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David Suzuki urges Vancouverites to 'experience' nature on Canada Day—even if they can't leave town

Veteran broadcaster tells Metro his most cherished Vancouver places, and why it's important for families to cultivate an appreciation for environment.

David Suzuki, host of CBC's The Nature of Things and author of numerous environmental books, addresses a rally in this file photo.

David P. Ball / Metro Order this photo

David Suzuki, host of CBC's The Nature of Things and author of numerous environmental books, addresses a rally in this file photo.

Even though forecasters predict an overcast Canada Day in Vancouver, if you're planning on taking in one of Vancouver's many beachfront views of the Salish Sea, weeding your garden, visiting a neighbourhood park or walking the Seawall: David Suzuki salutes you.

Canada's most recognizable environmentalist and long-time host of CBC's The Nature of Things told Metro why appreciation and respect for the environment needs to be cultivated — and he insisted it doesn't require getting drenched camping, braving the traffic jams out of town, or grunting your way up the gruelling Grouse Grind.

Ahead of Canada Day, Metro asked public figures across the country why they love where they live. Here’s what the author of The Legacy: An Elder's Vision for a Sustainable Future told us.

Metro: What do you love most about living in Vancouver, and why?

David Suzuki: Vancouver has a feel of a small town rather than a megacity, and I love the feeling of ease in navigating the streets. I love the proximity to the ocean and the mountains and the climate.

What is your favourite place in the city to spend time, and why?

I love our house, which is on the ocean and is a "home" not a piece of real estate. I have lived in the same house for 40 years.  Both of our children grew up their entire lives in that house that had their grandparents upstairs all that time. 

Especially on long weekends like this one, people often talk about "escaping from the city" to spend time in nature. Do you think it's possible to truly appreciate the environment from within urban areas?

Appreciating nature is the challenge of our time as young people spend hours in front of a computer, cellphone or television screen and only a few minutes outside every day. Now, virtual reality seems to offer experiences that are better than reality: car races and gunfights without threats to survival, sex without danger of STDs, virtual nature without risk of injury or harm.

For those who feel too busy or too broke to experience nature, how can they and their families boost that appreciation?

We are now an urban animal, so it's important to seek out nature in our surroundings — gardens, parks, creeks or woods.

Nature is the very source of our lives and happiness, clean air, water, soil and biodiversity. Yet how will we appreciate that, and fight to protect it, if we don't experience it?

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