Upcoming Events & Recent Activities
Suzuki Elder council meetings are held at the David Suzuki Foundation every third Thursday of the month.
Education and Community Engagement meetings are typically held monthly on the third Tuesday.
Our annual AGM is held in March/April, and a retreat is held during the summer months.
Public workshops, lectures, and forums are also organized.
Watch the front page for announcements of Suzuki Elder Salons and Workshops.
David Cook’s Reconnecting with Nature Programme for 2017:
This programme has been designed for members of the general public who are interested in improving their understanding and connection with the natural environment. I have been conducting this programme since 2001. All the events listed are either given by me (DLC) or organized by me. This list should be considered as preliminary and there may be changes or additions as the year progresses. Further details such as meeting places and times can be obtained by contacting David Cook at firstname.lastname@example.org or 604-924-0147. Those additional details will also be included in monthly emails to anyone on my email list. Suzuki Elders members and the general public are welcome.
On Nov. 30, 2017, Suzuki Elders organized a salon on “Energy in Action”. The goal was to show that emerging energy technologies are clean and economically viable. They represent an opportunity to transition away from fossil fuels and to move from large utility controlled generation to community scale financing and management. Most attendees felt the goal was met and they were more optimistic about the future of alternate energy. The salon benefited from a lively discussion after the talks.
On Remembrance Day, Nov. 11, 2017, the Suzuki Elders and the David Suzuki Foundation were represented by the wreath laid by Neale at the Seaforth Peace Park in Vancouver. The banner on the wreath reads, “For environmental damage caused by war“.
On Thursday, Oct. 28, 2017, Suzuki Elders hosted a salon:ReThinking PLASTIC: What’s in your Sushi? Recent studies estimate that fish off the west coast ingest over 12, 000 tons of plastic a year! ReThinking PLASTIC offered information to help educate ourselves and others regarding the careless use of plastic. An enthusiastic inter-generational group came out to learn about and discuss local use of single use plastic. The contents of this salon now appear as a post and more will be published over the coming months. The organizers thank all of the presenters (from Suzuki Elders and from the broader community) and to all of the participants—a lively, fun afternoon while learning about a very serious topic.
On Oct. 28, 2017, Suzuki Elders joined hundreds in protest against construction at the Kinder Morgan’s Westridge Marine Terminal in anticipation of the trans-mountain oil sands pipeline expansion and 7 fold increase in tanker traffic that risk damage to the environment.The decision from the Federal Court of Appeal is due Feb/Mar of next year. The picture was taken by Suzuki Elders Rob and Lillian.
On Sept. 28, 2017, 29 people attended Green Chemistry – A Way Forward, a salon hosted by the Suzuki Elders and presented by GreenChemUBC. The goal was to learn more about the positive role chemistry can play in helping to create a healthy, sustainable world. Most attendants ranked this salon 5/5 and felt hopeful about strides being made to reduce waste and re-purpose materials.
Suzuki Elders attended a tour of the UBC Centre for Interactive Research on Sustainability on Aug. 21. The group was impressed with the broad use of recycled materials, green roof, and citrus trees (left) that provide shade in summer and light in winter. By 2050, the goal is to reduce campus GHGs by 100%.
This fall, Suzuki Elder Pauline Le Bel released her book Whale in the Door. “Pauline Le Bel, a resident of Howe Sound, embarks on a journey of discovery to find out what is special about the Sound, its wild nature and its people, to witness the cultural and spiritual revivals taking place.”
In lieu of a retreat this summer, the Suzuki Elders held a picnic at Jericho Beach on Aug. 10, 2017.
Paul, Cynthia, and Pauline attended the screening of “Rumble: The Indians who Rocked the World” at The Drum is Calling Festival, July 29, 2017.
At the council meeting on June 15, 2017, Suzuki Elders congratulated retiring DSF CEO Peter Robinson for his many successes at DSF and specifically for his encouragement and support over the years to the Suzuki Elders.
