Distributor:  Bullfrog Films
Length:  45 minutes
Date:  2009
Genre:  Expository
Language:  English
Grade level: 7-12, College, Adults
Color/BW:  Color
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The Suzuki Diaries: Sustainability in Action

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David Suzuki and daughter Sarika travel to Europe to visit inspiring people and projects that give hope for a sustainable future.

The Suzuki Diaries: Sustainability in Action

For the past 30 years, geneticist and science broadcaster, David Suzuki, host of CBC's 'The Nature of Things,' has been warning television audiences around the world about the dangers of taking nature for granted. He has urged us to change our consumer lifestyles, and to put brakes on an economic system that values unlimited growth above all other considerations.

THE SUZUKI DIARIES takes a different path. It follows Suzuki and his youngest daughter, Sarika, as they travel to Europe to explore what a sustainable future might look like, and to see if two different generations can find reason for hope.

As they travel through Germany, Denmark, France and Spain, father and daughter begin to see what is possible as they meet the people who are working towards restoring the equilibrium between human needs and planetary limits.

Amongst the projects the people and projects they feature are: in Germany, Hermann Scheer, politician and author of the innovative and influential feed-in tariffs that created vibrant renewable energy industry; Berlin's photovoltaic-powered central railroad station; the newly renovated Reichstag Building; and Studio 7.5 which designed the fully recyclable Mirra chair.

In Denmark, they visit Preben Maegaard, president of World Wind Energy Association. Denmark leads the world in the proportion of energy use that comes from wind. They also look at Copenhagen's traffic where 40% of the population bicycles to work or school.

In France they tour the farm of Nicholas Joly, a banker turned organic farmer who is producing biodynamic wine.

And in Spain, they check out a major concentrating solar power project by Abengoa Solar and the new high-speed rail network, where 190-mph trains will hopefully make carbon-intensive air travel between the major cities obsolete.

'This is a remarkable journey--into beautiful places, but also into the future. We need good solid hope right now, and here it is, in living color.' Bill McKibben, Author, Eaarth: Making a Life on a Tough New Planet

'A heartwarming story of a father and daughter in search of a sustainable world. Not a utopian fantasy in the distant future, but an introduction to real people, real places, and real innovations that are making us healthier, happier, prosperous and secure - right now. Highly recommended for teachers, students, and citizens looking for evidence and inspiration that a better world is possible.' Dr. Anthony Leiserowitz, Director, Yale Project on Climate Change, School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, Yale University

'Suzuki and his daughter bring us an indelible message from a trip through Europe's cities that are leading the renewable energy revolution. This is a film of immense power and promise. It's not about conjecture, but about political will, as we are seeing real installations and ways of doing things, from energy generation to transport to agriculture, that are in play and proven. It's not about being green, but about economics and the quality of life; in short it's about sustainability of life on a planet of 9 billion people. The intergenerational message of hope that emerges from Suzuki's conversations with his daughter during the trip are powerful.' Robert M. Goodman, Professor II, Ecology, Evolution, and Natural Resources, Executive Dean, School of Environmental and Biological Sciences, Executive Director, New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station, Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey

'David Suzuki treats us to a wonderful array of solutions to the dire environmental challenges facing us. He and his daughter Sarika travel to Europe to witness sustainable alternatives that are already in operation-energy from the sun and wind, transportation by bicycle and rapid trains, and biodynamic agriculture in a Spanish vineyard. A refreshing approach highlighting what is possible if only we can muster the will to embrace change.' Polly Walker, Research Associate and Environmental Health Sciences Senior Fellow, Center for a Livable Future, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health

'Environmentalists often see the glass as being half empty, or less, when it comes to the continuing decline of the earth's natural resources. Unfortunately, such negativism can be communicated in classrooms potentially discouraging a cadre of young people from seeking viable solutions. In The Suzuki Diaries, David Suzuki notes that this had happened within his own family as he sets out across Europe with his youngest daughter, Sarika, in search of environmental optimism. They find it in a variety of sustainable developments and lifestyles and conclude that the quality of our environmental future is only limited by the lack of a collective commitment to purpose. David and Sarika also establish a valuable inter-generational understanding that modern environmentalism should focus on finding innovative solutions that both protect the environment and enhance the quality of life. This is a message that needs to be heard well beyond the Suzuki family.' James Lassoie, Professor, Department of Natural Resources and Life Science, Cornell University

