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“A Force of Nature” starring David Suzuki

Friends, I’ve had one of the most exhausting and exhilarating days of my entire life, and before I drop into a stupor, I’ll tell you a bit about it. Especially about this afternoon, when I went to see a movie that’s showing in the Toronto International Film Festival. It’s called “Force of Nature,” and it’s about David Suzuki.

David and my father were good friends for decades, fellow activists for science, peace and justice in the 70’s and 80’s. During my Vancouver days, I kept up with David and his wonderful, brilliant wife Tara and did a little work for his radio show. I smoked a joint with him once, a high point, I can tell you, literally and figuratively. What a mind.

But, though Tara and I have touched base regularly, there have been few opportunities to connect through the years. So it was thrilling to receive an invitation to the opening of this documentary about David. There was a huge crowd lined up outside the Ryerson theatre, and I was able to sweep right by, with Tara, onto the RED CARPET. There was one, and I was on it.
And there I ran into Laszlo Barna, whom I also used to know in Vancouver in the 70’s. Laszlo was a film director and producer, whose first movie, in about 1977, was a short about unionizing banks, starring me and my friend Lani as bank tellers learning about the union. We shot at 6 a.m. in a small bank in south Vancouver. And now Laszlo is a big-time Toronto film and TV producer, and this was his film.
And it’s a beauty, directed by Sturla Gunnerson. It’s not perfect; I wish there had been less about the early days and more about David’s recent vital work with the Suzuki Foundation and in the jungles of South America; more about Tara’s work. But the film lets you watch David so closely, and especially to hear his message about saving our planet. What he says is so articulate, so personal and profound and moving – every school child in this country should see this film. And so, I hope, will you. He speaks about the air we breathe, how in fact every breath we take in contains particles of Joan of Arc, the dinosaurs, Jesus Christ. We ARE the air, he says, we are the planet, the trees – which is why he admires the culture of native Canadians, because they understand this. At the end, we see that his daughter Severn has married into a Haida family, and there’s David, in a simple house in the woods with his in-laws, finally at home.
Afterwards, I said to Laszlo, All you can think, seeing this film, is – why hasn’t someone made a film about this extraordinary man before?
After the schmoozing, Tara and her daughter Sarika walked to my house, past the Cabbagetown Festival festivities. Because today is my neighbourhood’s festival, one of my favourite times of the year. Parliament Street is shut down, there are activities, street food, a parade, every second house has a garage sale, there’s a beautiful art and craft fair and a corn roast at the farm … but I digress. We had a drink and talked, and then they went off for dinner and took me with them. We joined the whole crew involved with the film at a Japanese restaurant downtown, where I ended up sitting next to the star of the movie. My hero. I have now officially added him to my list of the best men on earth: Barack Obama, Paul McCartney, Jon Stewart, and David Suzuki. And Nelson Mandela. Oh, what a dinner party I’m imagining. A lot of laughter.
And now I’m home. Moving a bit slowly – because my day started with the Cabbagetown Mini-Marathon at 9.30 a.m. I do it every year – it’s a fundraiser for the Youth Centre, 3 kilometres winding through the local streets, great fun. It has been especially fun since I entered a new category of racer – Senior Woman, aged 55 and up. The first year, I found out much later in the day that I’d won. Unbelievable – I’d stopped to tie my shoelace, and still had won! I won again the next year, still at my same glacial pace.
But after that, those 55 year olds were too speedy. This year, I just kept going in my steady way, looking at the dust of the younger folk way, way up ahead, and puffing along. I was fourth in the category. Again, it was only later in the day that I found out that even fourth wins a prize. So at some point, I will get my prize.
Rushed home after the race, because my friends Penny and Alan were setting up a sale booth outside my house. They used to live down the street but moved, and came back to sell Penny’s beautiful jewelry and Alan’s great photograph cards of Toronto at the festival. So I hung up some clothes I wanted to get rid of, and dear Penny sold most of them for me through the day. I couldn’t sit there myself … because I was rushing off to a funeral.
Cynthia Brouse, a gifted writer and editor who was only 53, died in June of breast cancer. There was a celebration of her life this afternoon. Unbearably sad, the loss of someone so young, so rarely talented, honest, and brave.
And from there, to listen to Suzuki talk about this fantastic species, creative and curious, with the unique powers of memory, self-consciousness and foresight, which is heedlessly destroying its own habitat. How close we are to the abyss.
See the film. It will change you. And this is the end of Beth’s Awesome Day.

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5 Responses to ““A Force of Nature” starring David Suzuki”

  1. Sounds like an amazing day. I think you'd like this new interactive piece from the NFB where you can watch David Suzuki connect all 7 billion of us. Check it out. http://testtube.nfb.ca

  2. coach outlet says:

    this film sounds very intersting,i will see this film if i have free time.

  3. beth says:

    Many thanks, Moira – I look forward to watching. It was a wonderful experience, to spend time with one of my, and the world's, great heroes. If we can have half of David's energy and joie de vivre at 75, we'll be damn lucky!
    best,
    beth

  4. Gigi says:

    Sounds like an amazing day. We all need to work together to drive change in our world. You might like this cool time lapse video shot in an urban community in Toronto http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=13×4lySlXW4. Take a look and see how Kia is driving change.

  5. your article is very great, im a honest reader that often come to view your articles. waiting for your more good thems.thanks.

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About Beth

I began keeping a journal at the age of nine. Nearly fifty years later, I started this online journal, sharing reflections, reviews, updates, and the occasional secret.

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Chris Walks
This blog evolves. It once was about travels. Now it’s a reason to be at the keyboard that I value.

Theresa Kishkan
Theresa Kishkan is a writer living on the Sechelt Peninsula on the west coast of Canada.

I walk on. With my feet, and in my mind as well.

Carrie Snyder
Wherever you’ve come from, wherever you’re going, consider this space a place for reflection and pause.

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