Posted by Craig Clarke on Feb 26, 2018
This was the first of six Presidential Peacebuilding Conferences in 2018 which link Rotary International’s five other areas of focus including, Disease Prevention and Treatment, Water and Sanitation, Maternal and Child Health, Basic Education and Literacy, and Economic and Community Development, with Peace.
Derek & Craig attended the conference along with Frank Shoemaker from the downtown club, DG Tom Carroll, DG elect Craig Gillis, DG nominee Maureen Fritz-Roberts and 800 Rotarians from around the world. 
A highlight on Friday afternoon was a tour of the 31-storey building, “The Exchange”.  It is a $240M redevelopment of the old Vancouver Stock Exchange building to a LEED Platinum standard.  We were fortunate to have two members of the Vancouver Rotary club, architect Graham Coleman & manager Franz Gehriger of SwissReal Group to answer our questions. The Exchange will have half the energy load of a traditional office building, with a 35 percent reduction in energy costs and an 85 percent reduction in carbon dioxide emissions.  Executive Hotels will operate a luxury boutique hotel in the heritage portion of the building.
   Inside the office floors of The Exchange.  image by Derek Rickwood
The conference committee included members of both the Rotarian Action Group for Peace (RAGFP) and the Environmental Sustainability Rotarian Action Group (ESRAG).
David Suzuki gave the opening keynote presentation, reminding us that humans are the dominant and most numerous large mammal, so our activities have a large impact on earth.
Other presenters and speakers included, PDG Jiro Kawatsuma, a 90-year-old survivor of Hiroshima, who spoke about how the “Hiroshima trees” now give people seeds of hope. Mayors for Peace echoed Mr. Kawatsuma and presented on the dangers of nuclear weapons. 

The many breakout sessions also featured discussions on Rotary Peace Scholars, “transforming land mines to vines,” air pollution, and “feeding people without harming the planet.”  The impressive slate of scientists, civic and business leaders, positive peace advocates and Rotarian peacebuilders, offered both alarm and hope about environmental sustainability and peace.
The final morning of the conference was allocated for planting trees and engaging in other outdoor service projects.
     President Riseley participated in a planting ceremony in Van Dusen Gardens
    Two coast redwood trees cloned from the Fieldbrook Stump presented to President Riseley. These were planted in Queen Elizabeth Park and Stanley Park to commemorate the conference. The trees were produced by the US charity Archangel Ancient Tree Archive; a representative said they would work with us to plant more on Vancouver Island.
   Removing English Ivy in Stanley Park.  Image by Derek Rickwood.