hat we do to nature we do to ourselves.Canadians increasingly realize that our per-sonal well-being is inextricably linked to a healthy environment. We need clean water, fresh air and wholesome foods to nourish our bodies. And withmore and more of us living in artificially built urbanareas, we need nature – forests, mountains, rivers,lakes and beaches – to provide us with a relaxing,spiritual respite from our hectic lives.Nature sustains all life on earth and our economy.Reflecting on Canadian history we know that oureconomy was built on the use and trade of trees, furs,oil, fish, minerals, etc. This relationship is vividly captured in Canadian art and literature; in our very culture. But living in cities and relying on markets toprovide for our needs and desires often separates usfrom nature. We quickly forget that healthy ecosystemsare the very foundation of our mightiest cities. Air, water, soil and energy are the essentialcomponents of life on earth. These elements arebound through natural processes to continually recreate the “web of life”. In the past, we believed thathuman ingenuity could irrevocably damage nature.Problems like global warming, species loss, theaccumulation of toxins in the environment, among others, illustrate why we need to protect nature.Individuals and households play an importantrole in building a sustainable future. Our lifestylechoices – where we live, how we heat our homes, whatand how much we buy, how we travel – significantly impact nature. Each day we face a barrage of storiesabout environmental risks and disasters, vanishing wilderness and endangered species. We need straight-forward science-based information to help us makethe right environmental choices.The David Suzuki Foundation has worked withscientists and other experts to develop a list of priority actions for concerned Canadians. We hope this guide will illustrate how simple changes in our everyday livescan make a real difference in protecting nature.This list of priority actions was the result of researchinto the environmental impact of the averageCanadian household. The heart of this research is aninnovative and comprehensive model of the environ-mental impact of consumer decisions prepared by theUnion of Concerned Scientists (UCS). The UCS study identified categories of expenditures by Americanhouseholds that caused the greatest environmentaldamage. Based on the results of their study, the co-authors, Dr. Michael Brower and Dr. Warren Leon,developed a set of guidelines to help Americans makebetter environmental decisions.The David Suzuki Foundation’s document
The Science of the Challenge
explains how we adapted theUCS research for Canadian households and how the top10 list was determined for David Suzuki’s NatureChallenge. The
Green Guide to the Challenge
wasdesigned for those interested in taking David Suzuki’sNature Challenge. The choices we make today willhelp create a better future for our children tomorrow.