Rotary’s new area of focus: supporting the environment

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Dear friends,

Don’t you think this is an exciting moment for us as we get ready to support the environment? The Rotary Foundation now enables Rotarians to protect, preserve and conserve the environment by funding service projects. This is a big leap forward from the ‘Preserve Planet Earth’ initiative in the 1990s. In the past our clubs and districts have completed many projects and activities in the areas of water, sanitation, solid waste management, etc. However, now we are equipped with more resources and focused efforts by Rotarians will change the ways that environmental issues can be addressed by communities around us.

Whenever we think about green and clean environment, we dream about trees, rivers flowing with fresh water, neighbourhoods without dirt and waste. The earth without such beautiful canvas has no meaning. Thomas Fuller’s words are very appropriate for Rotarians: “He that plants trees loves others besides himself.”

We must not stop with just planting saplings; we must take care of them until the time they can survive on their own. Creating fresh water resources involving communities shall make them sustainable in the long run.

Once Mother Teresa said, “I only feel angry when I see waste. When I see people throwing away things we could use.” Saying no to plastic is a ‘fashion’ but reducing, recycling and reusing plastic is a ‘passion’. In addition to being actively involved in the plastic recycling process, Rotary clubs can encourage and organise ‘plastic usage literacy’ programmes in schools and communities.

“One of the first conditions of happiness is that the link between man and nature shall not be broken,” said Leo Tolstoy. Rotarians can be that link through their acts and deeds. Together, we can create an environment full of happiness and joy by planting trees, helping and educating communities to say ‘No’ to plastics, and managing solid waste, by involving our younger generations. Together, let’s make our planet earth, through our sustainable and environment- friendly community initiatives, a little bit better than before. Let’s do it the way we can do it.

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Dr Mahesh Kotbagi
RI Director, 2021–23

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