LITERARY LOCATION: David Suzuki Foundation, #219, 2211 West Fourth Avenue, Vancouver.

One of the few British Columbians who needs little or no introduction is the geneticist-turned-broadcaster-turned-environmentalist David Suzuki-author or co-author since 1986 of more than 50 books. Shortlisted for the George Ryga Award for Social Awareness in 2016, his Letters to My Grandchildren (Greystone, 2015) presents an intimate and inspiring collection of stories and anecdotes that encourage his six grandchildren (and all of us) to live lives full of "passion, courage and conviction."; He addresses the importance of such subjects as "sports, fishing, feminism and failure,"; while offering his take on tackling some of life's most profound questions.

Born in Vancouver in 1936, David Takayoshi Suzuki was interned with his family in Slocan, B.C., during WWII. He grew up in southern Ontario. Like many Japanese Canadians who were interned and had some of their family holdings confiscated or sold, Suzuki was both embittered and emboldened-seemingly intent on proving his worth to society beyond any doubt. In 1963, he joined the UBC Zoology Department and won the award for outstanding Canadian research scientist under the age of 35 three years in a row.

He brought science to the masses via television, starting with Suzuki on Science in 1971, leading to his long association with The Nature of Things on CBC, from 1979. "When I began to work in television in 1962,"; he wrote, "I never dreamed that it would ultimately occupy most of my life and make me a celebrity in Canada."; As well, Suzuki hosted Science Magazine on CBC TV and served as the first host of CBC Radio's Quirks and Quarks from 1975 to 1979.

David Suzuki titled his first autobiography Metamorphosis: Stages in a Life (1987) to echo his groundbreaking studies of mutations in fruit flies. It was expanded and reissued as David Suzuki: The Autobiography (2005), covering his accomplishments after age 50. In the second volume, Suzuki recalls how he proposed to his second wife, Tara Cullis, on Hollyburn Mountain in December of 1972. They have two daughters, Severn and Sarika. Suzuki also has three children, Tamiko, Troy and Laura, from a marriage that ended in 1964. "My children have been my pride and joy,"; he writes, "but getting Tara to marry me was the greatest achievement of my life."; With Tara Cullis, he co-founded the David Suzuki Foundation and received countless honours including the Order of Canada in 1977 and the Order of B.C. in 1995.

With a foreword by Margaret Atwood, The Legacy (2010) is an expanded version of a lecture, released as a film, which offers "An Elder's Vision for Our Sustainable Future."; David Suzuki argues that humans must join together as a species to respond to the problems we face, and accept that the laws of nature must take precedence over economics.

In terms of planetary influence, few B.C. authors can match or surpass David Suzuki. His politics are global and environmental-and he does things his own way. Still campaigning for change, he represents the best that British Columbia has to offer.


FULL ENTRY:

One of the few British Columbians who needs little or no introduction is the award-winning geneticist-turned-broadcaster-turned-environmentalist, David Suzuki. Born in Vancouver on March 24, 1936, David Takayoshi Suzuki grew up in southern Ontario after his family was interned in Slocan, B.C. during World War II.

Like many Japanese Canadians who were interned and had some of their family holdings confiscated or sold, David Suzuki was embittered and emboldened by his unfair incarceration, seemingly intent on proving his worth to society beyond any doubt.

David Suzuki studied at Amherst College and the University of Chicago, then taught at the University of Alberta. In 1963 he joined the UBC zoology department and won the award for outstanding Canadian research scientist under the age of 35 three years in a row. His educational television programs started with Suzuki on Science in 1971, leading to his long association with The Nature of Things on CBC, as of 1979.

"When I began to work in television in 1962,"; he wrote, "I never dreamed that it would ultimately occupy most of my life and make me a celebrity in Canada."; As well, Suzuki hosted Science Magazine on CBC TV and served as the first host of CBC Radio's Quirks and Quarks from 1975 to 1979. With his wife Tara Cullis, he has since co-founded the David Suzuki Foundation and received countless honours including the Order of Canada in 1977 and the Order of B.C. in 1995.

