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David Suzuki Signs Off: What’s Next for the Award-Winning Environmentalist

David Suzuki Signs Off: What’s Next for the Award-Winning Environmentalist

For 44 years, Dr. David Suzuki has helmed television’s longest-running science series, CBC’s The Nature of Things. He announced his retirement from the show with his daughter, Dr. Sarika Cullis-Suzuki taking over as co-host alongside Anthony Morgan. This isn’t the end for David though — he may be retiring but, in David’s words, he’s not done yet.

This is the most important time in my life,” David said in an interview with CBC’s The National. “I hate to call it retirement. I’m just moving on.”

David’s final episode of The Nature of Things aired April 7, 2023, where he expressed his gratitude for the opportunities it brought him and explored his next chapter.

Saying Goodbye to The Nature of Things

David Suzuki

David has been the host of The Nature of Things (TNOT) for 44 out of its 62 seasons. He took the role in 1979, excited at the prospect of using television as a medium for promoting science and to explore his passions.  

TNOT is a different kind of nature program, David said, because it has a strong point of view and focuses on how nature is the basis of our survival and well-being. “It’s been an incredible honour to be the face of this important series,” he continued.

David credits TNOT with transforming his understanding of our relationship with nature. In a 1982 episode, he spoke with a Haida activist and artist Guujaw on why Haida opposed logging on Haida Gwaii, an archipelago off British Columbia’s west coast.

Guujaw explained how without the land, they wouldn’t be Haida; they’d just be like everyone else. At first, David said he didn’t understand what Guujaw meant by this, but it stuck with him and eventually became the basis of his environmental activism.

“Through them,” he said, “I saw there is no ‘environment out there’ … the environment is what makes us who we are.”

The interconnectedness between humans and the environment is the driving force behind the David Suzuki Foundation. David co-founded it along with his wife, Dr. Tara Cullis-Suzuki in 1990 with the mission to protect nature’s diversity and the well-being of all life, now and for the future. It’s fueled by their vision of a world in which we all act every day on the understanding that we are one with nature.

Dr. Severn Cullis-Suzuki took over the role of executive director at the Foundation from David in 2021. In a touching tribute to her father following his last episode of TNOT, she wrote:

“TNOT also had a huge influence on Dad. It made him famous beyond his genetics renown. And what he was learning on the show galvanized him into environmental activism. He met Indigenous people around the planet who were fighting to defend their lands and ecosystems, and he got involved in their struggles for justice. He took that education and made the relationships and knowledge the cornerstones of his activism as a Canadian environmentalist.”

David Suzuki’s Next Chapter

While David has stepped back from the David Suzuki Foundation and TNOT, he continues to push forward with his activism. Having been part of what he calls a failed environmental movement, he is committed to continuing the fight. “All I want is to be able to say to my grandchildren, ‘I did the best I could,’” he said.

As he transitions into the next phase, David says now more than ever, it’s his responsibility to call it like it is, nd that as an elder, he is free to share the unfiltered truth

“I don’t have to kiss anybody’s ass in order to get a job or a raise or a promotion,” David said. “I’m free now, as an elder.”

“As an elder, you’re way beyond worrying about more power or money or fame. We can now speak the truth. We can look back and say ‘this is BS,'” he continued.

Watch David’s full interview with The National below to learn more about his next steps. You can watch his last episode of TNOT “Suzuki Signs Off” on CBC Gem.

Dr. David Suzuki has made it his life’s work to help humanity understand, appreciate, respect, and protect nature. Through his inspiring and realistic keynotes, he offers leading-edge insights into environmental sustainability and how we can build a world in which humanity and nature live as one.

Contact us to learn more about David and what he can bring to your next event.