The legacy – a book review

Author: David Suzuki

Title: The legacy: an elder’s vision for our sustainable future

Crows Nest, N.S.W. : Allen & Unwin, 2010

          Yan’s pick

If you’re confused by the fierce debate on climate change, or wondering what we should do about it, then, this book is truly for you. In fact, it’s for everyone.

David Suzuki, the internationally renowned scientist, environmentalist and broadcaster, has written this beautiful book. ‘The legacy’ is his last lecture as a professor for thirty nine years at the University of British Columbia. It is not only the legacy, that from an elder, a professor, delivers to the younger generation, but more, it reflects the legacy – the living environment, that has been passed on from our predecessors from millions years back until now, and it will be passed on from us to the future generations, hopefully.

Human beings are the superspecies of the universe, so we think. We live in this biosphere, with water, fire, earth, air, and biodiversity are the most basic elements for living. However we mess up the environment using the latest technologies we can think of. We’ve not only built roads to transport goods, dug holes to get natural resources for excessive use; we have not only killed other species, but even human beings, for example, all aborigines around the world, by using all sorts of means, and so on so forth.  

Suzuki explains biosphere easily enough for any lay people to comprehend. He strongly criticises those who are only focussing on economic growth but fail to ask the most important questions, like ‘how much is enough?’ ’what are the limits?’ ‘Are we happier with all this growth?’ and ‘What is an economic for?’ Suzuki says ‘Our home is finite and fixed; it can’t grow. And if the economy is a part of and utterly dependent on the biosphere, the attempt to maintain endless growth is a delusional fantasy’.  

This earth is a legacy from our ancestors. ‘We are deeply embedded in and utterly dependent on the generosity of the biosphere.’ So what can we do to change our living perceptions and continue our human journey in a sustainable way? Surely, this little (100 pages only), but very important book, will give everyone some great  ideas and also it will change your mindset about environment.