- Published on Monday, 07 February 2011 06:22
- Written by John Draper
- Hits: 2739
Suzuki is beloved by environmentalists but not everyone else. He has become a Canadian icon and recently was the subject of a film - The Force of Nature - directed by Canadian director Sturla Gunnarsson. The movie starts with Suzuki presenting his "final lecture" and he sounds just like Richard Dawkins does when he wants to get everyone fired up about how the world we live in is so wonderful and should be enjoyed. Suzuki of course emphasizes an additional thought - that it should be preserved. He goes on to talk about how the world is almost at capacity and the population can only double one more time before it is FULL. (More on this). Nowhere does he talk about a creator or god so I was curious as to whether he was religious or not.
At the screening I was at, we were lucky to have the director Sturla Gunnarsson (photo left) available for questions. One of the questions was about Suzuki's obvious somewhat mystical connection with nature and "did that mean he was religious". The answer was that although Suzuki avoids talking about it, he is definitely an atheist.
The film makes clear that Suzuki is an emotional person and very close to his family. His parents were born in Canada but were still Japanese in name and culture. When his father died, he talked about returning to the earth and saw himself having almost a re-incarnation because of that. So not only is Suzuki an atheist so was his father. Both felt connected to nature. Suzuki feels very closely connected to the Haida in B.C. who also feel as if they are one with nature. Although the Haida seem to pray to a god, I would describe it more as a meditation or contemplating and being thankful for their oneness with nature. Suzuki is quite happy with this connection and it reinforces his determination to help the world see the need to do something about the environment.
Although he is a trained scientist and has worked as a biologist for many years, Suzuki is often criticised for his faulty science. He certainly brings emotion into it and that can easily derail good science but this movie of his life does not spout any false or misleading science - unlike Al Gore's Inconvenient Truth. The movie even totally avoids any mention of Global warming. So there need be no sidetracking on that subject.
Although the movie is a must-see for anyone interested in the environment or Suzuki, and it does a good job in making it clear that environmentalism is a good thing, it did not put any concrete proposals forward as to what exactly should be done. I agree that we should all worry about the environment and I agree that there are already too many people on this planet but we need to do more than talk and we need to do a lot more than worry about carbon dioxide. How about depletion of resources, insufficient capacity for food production, damaging the environment (oceans, forests, streams and more).
But instead of sidetracking now onto the specifics that we should be talking about, go see the movie. And remember that this man is NOT inspired, motivated or in any way influenced by belief in any god or religion - except perhaps a semi-mystical oneness with nature.
Here is a trailer.