Skip to content
Join our Newsletter

'We're still on a suicidal path': David Suzuki on climate activists' 14-day Vancouver protest

"But is anyone really listening?" asked the Canadian icon.
After decades of advocating for the environment in Canada and around the world, David Suzuki says humanity is on a "suicidal path" and little has changed. 

After decades of advocating for the environment in Canada and around the world, David Suzuki says humanity is on a "suicidal path" and little has changed. 

According to the iconic Canadian environmental activist, time is running out to prevent the most frightening aspects of climate change. As such, he isn't surprised that Vancouver's youth are taking to the streets to protest government inaction. 

"I think it's an indication of how frustrated people are and civil disobedience seems to be the next step," he told Vancouver Is Awesome via telephone. "My fear is that if this doesn't get the attention and discussion of our so-called leaders, you know, some [...] people are going to start even more disruptive tactics and that's what I'm worried about."

Suzuki attended Extinction Rebellion's first of "14 days of disruption" on Saturday (Oct. 16) where he spoke to demonstrators and passersby. Members of the organization's Vancouver chapter blocked the intersection of Burrard and Georgia streets in the afternoon and four of them were subsequently arrested. 

The environmental group has demanded that Canada's provincial and federal governments end fossil fuel subsidies before the 26th annual UN Climate Change Conference in Glasgow, which is something Suzuki said must happen. 

"You know what the United Nations said in 2019: We are facing a loss of biodiversity, unprecedented — and it threatens the biosphere for humans," he underscored.

"How can we survive in a world in which humans have taken over the bulk of the planet, eliminated so many ecosystems and species? It's really quite terrifying."

"People are becoming increasingly desperate."

Extinction Rebellion member and President of Unifor Local 950 Brent Eichler told V.I.A. that the group knows their demonstrations will make locals angry — particularly those who are behind the wheel. 

"We understand that and we accept that there is no other way...because we tried every other way," he stated, adding that the protesters must accept "huge personal costs."

Suzuki echoed Eicher's words, noting that people "have to think about why are they doing this," highlighting the recent clashes between demonstrators and police in Fairy Creek.

"We're still on a suicidal path. And that's why people are becoming increasingly desperate," noted Suzuki.

The environmentalist pointed to activist Greta Thunberg and what he said is her "enormous impact," explaining the teen "cut through all of the garbage that we're getting and just said, 'look, you know I'm a child. I believe I'm taught to take science seriously. And what the scientists are saying is there's no future the way we're going.' It's very, very simple, and look at what she got: children around the world have taken up her message."

"But is anyone really listening?"