Protecting The Environment

Rotary members are tackling environmental issues the way they always do: coming up with projects, using their connections to change policy and planning for the future.

Ravensbourne Rotary Club cleaning the River Ravensbourne
Ravensbourne Rotary Club cleaning the River Ravensbourne

Area of Focus - Protecting The Environment

Protecting the Environment is now The Rotary Foundation's 7th Area of Focus, and presents a very exciting challenge for clubs to tackle on a local, regional, national and international level.

The Rotary Foundation will enable our members and their community allies to take action in:

  • Protecting and restoring land, coastal, marine, and freshwater resources
  • Enhancing the capacity of communities to support natural resource management and conservation
  • Supporting sustainable agriculture, fishing, and aquaculture practices
  • Addressing the cause of climate change by reducing the emission of greenhouse gases
  • Strengthening ecosystems and communities affected by climate change
  • Supporting education initiatives that promote behavior that protects the environment
  • Advocating for sustainable consumption to build an economy that uses resources more efficiently
  • Addressing environmental justice issues and public health concerns

Guidelines for District Environmental grant 2023/24 


Caring for the environment has been listed as the 7th Area of Focus

The concept of an 1120 Enviro Grant is to encourage clubs to get behind this new area, Fresh inventive ideas will be encouraged!

A £300 cap (Maximum) on the amount as a contribution to either a one-off event – i.e., a litter pick / Beach clean, tree planting 

for clubs or Cluster of clubs (£300 Maximum) or to purchase specialist equipment – i.e., tree planting spades litter pickers black bag holders, waders etc etc. for their own use after the initial event

 (Rotary Foundation District Grants, match-funded up to $1,000 and Global Grants with a minimum project value of $30,000 are also available for Rotary Environmental projects, contact DRFC Brian Dunne for further information at )

 We will be looking at Inventive ways clubs can setup recycling initiatives locally – Public-facing with Rotary branding

 Or it could be used to publicize the Young Environmentalist competition, maybe fund a Young Environmentalist competition event (sandwiches/cakes/drinks) - or an award of say £100 (or equivalent in trees/litter pickers for the school)

 Applications will be welcomed from any listed club Environment Lead 

 Criteria to assist in completing the application form for EG

Successful Grants will include:

  • ·         An Environmental theme
  • ·         Classification of what aspect of the Environment you are targeting
  • ·         What type of geographical area are you working in? Urban, Rural, Coastal ( postcode if possible)
  • ·         Working with existing community environmental projects working with schools and other groups
  • ·         An event that is open to both Rotarians and other groups as either a Rotary or a shared enterprise
  • ·         An EG  is available for club equipment/publicity to help get an environmental activity started.
  • ·         Supporting letter overview from any listed club Environment Lead 
  • ·         Correct use of Rotary branding
  • ·         All events should by nature be planned in an environmentally sustainable way i.e. travel plans,    minimal use of single-use plastics etc.
  • ·         Clear simple aims and objectives of your project (think elevator pitch)
  • ·        New inventive ideas will be encouraged!

·        Applications must be approved by and signed by the project leader and the Club President (or President Elect if submitted before the Rotary year to which the project refers)

Download Grant Guidelines here

Download a grant Application form here

Club Environment Lead

Many active Rotary Clubs have already appointed a Club Environmental Lead or champion;  someone who is interested in the environment and is willing to organise environmental projects within the local community and be a local advocate for all things Protecting The Environment. 

Club Environment Team

Forming a Club Committee for Protecting the Environment is a great opportunity to support Rotary’s New Area of Focus. Environment team members will assist the Club Environment Lead in developing a club environmental sustainability policy, and setting environmental goals achieved through a range of environmental activities working with schools and other community groups.

Club Environmental Sustainability Policy

The environmental lead will help a club to develop an environmental sustainability policy. This will lead to setting annual club environmental goals and the development of environmental projects - working with club members and other clubs wherever possible as well as working in partnership with other community groups.

The Rotary Club of Sittingbourne Invicta have created their own Club Environmental Sustainability Policy document and are happy for this to be used as a template and adapted by other clubs.Club_Environmental_Sustainability_Policy_RF.pdf

Environmental club goals along with volunteering hours spent on environmental projects should, like other club goals, be recorded in Rotary Club Central.

    Together, We Will Inspire The World


    " The environment has become Rotary’s seventh area of focus at a time when the world’s infrastructure is crumbling. We see the images of horrendous disasters, such as flooding and drought, but what is the reality?" -  Lucy Carr from ShelterBox, Rotary’s project partners in disaster relief, says Climate Change Is A Human Crisis.

