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采访Severn铃木

A while ago, I wrote about Severn Suzuki (video here), a woman who at the age of 12 held a speech at the UN Earth Summit in 1992 that got a standing ovation from the members。 As the years passed, she became an active environmentalist, wrote a few books, and even had her own TV show on Discovery。 I recently stumbled accross this 2 year old interview which is extremely interesting, published at GuernicaMag:

Guernica: Since first coming to world attention at Rio, you’ve started many projects focusing on environmental causes and awareness。 Then you went to school to get your Masters。 Are you still working on that?

Severn Suzuki: No, I finished。 I was studying ethno-ecology。 I conducted a scientific review and experiments to investigate what I was learning from others from the Kwakwaka’wakw Nation。 I found the two that are often, kind of, juxtaposed in the modern world, actually very complimentary。 I think that in order to find a sustainable path in the twenty-first century, we really have to use some combination of, of course, new technologies and looking at all the tools that we have invented for ourselves and new ways of thinking, but also, we have to reach back and look at all of the strategies for survival that we have used in the past and all of our understanding of sustainability and management of resources in the past, to be able to move forward。

Guernica: Could you give examples of how this could be implemented in a, if you will let me use this word, practical way?
Severn Suzuki: If we look in the world, around the world, where biodiversity hotspots are, they often overlap with areas that are still under traditional domain, areas where you have humans living, but in traditional ways。 That overlap is really significant because you see that there actually is coexistence and there actually is an important role for humans to play in preserving biodiversity, in maintaining biodiversity。 If that is true, we have to understand and value that information, that knowledge, that traditional perspective when we are moving forward and trying to figure out, desperately, how to preserve biodiversity and slow the extinction rates that are happening today。

Guernica: Mark Dowie wrote a piece for Guernica where he argued that in India, where they were kicking indigenous people out of national parks in the name of the environment, that it was actually doing a lot more harm than good。
Severn Suzuki: Right, well this is the dichotomy of a lot of conservation in the twentieth century。 In the nineteenth and twentieth century, we, in the modern world, see ourselves as humans and the environment as separate, or wilderness as separate, and we set aside parks。 But the image we have of wilderness and environment doesn’t include human habitation。 So this is always, or often, a conflict between indigenous peoples living in their traditional lands, or on the land, as they always have and then, all of a sudden, a park being designated, which is a good thing。 But also contradicting them actually being there, and so they are kicked off the land。 It really speaks to this dichotomy that you have either a pristine unpeopled environment or you trash it and you have a totally, you know, citified, urban space that is dominated by humans with no concern for the harmony of the natural ecosystems that still do play a role in the urban environment。 We just don’t think of things that way。 And so, yeah, that’s a classic conundrum and there are a lot of contradictions and conflicts, historically, between conservationists and indigenous peoples and we really have to figure out, still, how do we coexist in the environment because we are part of that biodiversity, we are part of nature and that is something that we deny all the time。

Guernica: You’ve talked about the twenty-something generation that you are in, almost out of now, and this feeling that you have inherited problems that are too great to do anything about。 Given that, when you say things like, “We have to figure out a way to bring these two things together,” can you give an example of how you could envision that happening in, I don’t know, say New York City or Vancouver, any big city?
Severn Suzuki: There have been human societies that have coexisted, sustainably, with nature。 For years, I just thought, well, it’s kind of in human nature to pool your resources, or kind of like any other bacteria that would just eat up all the food that it could as fast as it can。 But then when I started learning from people on the West Coast and realizing that, now, in many very rural areas, there actually used to be way higher human populations and the landscape here actually could sustain very high, densely populated, human populations, without destroying the natural resources so that one hundred, two hundred, three hundred years later, when I am walking around, I am still able to dig clams, gather seaweed, and harvest all the foods that they were harvesting then, when there was far more human beings living in that area。 So we need to start understanding that there actually are examples。 That’s the first step。 Then we really have to pay attention to our cities and stop thinking of them as just these concrete jungles where humans live and, “Oh thank goodness there’s a park several hours away because we can always go there if we need our wilderness fix。” There are still ecosystems; we are still part of nature。 We have to figure out how to live more sustainably。 I am not an expert on green design or urban planning, but it’s those experts that we need to recruit。 It’s those experts, that expertise, that we need to develop in ourselves to try to figure out what is the best model。 In Havana, Cuba, there are so many urban gardens。 They are feeding a huge majority。 A majority of their produce actually comes from the very city。 That is amazing, that kind of innovation。 There is nothing to stop us but our imagination and I think it’s very exciting when it’s already happening in terms of the sustainable community movements。

Guernica: I know you were only twelve, but it was a moving moment in your famous speech when you said, “If you don’t know how to fix it, please, stop breaking it。” Now, approaching thirty, this many years later, you are the adult。 How would you assess the progress of your generation, up until now?
I am optimistic, but I am also realistic。 We have to own up to the reality that after the Earth Summit, which was supposed to be this turn-around conference, almost all our environmental problems have gotten worse。
Severn Suzuki: A few years ago, I did a project publishing a book with twenty-five young Canadians who were actively changing their communities through the broader political scene in Canada。 And it was as much for my sake as for anybody else’s。 Our generation has been told a lot, like any young generation, we are “generation boomerang,” so we are coming back to live with our parents。 [We are] going backwards a bit。 We are very apathetic, very self-centered, not really very engaged。 We wanted to counter this because I think, yeah, sure you can focus on those aspects, and every generation does have them。 I do think that there is a certain set of interesting conditions that do engender those kinds of characteristics, but also you have tons of individuals who are doing incredible things now because of the tools that we have, with the internet, with communication and simply [having such] access to information。 I mean, we take this so for granted and it is unbelievable。

Guernica: The Rio speech, do you think that it would be as spot-on right now or need some tweaking? Are you points still as valid now as then?
Severn Suzuki: Well, what do you think? I mean, to me, that’s the craziest thing about watching it。 Besides the few things that I say that date it, like there are five billion people on the planet, everything is the same。

本文源自: 环亚娱乐游戏