In his second volume of memoirs, Suzuki recalls how he proposed to his second wife, Tara, on Hollyburn Mountain in December of 1972. They have two daughters, Severn and Sarika. Suzuki also has three children, Tamiko, Troy and Laura, from a marriage that ended in 1964. "My children have been my pride and joy,"; he writes, "but getting Tara to marry me was the greatest achievement of my life.";

Suzuki titled his first autobiography Metamorphosis: Stages in a Life (Stoddart) to echo his ground-breaking studies of mutations in fruit flies. David Suzuki: The Autobiography (Greystone 2005 $34.95) as an updated second instalment, expanding on material from Metamorphosis and covering his accomplishments after age fifty.

This breezy re-run doubles as a family photo album as Suzuki rubs shoulders with close friends Myles Richardson and artist Guujaaw of the Haida; entertainers Bruno Gerussi, John Denver, Sting, Graham Greene and Gordon Lightfoot; and he travels extensively to meet world leaders who have included Nelson Mandela, Dalai Lama and the Kaiapo chief Paiakan of the Amazon rainforest.

When Kaiapo and his family paid a reciprocal visit to the Suzuki home in 1989, they refused to wear any western clothes that were not new, and they required new sheets, fearing diseases. The six-week visit was fraught with misunderstandings, including the misguided notion that an airplane would be purchased for their use in Brazil.

Remarkably, Suzuki contacted Anita Roddick, creator of the Body Shop empire, and she wrote a cheque for $100,000. He then found a pilot named Al "Jet"; Johnson, a friend of Sea Shepherd Conservation Society founder Paul Watson, who checked out a used Cessna Utility 206 in Texas-then flew it to Brazil in hurricane season to ensure Suzuki kept a promise that he had never made in the first place.

Not without a sense of humour-or vanity-Suzuki includes the naked 'fig leaf' photo of himself for the "Phallacies"; show for The Nature of Things and wrily recalls his meetings with heavyweight thinkers Noam Chomsky and Ralph Nader. Suzuki speaks fondly of Chomsky ("He is a superstar, and it was flattering to be acknowledged so generously";) and re-tells a curious anecdote about Nader ("Ralph is a very serious and intense person";).

When taken to a Lebanese restaurant in Vancouver, the puritanical Nader refused to acknowledge the gyrations of a belly dancer who approached his table, entreating him to stuff some bills into her bra. Nader kept talking, as if she didn't exist, until the dancer left the table, unable to engage his attention in any way. "At the end of the meal,"; Suzuki writes, "as we got up to leave, Ralph made no mention of the belly dancer but simply said: 'That was a very nice meal. And no one overate.'";

It's not easy to digest all of David Suzuki's knowledge into one volume, but The David Suzuki Reader was an attempt to do so in 2003. It's subtitled the 'collected writings from One of the Planet's Leading Thinkers.'

The David Suzuki Reader, Revised Edition: A Lifetime of Ideas from a Leading Activist and Thinker (Greystone $24.95) is an expanded collection of his writings. Suzuki focuses on the roles of nature and family in his life, his vision for the future, the legacy he hopes to leave behind and solutions to the problems of climate change.

One of the most prolific non-fiction authors of British Columbia, Suzuki has reportedly rejected offers to run for the New Democratic Party. His politics are global and environmental--and he does things his own way.

Review of the author's work by BC Studies:
David Suzuki: The Autobiography & The Big Picture: Reflections on Science, Humanity, and a Quickly Changing Planet
Letters to My Grandchildren

BOOKS:

Just Cool It: The Climate Crisis and What We Can Do by David Suzuki and Ian Hannington
(Vancouver: Greystone Books, 2017). $24.95 / 9781771642590

Letters to My Grandchildren (Greystone Books, 2015) $27.95 978-1-77164-088-6

2014 The David Suzuki Reader, Revised Edition: A Lifetime of Ideas from a Leading Activist and Thinker
(Greystone 2014) $24.95 978-1-77164-027-5


2012 EVERYTHING UNDER THE SUN
With Ian Hanington
David Suzuki Foundation & Greystone Books, Vancouver, Canada

2010 THE LEGACY
David Suzuki Foundation & Greystone Books, Vancouver, Canada

2010 MORE GOOD NEWS
With H. Dressel
David Suzuki Foundation & Greystone Books, Vancouver, Canada

2010 THE DECLARATION OF INTERDEPENDENCE
With T. Cullis, R.Cavoukian, W.Davis, Guujaaw, Illustrated by M. Nicoll-
Yahgulanaas
David Suzuki Foundation & Greystone Books, Vancouver, Canada