On May 29, 2017, Suzuki Elder Cynthia Lam attended the March for Protection of the Salish Sea. Many in BC anxiously await the decision on the unpopular Trans Mountain bitumen pipeline that risks life around the coast.
On April 22, many Suzuki Elders celebrated Earth Day in Vancouver by attending the parade and festival starting at Commercial Drive and Broadway at 1 pm. Nineteen Canadian cities joined 600 worldwide for a March for Science to advocate for scientific evidence in decision making. “Democracy starved of truth is democracy denied.”
The Suzuki Elders held their sixth Annual General Meeting on April 20, 2017 at the David Suzuki Foundation offices in Vancouver. Highlights of the meeting included a talk by Jay Ritchlin, DSF Director General for Western Canada, whose extensive knowledge of our salmon fisheries let us appreciate the complexities around concerns with fish farms. Diana Ellis, stepped down as Chair of the Suzuki Elder Council and was presented with a very special gift by David Suzuki, a print he created from a fish. Conrad Guelke (upper left), retiring from council after serving as Past Chair, received warm words of congratulation and appreciation from David Suzuki and a letter of appreciation from CEO Peter Robinson for his 19 years as a volunteer with the Suzuki Elders.
On January 21st, 2017, 15,000 joined the Vancouver march in support of the Women’s March on Washington. More than 2 million men and women joined over 600 marches worldwide.
On December 15th, members of the Suzuki Elders council and working
groups held a “fabulous” potluck lunch at Neale and Roz’s home in Vancouver.
On November 19th, Suzuki Elders joined thousands who gathered outside Vancouver City Hall to protest the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain oil pipeline expansion. Vigils and rallies will continue after news of Federal approval.
Also on November 19th, Suzuki elders attended the documentary screening and panel discussion of the film “Elder in the Making” hosted by the DSF Sustainability Network at the Musqueam Cultural Centre. Film makers Chris Hsiung and Cowboy Smithx were on hand. “An elder isn’t defined by age, but by an openness to learning, to history.”
On October 2nd, Suzuki Elders Cynthia and Karl presented talks to the Fraser Cultural Forum for the Mandarin-speaking Chinese community. YouTube videos are available for Cynthia’s presentation that includes videos on the damage to our planet caused by microplastics and for Karl’s presentation that includes a comparison of a “happiness index” with carbon footprint for different nations, translated for the audience by Cynthia.
This August, lower mainland British Columbians, including Suzuki Elders, had a chance to attend and address the federal panel on the Kinder Morgan bitumen pipeline expansion before the panel presents its final report to the federal government in November. So far, almost 90 per cent of those attending and speaking to the panel opposed the project. Rob and Cynthia hold what is worth fighting for.
The annual Suzuki Elder Retreat was held on August 4th at the peaceful Rivdendell Retreat Centre on Bowen Island. Our work for the day was informed by Jim Hoggan’s book, “I’m Right and You’re an Idiot: The Toxic State of Public Discourse and How to Clean it Up”. The morning was spent in a role playing exercise using several scenarios where one person of a triad presented their position in a biased manner, a second person responded using techniques/stances from the book, and the third person was a neutral observer who reported on what he/she had observed during the dialogue. In the afternoon, a World Café exercise divided us into 4 groups that discussed desirable and doable ways of contributing to public discourse so that it becomes less toxic.
On Saturday, May 14th, a sold-out salon at the Vancouver YWCA was hosted by the Suzuki Elders on Building Resilience to Climate Disruption. The goal was to work on building our strength and capacity to face the enormous challenges of the world today. The salon, inspired by the work of eco-philosopher, Joanna Macy, used practices that strengthen our ability to respond, deepen our aliveness, and engage our passion and power to act for life on Earth.
