The Write Stuff

By Stan Hirst, Suzuki Elder.

What did we Elders learn from building and running those early websites over the course of a decade? We discovered that world-wide web users were indeed drawn to our sites – hundreds of thousands of viewers from 180 countries. The most popular items with viewers were the blog posts, the “Who are the Suzuki Elders?” items, and the “Elders in Action” photo sections.

Dear Elder. What you see before you is the third incarnation of the Suzuki Elders’ website. The first and second editions accomplished their missions and now slumber in retirement on computer disks and old-fashioned hard drives hidden in dusty cupboards.

What drew all those viewers to our website? The keywords they used for searching out information tell us something of viewer interests and values. High on the list was “Suzuki” itself. Just that name is for many web users a significant pointer and quick link to information on high-profile environmental issues, and not just for Canadian users.

Other search terms used frequently included “resilience”, “sustainable”, “political” and “indigenous”. Over the past decade our site was visited by thousands of Asian and European web users as well. For some of these viewers the search term “nuclear” was their directing link to our posts on the environmental advantages and drawbacks of nuclear power.

We all, especially Elders, love to talk and argue (sorry, I meant “discuss”). We do a lot of that in and around our home base in Vancouver B.C., but Covid-19 derailed our communication systems, especially those dependent on forums, salons and gatherings. Zoom and online social media have filled the void to some extent, but the realities of communication within and from a group of like-minded Elders to the world at large require that we make effective use of the written (i.e. printed) word.

The printed word has always been one of the best ways to connect with people and share facts and ideas, concepts and understanding of current environmental issues. Whether on paper, parchment or computer screens the art of writing remains key to information and knowledge sharing. As we move forward into an epoch which will be defined by intensifying climate change and all the unavoidable associated environmental changes, it becomes vital for us Elders to participate constructively in the great upheaval. This computer screen before your eyes is our gateway to doing just that.

What can or should we write about? We have experience, we have knowledge, we have deep-rooted concerns. We know what has worked for the well-being of the planet and what has spelled disaster. We have a great bag of learning and experience from which we can draw knowledge and wisdom to share with our fellow Earth voyagers through our web posts.

So Elders…. please put your thinking caps on, get out the word processor or whatever passes for one, and start communicating.

Send your posts to the Communications Committee at email address Happy scribbling!


  1. Words do matter and are being progressively abused in social media.. They are highlighted in a wonderful book “Lost Words” by Robert MacFarlane and Jackie Morris that catalogues words for certain plants and animals that have begun to disappear from children’s dictionaries though misuse. They are captured by wonderful poetry and artwork and are best read aloud and shared with any children, especially sitting beside your grandchildren. You will have a pleasure in store.

  2. I am pleased to see this website up and running. In my humble opinion, the list of topics of interest should include what is being done/witnessed concerning climate change mitigation and adaptation, indigenous issues nationally and internationally and issues that pertain to intergenerational wellbeing.

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