December 15, 2008
By Robert Ellidge

Landscape Ontario’s Toronto Chapter celebrated Environmental Awareness Day on Nov. 20 by sponsoring renowned Canadian environmentalist, Dr. David Suzuki at two events.

The day started at the Toronto Botanical Garden, where over 100 industry members gathered for a garden tour and lunch, followed by a 10-minute talk by Dr. Suzuki on the importance of including more plants, trees and natural spaces in our ever-growing cities.

Suzuki was quick to remind the audience that human beings should not lose sight of the fact we are just another species in the natural world. “We seem to put ourselves above all of the other animals, just because we are intelligent,” he said. “When, in fact, we are just as dependent on nature as all the other species on the planet.”

After his talk, Suzuki and the audience went outside and joined a group of children from Regent Park Duke of York Public School. The students were given a few words on the importance of trees, and then helped Suzuki plant an Ohio buckeye tree.

Public lecture draws a crowd

Later that evening, a second event with Suzuki was held for the general public at the John Bassett Theatre in downtown Toronto. The evening started with a slideshow presentation by Beth Edney CLD, chair of LO’s Landscape Design Commodity Group. Edney and a group of volunteers recently made seven year-old Rachel’s dream come true: to have her own butterfly garden. Rachel’s garden was made possible through many volunteers and the Make a Wish Foundation. With Rachel by her side at the podium, Edney showed pictures of the garden’s construction to the audience.

Rachel then took the spotlight and introduced David Suzuki to the 400-plus people in attendance.

The importance of green

Suzuki spoke about our relationship with the environment and about our role in the natural world. He commented on the inability of governments, economists and corporations to do anything constructive to clean up the environment and urged people to put pressure on government officials to make the environment a top priority for our country.

After his lecture, Suzuki answered a few questions from the audience and signed copies of his books.

Landscape Ontario recognizes the following individuals and companies who helped make the event possible: Beth Edney, Dana and Rachel, Islington Nurseries, Loblaws, LO Toronto Chapter, Make a Wish Foundation, Sick Kids Bravery Heart Campaign, Sick Kids Foundation, Toronto Botanical Garden and Toyota Canada.

Caption: Wearing a LO jacket, Dr. Suzuki and students plant a tree at the TBG