'David Suzuki, realizing that lamenting environmental problems presents a hopeless future to his children, tours Europe with his daughter Sarika, in search of solutions. They find that visionary Europeans have been building efficient, clean-energy solutions, not for environmental reasons, but because they make sense for security, quality of life, equity and economics. We are left inspired, challenged to conceive a world that all fathers would like to leave to all children.' Alexis Karolides, Principal, Rocky Mountain Institute

'Given the number of gloom and doom environmental films flooding the market, the more optimistic approach of The Suzuki Diaries: Sustainability in Action is refreshing...The film portrays concrete answers to some of the energy issues the world is facing. Suzuki and his daughter are energetic and engaging and their dynamic adds an extra dimension to the film.' Tom Ipri, University of Nevada-Las Vegas, Educational Media Reviews Online

'Would appeal to a sophisticated student or general audience with strong interest on the subject.' Library Journal

'There is a clear message here: If it can be done in Europe, there is no reason that it cannot be done in the United States or Canada. The conversational exchanges between father and daughter, resulting from her eye-opening experiences, are themselves inspiring...The overall impact is encouraging and optimistic - one of hope, dependent only on the opening of our minds to existing smart choices.' AAAS's Science Books and Film

'The most personalized episode...Revealing. Sarika explains how, as a child, her parents' harangues about eco-politics left her feeling helpless. When she told her father, he says he began to understand the need to focus on practical solutions, not just on doomsday threats...That is inspirational.' Bruce Kirkland, Winnipeg Sun

'Highly recommended...The documentary is ample proof that ecologically friendly energy solutions are not only possible, but are already in use on a wide scale across the pond.' The New Resilient

'I appreciate the subtext that Suzuki's daughter must realize the potential for a sustainable future, despite the seemingly desperate state of the world now. There was a key point in the film that truly reflected the principles of the Global Ecovillage Network: that it takes 'those passionate individuals' to lead the way to sustainability.' Jessica DuBoe, Global Ecovillage Network


Awards

Chris Award, Columbus International Film and Video Festival
Sonoma Environemental Film Festival

Citation

Main credits

Suzuki, David T. (Host)
Cullis-Suzuki, Sarika (Host)
Vaughan, Kenton (Director)
Verma, Tina (Producer)
O'Neill, Terry (Producer)

Other credits

Director, Kenton Vaughan; producers, Tina Verma, Terry O'Neill; editor, Murray Green; cinematography, John Badcock; original music, David Wall, Kevin Lacroix.


Distributor credits

Tina Verma and Terry O\'Neil

Tina Verma and Terry O\'Neil
Kenton Vaughan
for CBC\'s \'The Nature of Things\'
Executive Producer: Michael Allder
Editor: Murray Green
Cinematography: John Badcock
Sound: Keith Bonnell
Hosted by David Suzuki and Sarika Cullis-Suzuki

Docuseek2 subjects

Sustainability
Energy
Environmental Design
Engineering

Distributor subjects

Agriculture
Anthropology
Art/Architecture
Canadian Studies
Climate Change/Global Warming
Design
Economics
Energy
Environment
European Studies
Geography
Government
Green Building
Political Science
Renewable Energy
Science, Technology, Society
Sociology
Sustainability
Sustainable Agriculture
Urban and Regional Planning

Keywords

David Suzuki, Sarika Suzuki, Europe, sustainable future, 'The Nature of Things', consumer lifestyles, economic system, unlimited growth, Germany, Denmark, France, Spain, human needs, planetary limits, Hermann Scheer, feed-in tariffs, renwable energy industry, renovated Hauptbahnhof, Reichstag Building, Studio 7.5, Mirra chair, Preben Maegaard, wind power, Copenhagen bicycles, Nicholas Joly, biodynamic wine, Atocha, Abengoa Solar, concentrating solar power,"The Suzuki Diaries: Sustainability in Action",Bullfrog Films

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