David Suzuki and Tara Cullis

DSF co-founders David Suzuki and Tara Cullis.

Because I’ve hosted TV and radio science programs for decades, I get a lot of public and media attention. And I’ve done my best to leverage that to highlight critical issues I care about. But today I’m turning the spotlight on the real hero behind the organization that bears my name: Tara Cullis, my beloved wife.

This Foundation was Tara’s brainchild.

It would never have launched or achieved so many protections for what we all need to survive without her guts, determination and amazing smarts.

I’m the face of this organization. But Tara is the brains and its muscle.

I can still hear Tara’s voice in my head: “David, you can’t keep harping on problems. It’s time to talk solutions.” This was after I hosted a five-part CBC radio series It’s a Matter of Survival in 1989 about global environmental problems, including climate change. Listeners flooded the network with thousands of letters asking what to do. (This was before email!)

Inspired, Tara rounded up friends, activists and thinkers to brainstorm for a new environmental organization, unlike any other. Her mantra: “Let’s battle problems at the source.” And she answered every single one of those letters, inviting people to take part in the vision. To our amazement, people sent money to support us!

In the early days, when we had a tiny office above an auto body shop, Tara was at the helm, leading a handful of passionate volunteers. Everything fell on her shoulders, and she met every challenge. She jumped in with both feet, learned by doing and worked around the clock, sometimes staying in the office until early morning.

Tara continues to shepherd the Foundation (and me!) as president of its Board and galvanize the hundreds of staff and volunteers.

Foundation staff laud me as their longest-term volunteer. But Tara truly deserves all honours. She’s my touchstone. I would not be who I am without her. She is tireless. And fearless. I am filled with awe and admiration for her idealism and energy to get things done. And she chose me to be her life partner!! I couldn’t be more grateful for her in my life.

Tara is turning 70 today. Please join me in wishing her well on her milestone birthday.