2009 THE BIG PICTURE
With D. Taylor
David Suzuki Foundation & Greystone Books, Vancouver, Canada

2008 THERE'S A BARNYARD IN MY BEDROOM
Illustrated by E. Fernandes,
David Suzuki Foundation & Greystone Books, Vancouver, Canada

2008 DAVID SUZUKI'S GREEN GUIDE
With D. Boyd
David Suzuki Foundation & Greystone Books, Vancouver, Canada

2007 THE SACRED BALANCE, Updated and Expanded with A. McConnell & A. Mason
David Suzuki Foundation & Greystone Books, Vancouver, Canada

2006 DAVID SUZUKI THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY
David Suzuki Foundation & Greystone Books, Vancouver, Canada

2006 GRASSROOSTS RISING
With E. Begley Jr. & R. McLean
Honour Group Publishing, Vancouver, Canada

2004 TREE A Life Story
With W. Grady
David Suzuki Foundation & Greystone Books, Vancouver, Canada

2003 DAVID SUZUKI READER
David Suzuki Foundation & Greystone Books, Vancouver, Canada

2003 THE SALMON FOREST
With S. Ellis, Illustrated by S. Lott
David Suzuki Foundation & Greystone Books, Vancouver, Canada

2002 SACRED BALANCE: A Visual Celebration of Our Place in Nature
With A. McConnell and M. DeCambra
David Suzuki Foundation & Greystone Books, Vancouver, Canada

2002 THE SACRED BALANCE, 2ND Edition, with new Introduction
With A. McConnell
David Suzuki Foundation & Greystone Books, Vancouver, Canada

2002 GENETICS A BEGINNERS GUIDE
Guttman, B.; Griffiths, A.; Suzuki, D.; Cullis, T.
Oneworld Oxford England

2002 GOOD NEWS FOR A CHANGE
With H. Dressel
Stoddart Publishing, Canada
Allen & Unwin, Australia

2002 WHEN THE WILD COMES LEAPING UP
Edited by David Suzuki
David Suzuki Foundation & Greystone Books, Vancouver, Canada
Also published in the USA

2000 ECO-FUN
with K. Vanderlinden
David Suzuki Foundation & Greystone Books, Vancouver, Canada
Allen & Unwin, Australia (Children's Book/Tape)

1999 YOU ARE THE EARTH
with K. Vanderlinden
David Suzuki Foundation & Greystone Books, Vancouver, Canada
Also published in Australia (Children's Book/Tape)

1999 FROM NAKED APE TO SUPERSPECIES
with H. Dressel
Stoddart Publishing, Toronto, Canada
Also published in Australia

1998 EARTH TIME.
Stoddart Publishing, Toronto, Canada
Also published in Australia

1998 TREE SUITCASE.
Sommerville House, Toronto, Canada (Children's Book/Tape)

1997 A GLIMPSE OF CANADA'S FUTURE
with E. Battle, & B. Stipdonk
David Suzuki Foundation, Vancouver, Canada

1997 THE SACRED BALANCE: REDISCOVERING OUR PLACE IN NATURE
with A. McConnell.
David Suzuki Foundation & Greystone Books, Vancouver, Canada
Also published in Australia, U.S.A., England

1996 THE JAPAN WE NEVER KNEW
with K. Oiwa
Stoddart Publishing, Toronto, Canada
Also published in Australia, U.S.A.

1995 THE BACKYARD TIME DETECTIVES
Stoddart Publishing, Toronto, Canada (Children's Book/Tape)

1994 CRACKING THE CODE
with J. Levine
Allen & Unwin Pty Ltd. Australia

1994 IF WE COULD SEE THE AIR
Stoddart Publishing, Toronto, Canada (Children's Book/Tape)

1993 NATURE IN THE HOME
Stoddart Publishing, Toronto, Canada (Children's Book/Tape)

1993 THE SECRET OF LIFE
with J. Levine
WGBH Educational Foundation, Boston, MA., U.S.A.
Also published in Germany

1993 TIME TO CHANGE
Stoddart Publishing, Toronto, Canada
Also published in Australia

1992 WISDOM OF THE ELDERS
with P. Knudtson
Stoddart Publishing, Toronto, Canada
Also published in U.S.A., Australia

1991 DID YOU KNOW, ABOUT FOOD AND FEEDING
with L. Suzuki & P. Cook
General Publishing, Toronto, Canada
Also published in Australia (Children's Book/Tape)

