David Suzuki to retire from ‘The Nature of Things’ next year

Dr. David Suzuki speaks at a Special Chiefs Assembly / Conference on Climate Change and the Environment in Winnipeg, Tuesday, November 29, 2016. John Woods / The Canadian Press

Canadian broadcasting icon David Suzuki, who taught so many of us extraordinary scientific tidbits over the years, is handing over the reins as host of CBC’s radio show The Nature of Things, announcing he’ll do his last broadcast in the spring of 2023.

Suzuki, now 86, has been the program’s host for exactly 43 years — he started on Oct. 24, 1979 — but he now says it’s time to move on and let someone else take the post.

“I have been fortunate to have been endowed with good health, which has enabled me to remain the host of the series long after my ‘best before date,’” Suzuki said in a CBC press release issued late Sunday.

Click to play video: 'Environmental activist David Suzuki joins Greta Thunberg at climate rally in Vancouver'
Environmental activist David Suzuki joins Greta Thunberg at climate rally in Vancouver

“Aging is a natural biological process that creates opportunity for fresher, more imaginative input from younger people and for years, I have warned that to ensure the continuation of The Nature of Things, we must prepare for the transition when I leave. That moment is now.”

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Suzuki joined the CBC in 1971 with the TV series Suzuki on Science. In 1974, he developed and hosted the long-running popular radio program Quirks and Quarks, and several more TV specials followed.

His position as one of Canada’s most popular personalities was forged when he took over as host of The Nature of Things. As testament to his broad appeal, the science magazine was renamed The Nature of Things with David Suzuki and doubled in length from its original half-hour format.

You’d be hard-pressed to find a Canadian over 30 years old who doesn’t know who Suzuki is.

CBC will announce plans for the show in the coming weeks.

The company’s executive vice president Barbara Williams said Suzuki leaves an “indelible legacy.”

Environmental activist David Suzuki speaks during a rally in Vancouver on Oct. 19, 2019. Darryl Dyck / The Canadian Presss

“David has made science more accessible to countless viewers in Canada and around the world, finding new ways to demystify our complex world and illustrate how the future of humanity and the natural world cannot be separated — long before climate change became a hot topic,” Williams said in the release.

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In an interview with Ian Hanomansing on The National, Suzuki says he’s not comfortable with calling it a retirement: “I’m just moving on.”

Suzuki has long been known as an outspoken eco-activist and, at times, has faced criticism for his views on the climate and environment.

Last year, he had to apologize for a comment he made during an interview warning there will be “pipelines blown up” if governments don’t take rapid action on climate change.

“Any suggestion that violence is inevitable is wrong and will not lead us to a desperately-needed solution to the climate crisis,” he said in his apology.

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“My words were spoken out of extreme frustration and I apologize.”

The David Suzuki Foundation said the remarks were “born out of many years of watching government inaction while the climate crisis continues to get worse.”

With files from The Canadian Press

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