    Reduce Plastic Waste

    Avoid single-use plastics (bags, straws, bottles, cups & lids). There are 7.7 billion single use bottles used in the UK each year (source: Kids Against Plastics). Instead of buying individually-packaged drinks, consider buying a bulk container of the beverage you want and buying a reusable water bottle.

    Plastic grocery-type bags that get thrown out and end up in landfills or in other parts of the environment. These can suffocate animals. Also, it takes a while for the bags to decompose.

    Use Less Paper

    Most of us print something at least once a week, and then print on just one side of the paper. It might seem like a little thing, but if you devote some effort to saving paper, you could conserve a lot of paper products every year. 

    Send out club minutes and club newsletters electronically. All Rotarians can elect within the Database Management System (DMS) to receive the Rotary magazine electronically.

    Working With Other Groups

    Do what Rotary does best - try to work with schools and other local groups on environmental projects. 

    Try to get schools to become a Plastics Clever School using resources for the curriculum from Kids Against plastics.

    Schools may also like to paricipate in the Rotary Young Environmentalist Competition.

    Your club could organise a beach clean as part of the Great British Beach Clean between 17th and 26th September 2021 and log the event on the Marine Conservation Society's website.

    Environmental Sustainability Advocacy

    Take to social media with messages on how your club is reducing its carbon footprint, helping to reduce climate change, tackling single use plastics and helping to supporting biodiversity.

    Follow the lead taken by the Rotary Club of Maidstone Riverside in producing a monthly environmental newsletter for Rotarians, friends and others within the local community.

    Join in with others around the world on social media in raising awareness for Environmental Sustainability on Earth Day, World Bee Day and World Environment Day.

    Great British Beach Clean 2022

    Every September thousands of people across the UK head to the coast to take part in the Great British Beach Clean. This year's event is taking place between Friday 16th - Sunday 25th September 2022. Find out how you can get involved and how it helps

    Earth Day

    Growing out of the first Earth Day in 1970, Earth Day is now the world’s largest recruiter to the environmental movement, working with more than 75,000 partners in over 190 countries to drive positive action for our planet.  Earth Day is held on 22nd April each year.

    World Bee Day

    World Bee Day is on the 20th of May each year and is an ideal opportunity to raise awareness of the importance of wildflower meadows and our pollinators.

    World Environment Day

    World Environment Day is celebrated on 5 June every year and is the principal vehicle of the United Nations for encouraging awareness and action for the protection of the environment. Help to raise awareness about environmental sustainability on World Environment Day

    ESRAG has produced a Rotary Handbook with a toolkit for World Environment Day.

    Environmental Speakers

    Consider having a speaker at one of your club's meetings to help raise awareness of environmental issues.


    Environtmental Sustainability Rotary Action Group

    Rotary GB&I - Environmental Projects & Leaflets

    Speak Up For Our Planet - Youtube talks

    Rotary magazine - the fight against plastic pollution (June/July 2019)

    Rotary EndPlasticSoup

    Terracycle - Eliminating the idea of waste

    Keep Britain Tidy - Great Spring Clean

    Notes from a presentation by Pat Armstrong (ESRAG) - Jan 2021

    Pawprint - carbon footprint calculator & suggestions for reducing energy emissions

    39 Ways To Save The Planet - BBC Four podcasts

    23 Environmental Service Project Ideas - Lions Clubs

    Save The Planet - Rotary Club of Manchester


    For more information or help getting an environmental project underway please email the District Environment Lead 

    Protecting The Environment pages:

    The Weird Fish lady Blog - photo by Giorgia Doglioni on Unsplash

    The Weird Fish Lady Blog

    more Rotarian Gloria Barnett talks about all things environmental

    Maidstone Riverside litter pick along the River Medway during the Great British Spring Clean 2021

    50 Leading Clubs Supporting the Environment

    more Clubs within Rotary South East that are Supporting The Environment

    Renewable energy - photo by Nicholas Doherty on Unsplash

    Reducing Our Carbon Footprint

    more Reducing our dependency on fossil fuels

    Recycling - photo by Pawel Czerwinski on Unsplash


    more Avoiding landfill and reusing materials to make new products

    Tackling the litter problem - photo by John Cameron on Unsplash

    Tackling Litter

    more Helping to clean up our communities

    Forest Fires - photo by Matt Palmer on Unsplash

    Climate Change

    more Global warming causes and effects

    Wild flower meadow - photo by Gemma Evans on Unsplash


    more Protecting our natural world

    Marine Pollution - Photo by Brian Yurasits on Unsplash

    Protecting The Marine Environment

    more Facing three huge threats: overfishing, pollution & climate change