Author Topic: David Suzuki  (Read 3322 times)

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Offline gazzastapo

David Suzuki
« on: Fri 11 Jul 2008 00:49:46 »
not exactly a joke...but I found it somewhat amusing...if not thought provoking... ???



Here's your weekly Science Matters column by David Suzuki with Faisal Moola.

What a difference 50 years makes

Last month, I attended the 50th anniversary of my college graduation. A week
later, I celebrated my grandson's graduation from high school. I don't think
I was much different from the kids in my grandson's class when I went away
to college in 1954 (give or take a few rings and tattoos). Like them, I was
filled with trepidation but also excitement about testing my physical and
intellectual abilities beyond high school.
But my how the world has changed in 50 years!
   
I began my last year of college in 1957. On October 4 that year, the Soviet
Union electrified the world by successfully launching a satellite, Sputnik
1, into space. Little did we dream that out of the ensuing space race
between the U.S.S.R. and the U.S.A. would come 24-hour television news
channels, cellphones, and GPS navigation. In 1958, the only trans-Atlantic
phone lines were cables laid on the ocean floor, so phone calls to England
had to be booked hours or sometimes days in advance. I flew from Toronto to
a roommate's wedding in San Francisco on a propeller plane that made several
stops during the 22-hour trip.

In 1958, scientists were still debating about whether genetic material was
DNA or protein, we didn't know how many chromosomes humans have or that the
Y chromosome determines sex, and the Green Revolution was yet to come. Polio
was still a problem in North America, smallpox killed hundreds of thousands
annually, and oral contraceptives, photocopiers, personal computers, colour
TV, and DVDs didn't exist. In 1958, parts of the Amazon, Congo, and New
Guinea had not been explored. We were yet to learn of species extinction,
depletion of fish in the oceans, the effects of CFCs on the ozone layer,
acid rain, global warming, PCBs, and dioxins.
   
In half a century our lives have been transformed by scientific, medical,
and technological advances, as well as a host of environmental problems. No
one deliberately set out to undermine the planet's life-support systems or
tear communities apart, but those have been the consequences of our enormous
economic and technological "success" over the past five decades. Beset by
vast problems of wealth discrepancy, environmental issues, poverty, terror,
genocide, and prejudice, we are trying to weave our way into an uncertain
future.
   
I began speaking out on television in 1962 because I was shocked by the lack
of understanding of science at a time when science as applied by industry,
medicine, and the military was having such a profound impact on our lives. I
felt we needed more scientific understanding if we were to make informed
decisions about the forces shaping our lives. Today, thanks to computers and
the Internet, and television, radio, and print media, we have access to more
information than humanity has ever had. To my surprise, this access has not
equipped us to make better decisions about such matters as climate change,
peak oil, marine depletion, species extinction, and global pollution. That's
largely because we now have access to so much information that we can find
support for any prejudice or opinion.

Don't want to believe in evolution? No problem - you can find support for
intelligent design and creationism in magazines, on websites, and in all
kinds of books written by people with PhDs. Want to believe aliens came to
Earth and abducted people? It's easy to find theories about how governments
have covered up information on extraterrestrial aliens.
Think human-induced climate change is junk science? Well, if you choose to
read only certain national newspapers and magazines and listen only to
certain popular commentators on television or radio, you'll never have to
change your mind. And so it goes. The challenge today is that there is a
huge volume of information out there, much of it biased or deliberately
distorted. As I think about my grandson, his hopes and dreams and the
immense issues my generation has bequeathed him, I realize what he and all
young people need most are the tools of skepticism, critical thinking, the
ability to assess the credibility of sources, and the humility to realize we
all possess beliefs and values that must constantly be reexamined. With
those tools, his generation will certainly leave a better world to its
children and grandchildren 50 years from now.


Take David Suzuki's Nature Challenge and learn more at www.davidsuzuki.org.
Take Out Your False Teeth Momma....I Wanna Suck On Your Gums!!!....