More than $18 million in Foundation global grant funding has been allocated to environment-related projects over the past five years. Creating a distinct area of focus to support the environment will give Rotary members even more ways to bring about positive change in the world and increase our impact. Grant applications for projects will be accepted after 1 July 2021.
In 1990-91, RI President Paulo V.C. Costa made the environment one of his primary causes, creating the Preserve Planet Earth subcommittee, which looked at ways clubs and members could conduct environmental initiatives.
“We have finally caught up to Costa [his vision],” says Past RI President Ian H.S. Riseley, chair of the Environmental Issues task force, which championed the new area of focus.
“As a lifelong environmentalist, I’m delighted that our great organization has recognized that the environment is a worthy and appropriate destination for our project activity,” says Riseley. “This is an exciting moment in Rotary history.”
Supporting the environment becomes Rotary's seventh area of focus, which are categories of service activities supported by global grants. It joins peacebuilding and conflict prevention; disease prevention and treatment; water, sanitation, and hygiene; maternal and child health; basic education and literacy; and community economic development.
Rotarians are doers. Show them a problem and they look for solutions. But a global problem such as climate change might seem daunting to even the most resourceful Rotary member.
Break that complex problem down into smaller pieces, however, and you find there are many things Rotarians can do — and are already doing, with help from The Rotary Foundation.
A coalition of researchers and scientists led by environmentalist and writer Paul Hawken mathematically modelled the climatic and economic impact of potential solutions to learn which ones would yield the best results for people and the planet. Drawdown researchers ranked solutions from 1 to 80 based on their potential to avert or reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The list included some surprising possibilities, such as educating girls, promoting family planning, and assisting farmers. As it happens, all of those align with Rotary’s areas of focus.
Project Drawdown is one of the projects supported by ESRAG – the Environmental Sustainability Rotary Action Group ESRAG has six key Focus Areas to make a difference:
· Climate Change
· Sustainable living
· Food Security
· Circular Economy