David Suzuki addressed a crowd Wednesday at the Comox Community Centre

David Suzuki addressed a crowd Wednesday at the Comox Community Centre

David Suzuki wows crowd in Comox

Oceans, climate change among topics addressed

Scott Stanfield

Record staff

Canadian icon David Suzuki addressed oceans, climate change and other topics concerning the environment before a packed house Wednesday at the Comox Community Centre, included in a tour of Vancouver Island, Northern B.C. and Haida Gwaii.

Dubbed Celebrating Coastal Connections, the 12-day tour draws on the history of work, activism and friendship that Suzuki — and the foundation named after him — has with B.C.’s coastal communities.

It also highlights the need for creative and quick responses from communities to address climate change and other environmental challenges, in light of shellfish die-offs, low snow packs, pine beetle devastation and altered growing seasons. Also locally, warm temperatures in the Puntledge River are endangering the run of chinook salmon.

“For over 20 years, the scientists have been saying, ‘The evidence is in. Climate change is happening, we’re causing it.’ But there’s still a lot of denial,” Suzuki, host of the long-running CBC series The Nature of Things, said in an interview. “This is a world we’ve created.”

Feeling the need for a different angle to spread the message about climate change, Suzuki asked researcher/filmmaker Ian Mauro to make a film that depicts ordinary British Columbians such as fishermen and foresters who work outside to demonstrate that climate change is happening. The film preceded his talk.

Before Wednesday’s event, he said Mauro had interviewed a local shellfish aquaculture operator who lost millions last year because of carbonic acid.

“The ocean’s getting more acidic, and shellfish can’t form their shells when it’s acidic,” Suzuki said. “So I mean … what’s it going to take to convince us it’s happening? We’ve got to get on with solutions. But everybody’s got to come on board and say, ‘This is what we have to do’.”

Suzuki also weighed in on arguments that claim deforestation is a major contributor to flooding, an ongoing local problem.

“Deforestation is a part of it,” he said. “The best carbon capture and storage we have are trees. When we are deforesting by clear cutting, we’re removing one of the most effective things there is. Now, you can’t tell me that when you take a tree that’s 150, 300 years old, and cut it down and put three seedlings in the ground, that that’s replacing this 300-year-old tree.

“Basically, we’re reducing the carbon sink. And often much of that forest is burned, liberating carbon, so it’s a part of the problem.”

On a lighter note, Suzuki was impressed with the number of “white haired” people in the gym at the community centre.

“That’s great. I go to the gym in Vancouver and they’re all young guys pumping iron.”

The tour started Monday in Nanaimo. It has so far sold out in each stop.

“But the thing that’s exciting to me, here we are, we’re in K’ómoks territory and the audience is predominantly white. I love that. One of the big reserves in Vancouver is the Musqueam Reserve, and there are non-natives living on their land — they’ve got 99-year leases — and there is like a gulf between them. It’s as if there’s a fence separating them. So I’m delighted to see there’s a mixture here.”

After the Island portion of his tour, Suzuki ventures to Bella Bella, Smithers, Kitimat, Prince Rupert, Masset and Skidegate. Schools participate through art projects about students’ connections to their coastal homes.

Suzuki implores communities to support the Blue Dot movement to protect Canada’s environment. He said Richmond was the first municipality to pass a declaration.

“We now have 53,” he told the crowd. “Let’s hope for a wave that keeps building.”

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Cole Moore with one of his sisters, Jasmin Moore. Photo supplied
Courtenay man looks to brain surgery for second chance

Cole Moore’s sister sets up GoFundMe to help father looking after brother

Comox Valley RCMP had access to 20 Street blocked off between Cousins and Choquette avenues as they conducted a raid of a house on the block. Photo by Terry Farrell
Nineteen people arrested, charges expected in Courtenay house raid

Investigators are continuing to comb through evidence seized

Demonstrators gathered Friday, March 5 at the Courtenay Court House, demanding protection of old-growth forests. Scott Stanfield photo
Concerned citizens march in Courtenay in name of old-growth rainforests

The Comox Valley is one of the B.C. communities engaged in mobilization… Continue reading

LUSH Valley’s partnership with School District 71 this past year helped feed 200 students and families through the Good Food Box program. Screenshot, LUSH Valley/Comox Valley Schools video
LUSH Valley-Comox Valley School Good Food Boxes fed 200 families in 2020

Non-profit organization is looking for new ways to collaborate with school district

Dr. Sandra Allison and Dr. Charmaine Enns joined school district senior staff for a virtual town hall meeting to address the latest COVID concerns in schools. Image, screenshot
No secondary cases in Comox Valley schools, say health officers

School district hosts virtual town hall to address recent COVID-19 cases in schools

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C. on the COVID-19 situation. (B.C. government)
Dr. Bonnie Henry predicts a ‘post-pandemic world’ for B.C. this summer

‘Extending this second dose provides very high real-world protection to more people, sooner’

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

The CVRD building in Courtenay.
Comox Valley organizations in need receive funding

The Comox Valley Regional Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) has approved $55,000 in… Continue reading

Malawian police guard AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines after the shipment arrived in Lilongwe, Malawi, Friday March 5, 2021. Canada is expecting its first shipments of AstraZeneca vaccine next week. (Associated Press/Thoko Chikondi)
B.C.’s daily COVID-19 cases climb to 634 Friday, four more deaths

Currently 255 people in hospital, 66 in intensive care

A crashed helicopter is seen near Mt. Gardner on Bowen Island on Friday March 5, 2021. Two people were taken to hospital in serious but stable condition after the crash. (Irene Paulus/contributed)
2 people in serious condition after helicopter goes down on Bowen Island

Unclear how many passengers aboard and unclear where the helicopter was going

Surrey Pretrial in Newton. (Photo: Tom Zytaruk)
B.C. transgender inmate to get human rights hearing after being held in mostly male jail

B.C. Human Rights Tribunal member Amber Prince on March 3 dismissed the pretrial’s application to have Makayla Sandve’s complaint dismissed

Supporters rally outside court as Pastor James Coates of GraceLife Church is in court to appeal bail conditions, after he was arrested for holding day services in violation of COVID-19 rules, in Edmonton, Alta., on Thursday March 4, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
‘Law remains valid:’ Pastor accused of violating health orders to remain in jail

The Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms is representing the pastor

A virtual public hearing for a rezoning application for a Comox property was held on March 3. Black Press file photo
No comments at public hearing for Anderton Road rezoning application

The virtual public hearing was held on March 3 for the Comox properties

The Netflix logo on an iPhone. B.C. delayed imposing sales tax on digital services and sweetened carbonated beverages as part of its response to COVID-19. Those taxes take effect April 1, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, Matt Rourke
B.C. applies 7% sales tax on streaming, vaping, sweet drinks April 1

Measures from 2020 budget were delayed due to COVID-19

Most Read