In this chatty, charming autobiography, high-profile Canadian environmentalist David Suzuki covers his formidable life achievements from a personal perspective. Now in his seventies, Suzuki is best known for his long-running popular science TV series The Nature of Things, but as a respected scientist and author as well as an environmental campaigner, he is a television personality with true ‘street cred’.
Suzuki’s ecological and environmental concerns are foremost in the book, but, along the way, he writes about his childhood, his marriages, and his children. Those hoping for a lurid show-business autobiography could be disappointed, as he deals courteously and affectionately with his entire family, including his first wife.
In the first chapter, “My Happy Childhood in Racist British Columbia”, he tells, simply and movingly, of the forces that made him ‘an outsider’, particularly the internment of his family as enemy aliens in Canada during WWII. At university he fell in love with genetics, and then in 1962, as an academic, stumbled into broadcasting on a local TV program, never dreaming that it would take over his life.
Since then, Suzuki has made innumerable appearances on his own and others’ television shows; travelled to exotic (and often uncomfortable) places; built the David Suzuki Foundation; and campaigned extensively for the preservation of the natural environment, in Canada and elsewhere — even Australia, where he was particularly delighted to see platypuses.
His respect for the indigenous people of North America is obvious, and his concern for the Kaiapo people of the Amazon, devastated by ‘progress’, is moving.