- Hardcover: 128 pages
- Publisher: Greystone Books/David Suzuki Foundation (Aug. 9 2010)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1553655702
- ISBN-13: 978-1553655701
- Product Dimensions: 14.6 x 1.9 x 21 cm
- Shipping Weight: 272 g
- Average Customer Review: 11 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #150,600 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
The Legacy Hardcover – Sep 11 2010
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Quill & Quire
Geneticist, broadcaster, author, and social critic David Suzuki is one of the loudest voices in the global green community, and is surely the elder statesman of Canadian environmentalism. Suzuki adds to an already impressive body of work with The Legacy, framed as a photo-illustrated “last lecture,” because the septuagenarian host of CBC’s The Nature of Things is facing reality: “Now that my parents are gone and I too have become an elder, my mind turns to my own mortality. I hope I can approach my death with the dignity and acceptance my father did.”
A tie-in with Suzuki’s (carbon-weighty) world tour, The Legacy recapitulates and condenses decades of advocacy work. Writers repackage their oeuvres all the time, but how they do so is just as important as why. In this regard, The Legacy falters in significant ways. For one thing, although it is about the length of a novella, the book somehow manages to be internally repetitious.
No one could argue with Suzuki’s overall message, or indeed, with the many cogent points he makes. However, even well founded passion for the natural world – and distress at the uncontestable destruction our species is wreaking on it – could do with less anger and more warmth (and even a touch of levity). Citizens are bombarded with “do-this” and “don’t-do-that” imperatives every day, and resent being talked down to. In The Legacy, Suzuki pounds the podium less than in his 2009 essay collection, The Big Picture, but seems intent on taking himself every bit as seriously as a graduate student canvassing for Greenpeace.
Despite this stridency, he does close the book with a gentle, eloquent observation: if there is hope that humanity can change in time, it will be due to our love of the natural world, not just scientific understanding. Anyone would do well to leave behind a message like that.
Occasionally we encounter someone who appeals to the better angels of our nature and reminds us of values we once held dear. For me that person was David Suzuki. It was a privilege and a joy collaborating with him on this project for the past two years and I take great pride in the result. —Sturla Gunnarsson(2010-08-27)
The 'legacy' in this lecture is one of truthful words about the hard place we're in, but it's also one of hopeful words: our chance if we will take it for 'opportunity, beauty, wonder and companionship with the rest of creation.' My hope is that we ourselves will emulate David Suzuki and leave legacies in our turn. —Margaret Atwood(2010-09-08)
Readers . . . will find Suzuki's tangential musings on subjects like argon molecules, shrinking swordfish, or the role of salmon in fertilizing forests some of the book's best reading . . . at the core of his writing lurks a scientist's wonder at the world, and a compelling sincerity that makes you believe—or at least, want to believe—[there is] still some hope for this muddled planet. —Winnipeg Free Press(2010-09-10)
The Legacy is part autobiography, part history, part basic science—and above all, a plea for the planet. —Montreal Gazette(2010-09-11)
With environmental crises facing the planet—climate change, ocean acidification and loss of biodiversity, to name a few—Suzuki says this is the time to act. The Legacy is part autobiography, part history, part basic science—and above all, a plea for the planet. Buy it. —National Post(2010-09-19)
The book reads as if Suzuki is speaking to you, taking you by the hand on a journey. —Green Living(2010-09-30)
Suzuki, one of the planetís best-known environmentalists, explains how earth got where it is today and presents his vision for a better future—The Legacy encapsulates Suzuki's thoughts, philosophies and hopes for a sustainable future. —Arabella Magazine(2010-10-01)
David Suzuki is one of the loudest voices in the global green community, and is surely the elder statesman of Canadian environmentalism. [He] adds to an already impressive body of work with The Legacy. —Quill & Quire(2010-10-01)
Suzuki locates his vision of nature's order even more deeply, as an 'elder,' in the healing resources of aboriginal wisdom . . . The imaginative reach of Suzuki's earth-vision grounded in scientific fact is astounding. Single sentences can change our perceptions of space and time ranging from the pre-Cambrian era to future millennia . . . to this reader, Suzuki's grasp of the magic, profound complexity of nature's underlying matrix is the strength of his new book. —Telegraph-Journal(2010-10-02) See all Product description
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I ordered this book as soon as I heard about it, thinking that something with such a title from Dr. Suzuki must be great. Unfortunately, the book is a huge let-down.
The book is divided into three parts of roughly equal length. The first, "Evolution of a Superspecies," is a brief review of how humans evolved to be such a successful and numerous species, and how we're responsible for today's environmental problems. None of this will be new to any environmentalist or fan of Dr. Suzuki. The second secton titled "Finding a New Path" explains the disconnect between economics and government policy and nature; again nothing new to those most likely to purchase the book. Lastly, "A Vision for the Future," where one expects to finally find some great ideas and concrete solutions, simply tells the reader that humans are part of nature, that we have the potential to change our ways, and that we need to change our point of view. As much as I wanted to like this book, none of the above meets my definition of the book's subtitle: An Elder's Vision for our Sustainable Future.
The case, as I understand it, is that
- Humans have developed into a superspeices that is reordering other natural systems in its own short-term interests.
- This new order is not sustainable, it is consuming non-renewable resources (burning down its capital) and destroying the information and feedback loops it needs to self correct.
- Homogenizing metrics (my term) such as GDP (or the idea that the sole purpose of the corporation is to maximize short-term shareholder value) do not direct cultures and economies in directions that optimize sustainability, resilience or human well being.
- We need to widen our frame of reference and learn from traditional societies that lived within their means for many generations.
- Our cities, our industries and our agriculture can become much more beautiful, livable and enjoyable if we change what we try to optimize, learn from nature and each other, and see our self worth as people who live in order to learn, understand, foster and grow rather than just to consume (and in consuming pile up debt while drawing down our capital - economic, human and natural).
This is a lovely little book. It does not answer many questions, and it is not larded with facts, but I think it can help us to ask better questions of ourselves.
Note: I live in the same neighborhood in Vancouver as David Suzuki, and occasionally see him around, but I do not know him personally or socially.
A lifetime of wisdom is contained within its 113 pages. From the state of the environment and why it matters to economics, relationships, spirituality, and more, its a profound journey through the eyes of a man who has seen much. Yet the book is hopeful as Dr Suzuki remains optimistic about our shared future.
It's the kind of book that stays with you long after you've read it.
I'd definitely recommend "The Legacy" to all readers. In fact, I've already ordered copies for my friends and family.
add his own philosophical thoughts to his writing.
I find it funny that one of the bad reviews is by a
raving climate denier who cannot be classed as a scientist;
Tom Harris of the International Climate Science Coalition
I personally enjoyed the book very much as I have enjoyed
The Nature of Things for decades.
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It's nothing more than the same old self-glorifying patting-oneself-on-the-back that we've heard before.Read more