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Leaders urged to look at climate crisis through the lens of evolution

Dr David Suzuki, biologist, environmentalist

10 November 2021

Dr David Suzuki, biologist, environmentalist and co-founder of the David Suzuki Foundation, gave an impassioned address to the APEC 2021 CEO Summit from his home in British Columbia, Canada, acknowledging the indigenous people of the area, who demonstrated true sustainability before colonialisation.

He called on decision makers and communities to look at the climate crisis through the lens of evolution. As a species, he argued, humans learned over millennia that we could avoid danger and choose success because we evolved intellectually to conceptualise our future.

Our ancestors lived in balance with nature, seeing plants and animals, soil, water, and air as kin – and with the knowledge that as everything is connected, humans are reliant on nature continuing to provide what we need. Destroy nature, he argues, and we destroy ourselves.

But humans have begun to think of themselves as the most important species on the planet, now seeing nature as a resource to be plundered for the demands of an infinitely expanding economy. We have broken that balance that allowed nature to be abundant and self-restoring, Dr Suzuki said.

And despite all of the scientific evidence showing that the climate crisis is caused by this imbalance, humans insist that our economies must keep growing and that “loss of nature is just the price of doing business.”

Dr Suzuki implored us to look at indigenous communities, who for thousands of years have understood the balance and worked alongside nature to sustain their survival.

In conclusion, Dr Suzuki remarked that our children will bear the brunt of this imbalance that has created biodiversity loss, dirty water and air, and the climate crisis. Relearning indigenous eco-centric ways of living are needed, as the colonial paradigm has not worked.