Challenge means ‘A task or situation that tests someone's abilities’ (Google Dictionary) and David Suzuki has experienced such tests many times in his life. David was born in Vancouver on the 24th of March 1936. He is a third generation Canadian. His grandparents were from Japan and his many life challenges were due to his nationality because of the attack in Pearl Harbour brought upon by Japan. Because of David’s nationality, he, his parents and his three sisters were taken to an internment camp where is troubles began. But despite all of his troubles David went on to become the “greatest living Canadian” (National Review of Medicine, 2008).
David Suzuki has been a very successful environmentalist winning many awards including the Citation of Lifetime Achievement in 2005. He is described by many people as “… a passionate, committed and dedicated spokesperson for Canada’s wild places – and a fearless critic of the threats they face, he is a tireless advocate for the rights of First Nations, and he maintains a staggering schedule as Canada’s leading environmental champion.” (Ralph McMillian, 2005). David Suzuki received a scholarship for Amherst all Boys College where he studied medical science but while studying, fell in love with genetics. He describes genetics as ‘precise mathematically and elegant in its analysis’ (David Suzuki, 2009). He then went to the University of Chicago and got a PH.D in Zoology. While a scientist David was working on finding an effective pesticide for crops when he read a book that changed his life forever. The book was called ‘Silent Spring’ by Rachel Carson. It talked about the side effects of pesticides and how they will damage the delicate ecosystem. After reading ‘Silent Spring’, David went on to warn the world about global warming and climate change and described how the future may look if humans keep inventing without looking at the consequences.
In 1974 David hosted three television science series. This allowed David to tell the world about what he had learnt and how to prevent the continued destruction of the environment from progressing. In 1986 he received a Gold Medal Award Biological Council of Canada and in 1990 David and his wife founded the David Suzuki Foundation: "To protect the diversity of nature and our quality of life, now and for the future” (David Suzuki Foundation).
David is now an author of over 30 books, has received over 10 honorary degrees from various universities world-wide and is currently Professor Emeritus at the University of British Columbia. His greatest achievement is letting the world know what he has learnt about the declining health of the environment and how to prevent it from plummeting.
David Suzuki was born 2 years before the Second World War. In 1941 when David was only five years old Japan attacked Pearl Harbour in an attempt to weaken America’s position in World War 2. Because of his nationality, David and his family were stripped of everything they owned and were taken to an internment camp called ‘slogan city’ which was located in the Slocan Valley. David describes this as a ‘defining moment in his life’ (David Suzuki, 2011). Because of the circumstances David lost much of his schooling and when he did return to his education (in the camp) he skipped through three grades in one year. This left him with huge holes in his education and took a lot of extra tutoring from his family for him to become level with all the other children in his grade. During his years at the school in the camp all his classmates tormented him and excluded him from their games and friendships because he couldn’t speak the native tongue (Japanese). He became lonely and often retreated to the swamp which he describes as his own ‘magical’ place (David Suzuki, 2011). There he would look for ‘treasures’ such as insects or animal eggs.
He still experiences a lot of racial discrimination...
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