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Chasing David
Timothy Treadwell
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Chasing David
My journey to find inner peace... I mean... Interview David Suzuki


mark gulherme

David Suzuki would be perfect for this magazine. In terms of environmental awareness, Dr. Suzuki is Canada’s Prime Minister, a recognizable face in our ecological conscience.   But David Suzuki is a difficult man to get a hold of.

We all know who Dr. David Suzuki is; chances are if you had a television during the ’80s or ’90s, you came across his long running CBC program, The Nature of Things. Over his illustrious career, Suzuki has become one the world’s most recognizable and influential geneticists and environmentalists.  Among his various awards, Suzuki has earned 15 honorary doctorates from universities in Canada, Australia and the United States and has written more than 30 books.

Like any budding journalist, I have dreamt of being able to get the “big” interview.  Other journalists would be standing around the water cooler whispering things like, “yeah, that’s the guy.  That’s the guy who got the big interview. He is really, really great.”

So, I hit the pavement in search of names and numbers that would get me closer to Suzuki.

And by pavement I mean I found a phone number on the internet and called.
“Hi, is David home?...It’s Robert, from Planet Oz…hello?

The woman on the other end explained that for an interview request I would need to fax a letter to the head offices and wait for a response.

With the fax sent, it was time to play the waiting game. That was until a fellow classmate noticed an advertisement in a small Toronto paper.  The ad stated there would be a gathering at the University of Toronto in support of the Frost Centre, an environmental and outdoor education centre in Ontario that was recently closed due to a lack of funding.  And guess who was going to be there? That’s right, Lani Billard.  Better known as Bizzie on Global’s hit afternoon drama, Ready or Not.

Oh, and David Suzuki.

The event was being referred to as An Evening with David Suzuki but I was referring to it as An Evening that Would Eventually Lead to Me Getting the Interview and Popularity.

He spoke for an hour and a half and had the audience’s undivided attention throughout.  It wasn’t long before I forgot about my own personal agenda and truly started to listen to what he had to say.

After his speech my mind was buzzing.  It suddenly dawned on me that I was a part of a bigger picture.  I realized that problems such as pollution and waste are issues that do affect me, even though most of the time I failed to recognize it. 

On the subway ride home, I noticed a middle-aged woman place her chocolate bar wrapper on the seat next to her before she got off at her stop. It was her understanding that her waste was somebody else’s problem.  Now, knowing that it was the absolute cliché thing to do, I decided to walk over and pick up the wrapper and personally see that it ended up in the garbage at my stop.  My fellow subway riders gave me a few strange looks; in fact I am almost positive most thought I was checking to see if there were any remnants of a chocolate bar left. There weren’t.

To the environmentally challenged I was just your basic weirdo who enjoyed the odd Kit-Kat. But I wasn’t there to convince anybody or to change people’s minds and neither was Dr. Suzuki.  All he did was allow people to catch a glimpse and recognize what is happening on our planet. And whether or not we decide to do anything about it is up to us as a society. 

After the lecture, he announced to the crowd he would be signing some of his books in the lobby, so I got into line. Unfortunately, I didn’t have a book or money to buy a book.  All I had was a copy of last year’s Planet Oz and a rather embarrassed look on my face.    
When it was my time I slowly approached the great man and told him my plan for the interview.

 He told me his plan for signing books at that moment.  

I stood there for a while contemplating my next move.

He sat there for a while wondering where security was.   And then I think the person behind me poked me in the back with his book, so I left without my prized interview. 

But I guess that’s just The Nature of Things.

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