All of these environmentally friendly options are growing at far faster rates than their conventional counterparts.

—Good News, David Suzuki’s Green Guide

11) Always Be Optimistic!

We have to imagine the kind of world we want and then work to create it. That’s what active citizens have done in the past, and that’s how we got universal suffrage, free public schooling and national health care. If we could do it nationally, we should be able to do it globally.

—Imagine, From Naked Ape to Superspecies

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