For the country of Canada, 2017 is a milestone year. Not only is it the country’s 150th birthday, but it’s also the 27th anniversary of Earth Day, or Jour de la Terre. Celebrated on April 22, Earth Day is a chance to recognize the valuable resources available through the environment and to increase awareness of the need for sustainability efforts in an era of climate change, increasing consumer demand and changing lifestyles.
In Canada, the goal of Earth Day is to help citizens reconnect with nature and to immerse themselves in community activism to protect natural resources, park areas and preserves. This year, Earth Day has been transformed into EarthPLAY, an initiative that is encouraging school children to get out and simply enjoy the fun of playing outside. No matter how you choose to celebrate Earth Day this year, it’s important that you recognize the vital role that the environment plays in our everyday lives, and also consider the achievements of notable Canadians who have dedicated their professional and personal lives to improving the environment and promoting sustainability efforts.
One of those Canadians is David Suzuki, an individual whose career grew from a dedicated geneticist to an award-winning broadcaster and finally to a renowned environmental activist.
Want to help your students learn more about David Suzuki and Earth Day? Download this printable fill-in-the-blanks worksheet to share with your students. And don’t worry – all of the answers can be found in this blog!
David Suzuki: Facts and Biographical Information
Born in 1936 in Vancouver, British Columbia, David Suzuki was a Canadian citizen whose parents had emigrated from Japan. During the war years, he and his family were interned, but this difficult challenge did not stop him from achieving great things throughout his lifetime. After the war, he went on to study and become a geneticist. Gradually, his career evolved and he began working as a broadcaster. Most Canadians know and recognize him from the CBC show, The Nature of Things. Finally, he dedicated the rest of his career to environmental activism and sustainability efforts, raising awareness about the importance of protecting and preserving the natural resources of Canada.
Lifetime Achievements of David Suzuki
David Suzuki enjoyed many achievements, accolades and accomplishments throughout his lifetime, recognizing not only his environmental activism efforts but also his contribution to the scientific community. Notable achievements include:
- Winning the Steacie Memorial Fellowship as the Best Young Canadian Scientist in 1972.
- Conducting groundbreaking research on meiosis, highlighting the impact of cell mutations that can occur as a result of changing temperatures. This research proved to be important when it came to evaluating the impact of climate change in Canada and throughout the world.
- Earning more than 25 different honourary degrees from educational institutions in Canada, the United States and Australia.
- Publishing more than 50 books throughout his lifetime, nearly 20 of which were created for children.
- Producing several documentaries and hosting many TV shows in Canada, including the award-winning series The Nature of Things. His television career earned him four Gemini Awards.
- Receiving the UNESCO Kalinga Prize for Science.
- Winning the Right Livelihood Award in 2009. This award is considered an alternative to the Nobel Prize, and is just as noteworthy.
Despite the span and depth of David Suzuki’s diverse and exciting career, he still continues to work today in order to promote environmental causes and provide the general public with the resources and knowledge they need to make responsible decisions when it comes to ecological sustainability.
David Suzuki and Environmental Activism
In many respects, David Suzuki’s passion for preserving the environment began in his early days as a geneticist. His research primarily focused on how changing temperatures changed the way the living cells evolved and mutated. As a broadcaster, he shed light on the way that humans changed the world around them by showcasing the various impacts of human life across the globe. In 1990 — the same year that Earth Day was established in Canada — David Suzuki established the David Suzuki Foundation. This non-profit organization was dedicated to developing and promoting solutions to environmental problems. As his career continued to transform, he took on a more prominent role as an environmental activist and spokesperson for environmental rights in Canada. He has completed tours with other celebrities to highlight the importance of a healthy environment and diverse ecosystem in Canada.
David Suzuki is one of many Canadians who deserve to be recognized for their commitment to the environment and to improving sustainability throughout the country and also the world. This is a cause that is near and dear to the hearts of many citizens of this country, particularly as they work to preserve and protect the natural beauty that can be found throughout Canada for the next 150 years.
Are you a teacher in Ontario and want to help your students learn more about world studies with curriculum-aligned resources? Check out one of our three resources below to view sample material.
Geography in Action – Curriculum Connection: CGC1D/CGC1P
Creating Canada – Curriculum Connection: CHC2D
Civics in Action – Curriculum Connection: CHV2O