History & Constitution
The Council of Elders of the David Suzuki Foundation was established in 1996 by David Suzuki. In forming this group of volunteers, David had in mind the model of the role of elders in aboriginal communities. In its early years, the Council met regularly, received presentations, discussed a host of environmental issues and imagined itself as a potential sounding board for the programs and policies of the Foundation. For a number of reasons, this consultative role did not materialize to any great extent and, in 2009, it was suggested to the Council that it become more active in reaching out to the elder demographic for the purpose of raising the profile of environmental issues amongst this increasingly influential segment of society.
Elders Forum 2009 – “Elders and the Environment” – was held as a one-day conference at the Vancouver Public Library in November 2009. It was attended by 170 delegates and its purpose was “to address the urgency of environmental issues and to inspire all elders to involve others, so that meaningful action will occur on the issues.” As a direct result of the Forum, the membership of the Council was increased. At a subsequent workshop, a strategic plan was developed and the scope of the Council’s operations was expanded. We became the Association of Suzuki Elders whose planning and programs are formulated by the new Council of Suzuki Elders.
Conrad Guelke, Council of Suzuki Elders, 25 July 2011
On March 24, 2012, Dr. Phillip Hewett, our longest-standing Suzuki Elder, retired from Council. He was asked if he would deliver a talk at our at our Annual General Meeting concerning the history of the early days of the Council of Suzuki Elders. The photo shows Phillip receiving a token of appreciation for his years of service on Council from our Council Chair at the time, Conrad Guelke. Phillip’s informative presentation can be viewed by clicking this link: A Short History of the Suzuki Elders
First ratified by the membership at our 2012 AGM, our Association of Suzuki Elders Constitution is available by clicking this link: Suzuki Elders Constitution
To view the 2016 AGM Member’s Packet that includes the agenda and committee reports, click this link: AGM Packet.
Neale Adams (Vice-Chair)
Diana Ellis (Chair)
Stan Hirst (Secretary)
Jim Park (Treasurer)
Conrad Guelke (Past-Chair, ex-officio) David Suzuki & Tara Cullis (ex-officio)
Jennifer Rodriguez (DSF internal advocate)
One of the original members of the Suzuki Elders, Dr. Louis Nuernberger, wrote the following poem in 1988.
If there is a holocaust and,
Speaking earthwise, all is lost—
Three-odd billion quick cremations—
Grant me, please, a time apart
To rendezvous within my heart,
A moment to be spent in prayer,
One last time to be aware
Of all the beauty I have seen,
A tear for all that might have been.
And if there is no conflagration,
No final rite for all creation,
Will you join with me in prayer?
Take time, each day, to be aware
Of earthly grandeur still remaining
As pristine nature fast is waning,
Preserve for 21st Century eyes
Blue water, green trees, azure skies,
And ask, as planet earth keeps spinning,
What are we losing, obsessed with winning? –
Can we be worthy of our beginnings?