Trees that spread peace

By Hiroko Seki, Rotary Club of Tokyo Yoneyama Yuai

The Ginkgo tree sapling at the Carter Center.

On 12 June, during the Rotary International Convention in Atlanta, we planted a Ginkgo nursery tree at The Carter Center, founded by former U.S. President Jimmy Carter, a recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize. The tree is a descendant of one that survived the atomic bomb in Hiroshima.

When I saw this young tree for the first time, I was blown away by its vigor and beauty. The sapling was cultivated from its mother tree by Green Legacy Hiroshima Initiative led by UNITAR Hiroshima, and cared for by Steaven Leeper and Elizabeth Baldwin for nearly six years before they brought it to Atlanta for the ceremony.

The day of the planting included heavy rain, so the ceremony was held inside. Then Rotary President John F. Germ, Past President Sakuji Tanaka, and the CEO of the Carter Center attended. A certificate was presented to Past District Governor Jiro Kawatsuma from Hiroshima. Visitors can now see the tree in a beautiful garden at the Center.

A few days prior to the ceremony, during the Presidential Peace Conference, our group presented a breakout session called “A Hopeful Future with Green Legacy in the Nuclear Age.” Guest speakers included Tanaka and Ira Helfand, co-president of the International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War, a Nobel Peace Prize Laureate. During the session, Kawatsuma also shared his personal account of the atomic bomb in Hiroshima. His story deeply touched the audience.

A sapling planted at the Storrier Stearns Japanese Garden in Pasadena.

As a team leader from Japan, I presented about the partnership between the Rotary Club of Tokyo Yoneyama Yuai and UNITAR Hiroshima and its Green Legacy Hiroshima Initiative. It was moving for me to see the way the audience eagerly received the information, taking photos of the slides and recording speeches.

More and more Rotarians are joining our initiative. In 2016, a sapling taken from a tree that survived the atomic bomb in Hiroshima was planted at Storrier Stearns Japanese Garden, Pasadena, California, USA. Our goal is not only to plant trees but also seeds of peace in people’s minds around the world. It is most important to tell our stories through these trees, so that people understand the importance of peace and nurture the trees as a symbol of life and hope.

I encourage you to visit one of these trees if you are in their area and reflect upon their message of peace.

Read this post in Japanese. Learn more about how Rotary promotes peace.

6 thoughts on “Trees that spread peace

  1. Pingback: President’s Post – 20 Aug 17 – Rotary E-Club of D9700 – SERVING HUMANITY

  2. Wonderful – in 2012/13 my club the Rotary Club of Windsor-Roseland planted a Tulip Tree on our beautiful Detroit River front. The Tulip tree was used by our First Nations to make canoes – this was to commemorate our International Peace Walk .
    Are the Ginko saplings available to purchase?
    Peace be with you,
    YIR. PP Joyce Jones – Windsor, Ontario, 🇨🇦

    Like

  3. LIVED AND WORKED IN JAPAN ONE YEAR FOR CARGILL. PRIOR TO THAT EXPERIENCE WE LIVED IN SIOUX CITY, IOWA. OUR HOME ON TWO LOTS, WITH TREES PLANTED BY THE ORGINIAL OWNER. WE HAD TWO GINKGO TREES. WE MOVED TO GRAND ISLAND AND FOUND GINKGO TREES GROWING AT STUHR MUSEUM. KEN GNADT, 60 YEAR ROTARIAN. DISTRICT 5630, GRAND ISLAND, NEBRASKA
    PS: YES A MESSAGE OF PEACE.

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  4. Pingback: Trees that spread peace | The Rotary Club of Carteret

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