On April 21st, more than 25 Suzuki Elders met at the David Suzuki Foundation to attend our Annual General Meeting. Finance, communication, education, advocacy and membership reports were presented, and a slate of candidates for Council was adopted. Nadege Vince, who manages on-line communications for DSF, gave us an overview of various social media platforms and ways to improve visibility and grow a community.
Also on April 18th, Suzuki Elders Jim Park and Diana Ellis attended the Vancouver Youth Sustainability Conference and facilitated two workshops on Love, Nature and Climate Change. Diana reports, “Bright students, open and thoughtful about nature and its impact. We always learn so much from them.”
On April 18th, Stan Hearst led the Suzuki Elders in two teaching sessions at the North Shore’s ElderCollege on Food Security in the 21st Century: Are we Prepared? Questions addressed were: Why should we be concerned about food security? What is the evidence that our food supply system is at risk? What can be done about this and who should be doing what? What are the linkages between food security and refugees, climate change, land and seed usurpation and other factors? How can the average citizen influence decisions made on food security?
On February 24th, the Suzuki Elders took a step towards a better understanding of food security in B.C. and especially the lower mainland by hosting a salon on Food Security in the 21st Century: Are We Prepared? To learn more, read Stan Hirst’s insightful post that reports on this salon.
On February 14, hardy Suzuki Elders like Cynthia Lam joined with the DSF to march in the rain to celebrate the Chinese New Year in downtown Vancouver. Cynthia tells us that the David Suzuki Foundation parade team was not big but was enthusiastic and diverse, and included the Suzuki elders, the Raging grannies, and the Blue Dots from the cities of Vancouver, Richmond, Burnaby, Delta and Surrey.
On January 20 at the VanDusen Botanical Garden, the Suzuki Elders hosted a workshop to discuss COP21: What was and wasn’t achieved, and what are the implications for our future? Participants were Steve Kux, who attended for the David Suzuki Foundation, Diana Ellis, who worked with a group of Grandparents for Climate Change, and Kate Hodgson, who attended as a youth delegate.
On Nov. 29, 2015, Suzuki Elders participated in local and distant climate change rallies held around the world in preparation for the start of COP21 in Paris on November 30. According to 350.org, over 785,000 people in 175 countries marched on Nov 29th in climate action events, making it one of the largest climate mobilizations ever in history. Above, many hundreds met in front of the Art Gallery in Vancouver and the Legislature in Victoria. Colourful flames held in Victoria were meant to ignite change and light our path to a fossil fuel-free future. Rob and Lillian sang at the rally in front of the Legislature in Edmonton.
On Nov. 28th, National Geographic France published an article entitled “Grandparents, New Players in the Fight Against Climate Change” in association with coverage on COP21. It contains prominent mention and a group photograph of the Suzuki Elders.
On Nov. 10, 2015, the David Suzuki Foundation held a Sustainable Diversity Workshop at Sun Yat Sen Garden attended by Suzuki Elder Cynthia Lam and our youth colleagues, Aaron and Tessica from our intergenerational story project. Topics ranged from food choice and waste to use of media and integration rather than assimilation of newcomers to Canada.
As Federal Election Day on October 19 approached, many Suzuki Elders signed the “pledge to vote” and others, like Cynthia Lam on the right, were busy collecting signed pledges around her neighbourhood. Cynthia was working in support of Kids for Climate Action who hoped to elect candidates with the best chance of implementing effective, science-based climate policies.
On October 1, Suzuki Elders attended an event recognizing National Seniors Day at the downtown branch of the Vancouver Public Library. The event was developed and presented in collaboration with the City of Vancouver Seniors Advisory Committee. Many visited the library to discover a variety of resources for seniors and attend events (including our display) throughout the day.
The Metro Vancouver Youth Sustainability Network met with Suzuki Elders on September 27th. Twenty keen participants attended this planning summit with Suzuki Elders Diana Ellis, Jim Park, and Cynthia Lam who acted as facilitators. The key youth organizer was Jay Matsushiba. This sharing session, called “What Moves Me” had the group talking about their hopes and fears for sustainability and our environment; what moves us forward, and what holds us back.
