Suzuki’s Advice: Cut Immigration


This bulletin reports on two interviews with David Suzuki. In the first, Suzuki states that “…immigration, which makes up 66% of the population growth (in both Canada and the U.S.)”… “should be decreased”. “A growing population makes every environmental problem worse.” In the second, Suzuki says, “We're way overpopulated…. Even if you only look at industrialised countries, there are way too many of us.”

The big question many Canadians ask is this : Why has Suzuki not made his criticism of immigration a much more public issue?

Suzuki's leadership status both in and out of Canada would provide the weight to make immigration reduction the major issue it deserves to be.

Is it possible that The David Suzuki Foundation (DSF) refuses to criticize immigration because it takes sizeable donations from the Royal Bank and other corporations which want to maintain high immigration levels or increase them? If this is so, is the DSF not undermining its good work on other fronts?

If the DSF is taking money from immigration promoters, then what is the difference between the DSF and the American Sierra Club which adopted a notorious policy of not criticizing immigration in order to continue getting very large donations (over $100 Million) from David Gelbaum, an American philanthropist?

Finally, what agreements have many Canadian and other environmental organizations, who are also accepting donations from immigration promoters, made with these immigration promoters?

The most important issue of all is this : Environmental organizations have proclaimed themselves to be the leaders of environmental protection. However, in North America and other places, they know that high immigration is the main factor in population increase and they know that the larger a population gets, the more damage it does to the environment. But, when asked to criticize high immigration, they timidly run away.



(1) The following is a description of an interview with David Suzuki. It appeared on a blog attributed to Dr. Hans Tammemagi, Adjunct Professor of Environmental Studies at The University of Victoria.

Recently I had the privilege of interviewing Canada s leading environmental expert, the internationally renowned David Suzuki,. When I turned the topic to global overpopulation I expected to hear the same waffle that virtually all politicians and economists spout. My expectation was based on the Suzuki Foundation website and discussions with several Foundation managers: in no way whatsoever does population play a part of their campaigns or strategy. The topic is shunned, as it is by virtually all environmental organizations.

To my surprise Suzuki discussed the issue openly and frankly. A growing population makes almost every environmental problem worse, he said. He was careful to distinguish between the different problems that face developed and developing nations. The footprint of a North American is many times that of someone from China or India he emphasized, so consumption is a big part of the equation. Suzuki feels Canadians and Americans need to decrease their environmental footprint by 80%. Thats a deep and painful cut that cant be achieved without also decreasing population growth.

The populations of Canada and the United States , with less than 2.2 births per woman, will stabilize. But immigration, which makes up two-thirds of population growth, is a problem. Suzuki feels immigration should be decreased because it increases the eco-footprint of the immigrants to North American levels. A better method, he suggests, is to decrease immigration and spend far more on foreign aid, especially for womens education. Hes upset that there is not a single committee on population in federal government and says, its a disgrace that Canada [and the United States ] has no national population policy.

When I asked about the future, Suzuki responded, The world is going down the chute, he said, Im old so it doesnt matter to me. But it pisses me off that our grandchildren will be affected. It gave me a chill that one of the worlds most respected environmentalists has such a negative outlook.

For long-term survival its vital that we move to living in a state of equilibrium. And that includes consumption and population.


(2) The following are two excerpts from an interview between journalist Jo Marchant and David Suzuki on October 15, 2008. This interview was published in “The New Scientist” (New Scientist; 10/18/2008, Vol. 199 Issue 2678, p44-45, 2p)

Beyond Growth: Interview With David Suzuki

Jo Marchant: Has any human society ever lived sustainably?

Suzuki: When we were hunter-gatherers we had a very small ecological footprint because all we had was what we could carry from one place to another. But as technology increased, we began to live in large aggregates of villages, and people started to use more than the surroundings could supply. As a result, civilisations collapsed again and again, as Jared Diamond described in “Collapse”. In the past, though, when conditions got more difficult, people were able to move. That's why we spread out from Africa. Well, we filled the world up. Now we're the most numerous mammal on the planet and causing an unprecedented extinction crisis. Our future is very much at stake.

Jo Marchant: What about population growth?

Suzuki: We're way overpopulated. But it's not just a function of numbers, it also has to do with per capita consumption. The industrialised world has only 20 per cent of Earth's population but uses more than 80 per cent of the resources and produces more than 80 per cent of the toxic waste. I asked a top ecologist at Harvard University how many humans Earth could sustainably support, and he said 200 million if you want to live like North Americans. Even if you only look at industrialised countries, there are way too many of us. When I say this, people get angry. They say the stores are filled with food, we're living longer than ever, we're better off. Well, the reason we have the illusion that everything is OK is because we're using up what our children and grandchildren should expect to inherit.