Why I’m coming home to coast

David Suzuki considers the coast home.

To the Editor,

We all have favourite spots, places close to our hearts that evoke our most profound memories. Many of mine are along B.C.’s coast. These places have welcomed and honoured me, their marine life has fed me and the beauty of their ecosystems has humbled me.

Taking part in protests at Windy Bay on Haida Gwaii in the early 1980s brought me closer to the people and places of coastal B.C., shaping my understanding of the fundamental relationship between culture and nature.

I’m excited to visit some of my favourite locations in June, as I accompany filmmaker and University of Winnipeg professor Ian Mauro for screenings of his film about climate change in British Columbia.

After earning a PhD from the University of Manitoba, Ian moved to the Arctic where he made a film with Inuit elders on climate change impacts they were experiencing. He then moved to Atlantic Canada and filmed fishers, hunters, First Nations leaders, farmers, municipal politicians and local businesses to show how climate change is already affecting their communities, economically and socially.

As one businessman said, “If you don’t believe climate change is real, just look out the window.”

I joined Ian on a tour of Atlantic Canada to screen that film and was struck by the power of his message. I asked him to do one on B.C., where milder winters have led to a devastating outbreak of mountain pine beetles. When I talk to friends and family in Skidegate, Alert Bay and Bella Bella, they tell me about the changes they’re seeing from a warmer environment.

Scientists predict B.C. will warm by 2.4°C in summer and 2.9°C in winter by 2100. We’ve heard how global warming and ocean acidification are already affecting Vancouver Island shellfish.

We know periods of lower summer water flows are taking their toll on agriculture, ecosystems, fish and natural resource industries.

A sea level rise brings risks of coastal flooding, infrastructure damage and saltwater intrusion into groundwater.

But it’s not all doom and gloom. I’ve also witnessed other dramatic, but positive, changes in this region. Coastal communities are taking charge.

I’m looking forward to hearing about your community’s vision, successes, challenges and ways of supporting each other. The stories we share will shape the future for our children and grandchildren.

This is a “coming home” tour for me, and I’m honoured to be a guest in your community.

David Suzuki,

David Suzuki Foundation

Just Posted

Baby, it’s nasty outside: wind and rain will continue across Vancouver Island

Police warn drivers and pedestrians to use precaution during expected rain and winds

Donation helps North Island College trades students

NIC receives $38,000 equipment donation from Seymour Pacific Developments Ltd

See the Heart of Winter at Port Alberni gallery

Group exhibit runs at DRAW Gallery until February

Future of McLean Mill in question after log pond incident

$200,000 allocated to dam repairs, water quality testing at national historic site

Enjoy a night of laughter at the Capitol Theatre

Outsiders Comedy Night is a fundraiser for STAGES Youth Theatre

UPDATE: B.C. businesses evacuated due to emailed bomb threat, also received in U.S.

Penticton and Comox Valley businesses evacuated Thursday morning

VIDEO: Kitten rescued from under school bus in Duncan

School staff have affectionately called kitten “Axle”

$12K awarded to atheist family who oppose Christmas, Hanukkah in B.C. classroom

Gary Mangel,May Yasue said holidays, Remembrance Day and Valentine’s Day not appropriate in preschool

Coach accused of sexual assault says apology letter was misinterpreted

Dave Brubaker has pleaded not guilty to one count of sexual assault and one count of invitation to sexual touching

Give the gift of nature this holiday season

Please don’t be mad, but I bought you a moose

Aboriginal poet faces backlash for calling out NHL-themed totem poles

Rebecca Thomas says she received backlash for asking a drugstore chain to remove NHL merchandise

No plans yet for free WiFi on BC Transit buses

BC Transit says they are monitoring the roll-out of free WiFi on Translink vehicles

Some Kotex tampons recalled in Canada and U.S.

In some cases, tampon users sought medical attention “to remove tampon pieces left in the body.”

Sex-assault squad investigated eight incidents at Toronto all-boys’ school

The interim president of a Roman Catholic all-boys school rocked by student-on-student abuse allegations said the football program was cancelled for next year.

Most Read