On July 25, 2015, Catching the Spirit Youth Society and the Suzuki Elders held the Ubuntu Day discussion on the theme, “What Moves Me?”. Ubuntu is the belief in a universal bond of sharing that connects all humanity. “I am because of who we all are.” Sixty youth participants, mostly 14-17 years old, attended. Diana Ellis and Sadie DeCoste acted as facilitators. Participants and youth leaders Santiago Alaya Perez (left), Sadie DeCoste (middle) and Cathy Ye (right) are shown above. You can read more about this event here.
On June 2, 2015, the Education and Community Engagement Working Group hosted a salon on Genetically Modified Foods held at the Creekside Community Centre in Vancouver. Dr. David Ng from UBC talked about “Scientific literacy and its role in the GMO discussion” and Dr. David Steele, UBC and President of Earthsave Canada, discussed “How big business poisons GMOs”. Thanks go to Roz Kellett for organizing and Neale Adams for facilitating.
On June 6, 2015, Diana Ellis, Erlene Woollard and Jim Park attended ecoFEST at New Westminster Quay with the Suzuki Elder display and revised handouts. EcoFEST, a youth initiative now in it’s third year, aims to engage youth in environmental volunteer opportunities that will create a truly sustainable Future. The Eco Fest event organizer was young Annaliese Meyer – a participant at our Elder retreat with youth last summer.
On April 27, 2015, three Suzuki Elders attended the Vancouver School Board Sustainability Conference designed and run by Vancouver high school students interested and involved in environmental work at their schools. Kudos to Rosemary Chen who has taken the Suzuki Elder Story Project, turned it into an Intergenerational Story Project, and led two workshops on that topic during the day. As reported by Diana Ellis, “Great dialogue between the total of 34 participants who attended the workshops – talking about our hopes/fears re the environment, and telling our personal stories of involvement. Youth Rock!”
On April 16, 2015, the Suzuki Elders held their annual general meeting featuring Jim Hoggan, Board Chair of the David Suzuki Foundation and author of Climate Cover-up, as Guest Speaker. His topic and subject of his upcoming book, Speak the truth, but not to punish: Lessons in Public Discourse, enlightened us on the importance of a better narrative to counter indifference. Working groups presented their reports, and a slate of candidates for Council was nominated and appointed. After many years of service to DSF and our organization, Archana Datta stepped down from Council.
On Feb 18, 2015, the Suzuki Elders held a free event in the Cedar Room at the beautiful VanDusen Botanical Gardens. Peter Robinson, CEO of DSF, gave an informative talk on The Future of Environmentalism, to a group of 60 registrants, and Suzuki Elder Bob Worcester acted as moderator.
On November 9, 2014, Suzuki Elders gathered with hundreds of others to celebrate David Suzuki’s final stop on his cross-Canada Blue Dot Tour. Over 60,000 people have now signed on help enshrine the rights of Canadians to a healthy environment. This tour, featuring world-class entertainers at each stop, is just the start of this initiative!
On October 14, 2014, Richmond city council unanimously adopted a declaration in support of the Right to a Healthy Environment, ensuring that access to fresh air, clean water and healthy food guides the community’s direction. Suzuki Elder Cynthia Lam was in the thick of things.
On July 23, 2014, a successful day-long Suzuki Elder Retreat was held at Rivendell, Bowen Island. The goals were to facilitate intergenerational dialogue and identify meaningful ways Suzuki Elders and youth might work together on the environmental challenges we face. Seven high-school aged youth attending the retreat told us how and why they developed their interests in the environment and how they saw our future developing. Mixed discussion groups questioned how Suzuki Elders and youth might work together. Ideas included developing a council of Suzuki Youth, facilitating an intergenerational mentoring program, hosting forums or discussions around shared values, and simply supporting each other’s initiatives.
More information on the activities of our Working Groups can be found here.