What is the most important thing in life? It is one of the most fundamental questions that we can ask ourselves and yet we rarely do. When we are posed that question it often causes people to stumble before producing an answer. Some believe it is perhaps happiness, health, family, love or money. Some might even say it’s simply that first sip of delicious, bubbly golden ale on a splendid Friday afternoon whilst celebrating the completion of the weekly grind.
Mr. David Suzuki however, would ask you to consider a different answer. 3 to 4 minutes… that’s it. That is how long a typical human being would have to survive without a breath of air. 3 to 4 days… that is all the time you would get if deprived of water. And of course food, who could forget about delicious food like bacon! 5 to 6 days without food will cause you to die. It is not just the quantity of air, water and food that we should prioritize in our lives, but the quality of it as well. If we breathe in contaminated air we are sick, if we drink polluted water we become ill, and foods that are laced with harmful pesticides do us no good either.
This is the basis for the Blue Dot Tour. To simply recognize that these critical factors to a healthy and happy life be constitutionally recognized in Canada. In more than half of the countries around the world, 110 Governments in fact, have changed their laws to give their citizens the right to live in a toxic free environment. But not in Canada, not yet, despite 85% of Canadians agreeing that it should. Without these rights in place environmental laws have been slipping when they should have been getting stronger, allowing certain industries to move ahead with projects without the level of scrutiny required to ensure safe, sustainable, best practice. This has led to massive increases of pollution into the atmosphere and landscapes, whilst significantly decreasing the standard of living for the people residing close by to these projects.
The Blue Dot Tour that is currently traversing its way across Canada, (in electric vehicles) is a movement that is looking to engage individuals to bring about local municipal reform. These changes will be used as an example to the cities to come together to affect Provincial reform. Once enough Provinces are on board then the final step is to amend the Charter of Rights and Freedoms to recognize Canadian citizens rights to live in a healthy Environment.
I was fortunate enough to attend the Toronto stop of the tour on the evening of Friday the 3rd of October. On show, to a packed out Massey Hall was some iconic Canadian performers, artists and leaders including Barenaked Ladies, Chantal Kreviazuk, Raine Maida, Shane Koyczan, Stephen Lewis, Don McKellar, Dr. Joseph MacInnis and Danny Michel. Some of the highlights from the show:
- Danny’s emotive acoustic guitar performance of his song ‘Feather, Fur and Fin’.
- Physician, author, poet, underwater diver and aquanaut Joseph MacInnis’ talk on leadership and his thoughts on it requiring deep empathy, deep eloquence and deep endurance to be successful.
- Spoken word artist Shane Koyczan’s hair raising, spine tingling and ultimately bone rattling poem ‘Shoulders’ that he wrote specifically for the Blue Dot Tour.
- Barenaked Ladies incredible musical mashup that brought the entire audience to their feet in rapturous applause. The final ‘song’ included renditions of Survivors – Eye of the Tiger, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis – Can’t Hold Us, Miley Cyrus – Wrecking Ball, with even a little off-the-cuff beatboxing thrown in for good measure.
This paved the way for David Suzuki’s entrance. He began by stating that he came to talk not from the perspective of a Suzuki foundation member, but simply as an elder, and a grandfather. When David speaks you can really feel that what he has to say comes from deep within his heart, he is earnest, honest and noble. He embodies what I believe to be true Canadian values–he appreciates his fellow citizens and the beautiful land on which he grew up. So much so that he is willing to fight for it well into his 70’s to achieve nothing less, than the future health of the nation.
He spoke for around 30 minutes, taking us back through his family history, his childhood, and his career ups and downs. He wove into this story some of Canada’s evolutionary history as a nation. He highlighted that one person not only has the ability to affect change, but that it is in fact the only way change begins. A single flower does not make a pretty garden, but there can only be one flower that blooms first, then it is up to the rest to bloom alongside it. The ball has already started to roll on the Blue Dot Movement, and I encourage everyone to get on board. You can start by watching the short video here: http://bluedot.ca and either signing up on the mailing list to receive further information, or by donating to assist the cause. Soon, action will be required to begin talks with Municipal leaders to affect the first stage of change, so stay tuned!
“Things are only impossible until somebody decides that they’re not. Today is the day that we decide” ~David Suzuki
Article by Dale Tidy