David Suzuki , final exam, green guide, by laura bickle
Green guide
Describe your school-aged self in three words.

I only have one — shy.

What was your favourite subject in school and why?

Math, because it was so precise, and science for the same reason.

What do you wish you had been taught in school but weren’t?

I wish I had learned to play a musical instrument.

In school I excelled at …

Math, chemistry, physics and English.

In school I struggled with …

I didn’t struggle but German was hard.

Fondest school-related memory

My first kiss.

Quality you most appreciated in a teacher?

Passion for the subject they’re teaching.

Most important life lesson learned at school?

If you make a mess you have to clean it up.

If you could create a new course to be taught at all schools, what would it be?

We have to put the world back together. Right now, we see the world in fragments and we believe we are separate from nature. But that isn’t the case at all. If I were to develop a course to teach to students it would focus on Rachel Carson’s [American marine biologist and conservationist whose book Silent Spring advanced the global environmental movement] work of how we all belong to an interconnected world.

The thing I learned in kindergarten that still applies to my life today is …

Share — don’t be greedy.

Name: David Suzuki

  • born in Vancouver in 1936; has a twin sister and two other siblings.
  • during World War II, the family lost their dry-cleaning business, and Suzuki, his mother and sisters were sent to an internment camp; his father was sent to a labour camp.
  • after the war, the family moved to Leamington and then London, Ont. He attended Mill Street ES, Leamington SS and London Central CI, where he was Student Council President.
  • has an honours BA in biology and a Ph.D. in zoology; has since accumulated 25 honorary degrees
  • UBC faculty member since 1963; is now professor emeritus.
  • recipient of the Order of Canada, first as an Officer (1976), then upgraded to Companion status (2006).
  • has written 52 books, including 19 for children; An Introduction to Genetic Analysis (with A.J.F. Griffiths), is the most widely used genetics textbook in the US.
  • developed and hosted Quirks and Quarks on CBC Radio (1974); launched the CBC series, The Nature of Things with David Suzuki (1979).
  • won four Gemini Awards.
  • recipient of UNESCO’s Kalinga Prize for Science and UNEP’s Global 500 Roll of Honour.
  • won the Right Livelihood Award, considered the “Alternative Nobel Prize” (2009).
  • the David Suzuki Foundation published Connecting With Nature, an education guide for Grades 4 to 6. It’s free to download at davidsuzuki.org/youthandnature.
  • photography: Jaime Hogge; inset photo courtesy of David Suzuki; Paper elements: iStock.