At 78, most people are settled comfortably into their retirement, living at a gentler pace and likely not in the public eye. That cannot be said of scientist and environmentalist David Suzuki. As this article goes to press, the 78-year-old Suzuki has embarked on a cross-country tour of Canada called the Blue Dot tour to rally people to protect clean air and water.
The Blue Dot tour, so named for the image of the planet Earth from space, will visit 20 communities over seven weeks. Its objective is to see Canada do what 110 other countries around the world have already done: enshrine environmental protection in the nation’s Constitution. It wants to add the right to a healthy environment to the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Anyone familiar with the history of political and constitutional wrangling in Canada knows this is a lofty goal, but Blue Dot has laid out a road map to get there. It starts by motivating individuals to stand up for the right to clean air, healthy food and fresh water. These individuals then call on municipalities to pass municipal declarations respecting people’s right to live in a healthy environment. As a critical mass of municipalities come on side, provincial decision-makers will be inspired to follow suit. And when seven out of 10 provinces representing more than 50 per cent of the Canadian population recognize the right to a healthy environment, the Charter can be amended.
Suzuki has brought together major performers and influencers for the tour such as Neil Young, Margaret Atwood, Robert Bateman, Bruce Cockburn, Jim Cuddy, Feist, Stephen Lewis, Raine Maida, Joel Plaskett and Raffi. He has also managed to rally some major names as sponsors: organic cereal giant Nature’s Path, the Roots clothing company, and Ascenta Health (makers of Nutra-Sea fish oil). Suzuki, who says this will be his last tour, has amassed a great deal of influence over the years as the face of The Nature of Things, and he has clearly put it to good use. A week into the tour, over 40,000 people have signed on saying they will call on their community to recognize the right to a clean environment.
We appreciate the simple, incremental approach of the activism in this Blue Dot tour. It’s not about againstness, us versus them, but about everyone coming together to speak up for the health and balance of the air, water and earth that sustain us. This feels like a positive and grounded way to engage in activism.
To read more about the Blue Dot tour, please visit bluedot.ca.