09/23/2012 06:06 EDT | Updated 09/24/2018 09:25 EDT

David Suzuki and former bank economist launch tour linking ecology, economics

TORONTO - Environmentalist David Suzuki and former bank economist Jeff Rubin have kicked off a cross-country speaking tour calling for a fusion of ecology with economics.

The pair, authors of recently published books, appeared Sunday at the Word on the Street book festival in Toronto.

They called for the environment to stop taking a back seat to economic concerns such as jobs and growth.

Suzuki says economists and decision-makers in finance and politics should start thinking about ecological principles — concern for the rules that let species survive — and ensure their decisions incorporate environmental sustainability.

Rubin, former chief economist for CIBC, argues that the first step is to realize endless growth is short-sighted, given the finite supply of easily accessible resources and the environmental toll of consumption and industry.

The tour includes eight more talks in six provinces and ends Nov. 8 in Victoria.