1991 DID YOU KNOW...ABOUT SHAPES AND SIZES
with L. Suzuki & P. Cook
General Publishing, Toronto, Canada
Also published in Australia (Children's Book/Tape)

1990 IT'S A MATTER OF SURVIVAL
with A. Gordon
Stoddart Publishing, Toronto, Canada
Also published in Australia, England, U.S.A., Montreal

1990 DID YOU KNOW...ABOUT LIGHT AND SIGHT
with L. Suzuki & P. Cook (Children's Book/Tape)
General Publishing, Toronto, Canada (Published in Australia)

1990 DID YOU KNOW...ABOUT INSIDES AND OUTSIDES
with L. Suzuki & P. Cook
General Publishing, Toronto, Canada
Also published in Australia (Children's Book/Tape)

1989 LOOKING AT THE ENVIRONMENT
with B. Hehner
Stoddart Publishing, Toronto, Canada (Children's Book/Tape)
Also published in Australia, U.S.A., Quebec

1989 INVENTING THE FUTURE
Stoddart Publishing, Ltd., Toronto, Canada
Also published in Australia, England

1988 GENETHICS: THE ETHICS OF ENGINEERING LIFE
with P. Knudston
Stoddart Publishing, Toronto, Canada
Also published in U.S.A., Australia, England

1988 LOOKING AT WEATHER
with B. Hehner
Stoddart Publishing, Toronto, Canada (Children's Book/Tape)
Also published in Australia, Spain, U.S.A.

1987 LOOKING AT THE BODY
with B. Hehner
Stoddart Publishing, Toronto, Canada (Children's Book/Tape)
Also published in Australia, Spain, Portugal, USA

1987 METAMORPHOSIS: STAGES IN A LIFE
Stoddart Publishing, Toronto, Canada
Also published in Australia, Spain

1987 DAVID SUZUKI TALKS ABOUT AIDS
with E. Thalenberg & P. Knudtson
General Publishing Paperbacks, Toronto, Canada

1986 LOOKING AT INSECTS
with B. Hehner
Stoddart Publishing, Toronto, Canada (Children's Book/Tape)
Also published in Quebec, Denmark, Australia, Spain, Portugal, USA

1986 LOOKING AT PLANTS
with B. Hehner.
Stoddart Publishing, Toronto, Canada (Children's Book/Tape)
Also published in Quebec, Denmark, Australia, Spain, Portugal and U.S.A.

1986 EGG CARTON ZOO
with H. Blohm
Oxford University Press, Toronto, Canada (Children's Book/Tape)

1986 SCIENCESCAPE: THE NATURE OF CANADA
with H. Blohm, & M. Harris
Oxford University Press, Toronto, Canada

1986 LOOKING AT YOUR SENSES
with B. Hehner
Stoddart Publishing, Toronto, Canada (Children's Book/Tape)
Also published in Quebec, Denmark, Australia, Spain, Portugal, USA

1986 British Columbia: FRONTIER FOR IDEAS
with H. Cullis
Western Education Development Group, Vancouver, Canada

1986 FROM PEBBLES TO COMPUTERS: THE THREAD
with D.T., Beer & H. Blohm
Oxford University Press, Toronto, Canada

1976 AN INTRODUCTION TO GENETIC ANALYSIS
with A.J.F. Griffiths
W.H.Freeman and Co., San Francisco, CA., U.S.A.
2nd edit. 1981; 3rd edit. 1986; 4th edit. 1989; 5th edit. 1993; 6th edit.
This is the most widely used genetics textbook in the U.S. and has been translated into Italian, Spanish, Greek, Indonesian, Arabic, French and German.

[BCBW 2017]