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Renowned Environmentalist David Suzuki Visits Trent University
January 1, 2007

World Renowned Environmentalist Speaks at University’s Annual Tapscott-Lopes Business and Society Lecture

World-renowned geneticist, environmentalist, academic and broadcaster, Dr. David Suzuki, was at Trent University on Friday, January 19 and spoke to an audience of over 600 students, faculty, staff and community members during an evening lecture.

In his talk, entitled “The Challenge of the 21st Century: Finding Our Place in the World”, Dr. Suzuki spoke about the deep environmental crisis the planet is facing and how all the world’s resources are needed now to correct this situation. 

“When the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbour, the Americans didn’t say ‘Oh no! They’ve destroyed the visiting fleet, we can’t afford to do anything about it, it will cost too much.  They said there’s only one thing we can do, and that’s to throw everything we’ve got into winning this war,” said Dr. Suzuki. “And yet when it comes to an issue like global warming, we say, we can’t afford to do anything.  Right now we have a hundred Pearl Harbours going off at once, and we’re dream walking our way through this crisis.”

When asked about his impressions of Trent, Dr. Suzuki expressed his regard for Trent’s intimate learning environment. “I’ve always been very keen on Trent with its focus on undergraduate education. I’ve recommended a lot of students in British Columbia to come to Trent if they want to go out of province for their education.  At a small university you get people there who are really dedicated to teaching.”

Dr. Suzuki has also been connected to Trent for many years through a bursary he set up to support students from the Third World who want to attend the University.  He established the bursary in 1985 following a speaking engagement at Trent and named it in memory of his mother, Setsu Suzuki.  As a younger student, Dr. Suzuki benefited from a scholarship to attend university in the United States because the school recognized that students from other countries contributed to the educational experience of all students.  “In a tiny way, if I can help a foreign student come to Trent, that would be a way of acknowledging what Americans did for me.”  Past recipients have included students from Jamaica, India, Kenya, Ethiopia and Bulgaria.

Dr. Suzuki was invited to Trent as a guest speaker for the fifth annual Tapscott-Lopes Business and Society Lecture.

“There is no one else in Canada, and few in the world, who have done more to protect our species on this little planet from extinction. We are enormously grateful for the work he has done to get the truth out and to inspire others, both institutions and individuals, to change their behaviour,” said Don Tapscott, who, in addition to sponsoring the annual event with his wife, is also a Trent alumnus and an international leader in business strategy. “Trent is a perfect place for Dr. Suzuki to give a major address and we are hoping that people will look back on this and think of it as an historical moment of sorts.”

The Don Tapscott and Ana Lopes Business and Society Lecture fund was established to support a lecture once a year to bring prominent speakers to the Trent University community to address issues of values and ethics as they pertain to business and society. Past speakers include: Don Tapscott himself, Jim Griffen, CEO of Cherry Hill Digital, internationally renowned author Joel Bakan, the brains behind the book The Corporation: The Pathological Pursuit of Profit and Power and its award-winning documentary, and John Elkington, a leading authority on sustainable development and triple bottom line business strategy.



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