Sarah Dorey and Chris Forget are more determined than ever to save our planet from destructive human behaviour after attending Dr. David Suzuki’s lecture at John Abbott College, Wednesday.
The Grade 11 students from Beaconsfield High School were two of 24 students from Lester B. Pearson high schools who won a chance to hear Suzuki speak live after they entered an essay contest.
Students were asked to write an essay on Suzuki’s lecture topic The Challenge of the 21st Century: Setting the Real Bottom Line.
“I’d only ever seen (Suzuki) on television or on YouTube,” Dorey, 17, said, Thursday. “It was like, whoa!, I’m in the same room with this person. He was amazing. One of the best speakers I’ve ever heard.”
Suzuki began his lecture by saying that we have reached a critical point in history and that if we didn’t change our attitudes and behaviour, our very survival was at stake.
“Yes, some of the facts were depressing, but he also said that one person can make a change,” Dorey, 17, said.
The lecture was streamed live on the Internet to almost 14,000 students watching at schools in the Lester B. Pearson School Board.
“I learned that everything I do, whether it be littering or whatever, has a consequence for the planet,” Forget, 16, said. “I thought it was very interesting the way he put humans at the same level as all the other animals and talked about how we must treat the planet well so that all animals can survive. That intrigued me.”
Both students were already practicing eco-friendly behaviour before hearing Suzuki speak.
Dorey’s family composts and recycles and she is careful to turn out lights she doesn’t need. Forget tries to take public transit whenever possible and works to conserve water, whether it be taking a shorter shower or turning off the tap while brushing his teeth.
But now both are even more committed to doing the right thing for the planet.
“We need to think before we act,” Dorey said. “His lecture made me more motivated to keep on doing what I’m doing and more. I will consider walking somewhere before asking my parents to drive me. I’ll take public transit more often. And I’m talking to my friends — asking them to rethink that disposable (water) bottle.”
Forget is also promoting what he heard by talking to his friends.
“We all need to watch what we are doing,” he said. “We have to respect the earth. What we give, it will give back.”