Has environmentalism failed?

David Suzuki in conversation with Graeme Wynn

The writer Amitav Ghosh diagnosed it as a “great derangement”—the failure of imagination evident in humanity’s collective reluctance to address the looming and very real problem of global climate change. As protests rage both for and against pipelines in Canada, and debates about carbon taxes continue to roil, the bigger challenge endures, and along with it questions of what environmentalism has (and hasn’t) accomplished in shifting thought and provoking action.

To explore some of these issues, the Canadian Centre for Architecture (CCA), based in Montreal, brought together two pre-eminent thinkers in the discipline two years ago as part of a research project into the modern environment of Canada, which presented the country’s recent history as a sequence of environmental disasters. A subsequent exhibition and book were titled It’s All Happening So Fast: A Counter-History of the Modern Canadian...