Our Environment

Supporting the Environment

Rotary’s 7th Area of Focus

Context

The Government declared Climate Change Emergency is real and now:

  • Since 2016 – Climate emergency declarations have been made by 1400 local governments in 28 countries.
  • 2018 – UN declares plastic pollution a global crisis.
  • March 2019 – UN Climate Action Summit – “1.5 degrees C is the socially, economically politically and scientifically safe limit to global warming by the end of this century”. A deadline set for achieving net zero emissions to 2050.

Greta Thunberg observed that the vast majority of people she talks to agree entirely with what she says and then carry on as normal.  As leaders in our communities and with the recognition of ‘Supporting the Environment’ as the seventh Rotary Area of Focus, we must do more.

The increased focus on the Environment by Rotary International announced at the outset of this Rotary year has necessitated the adoption of an interim position.

.     Chris Davies (RC Kimbolton Castle) is the District Environmental Officer, under Bill Hill’s Community Committee.

Meeting monthly with a dynamic membership dependent on current projects and priorities is the District Environment Committee:

.     Chris Davies, Bill Hill, David George, John Rowlatt, Joel Weaver and Phil Morley

Meeting every two months are the Club Environment Leads, 32 have come forward to date along with the Environment Committee members.

Three times a year, the wider Environment Support Group, up to 40 additional members who have expressed a desire to support initiatives to improve the Environment are also invited to the join the meeting with the Club Environment Leads In September, January and May.

Young Environmentalist Competition

Clive Doubleday writes:

Rotarians never under-estimate the passion, stamina and vision of young people; 17-year-old Swedish environmentalist campaigner Greta Thunberg being a shining example.

Rotary Great Britain and Ireland recently announced the winners of the 2020 Rotary Young Environmentalist competition.  The aim of the competition is to encourage participants to explore and increase their awareness of issues the world is facing and think about ways they can help to overcome them.  This is just one of many competitions where Rotary is involved in developing skills of the future generation.  Rotary Young Environmentalist 2020 was proudly sponsored by Veolia.

Local Rotary groups are encouraging young people between the ages of 7 and 17 to get involved in protecting the environment in and around Peterborough.  We are looking for creative children to submit poems, songs, stories, photographs, videos, and paintings, to enter our local competition.  Certificates and prizes will be awarded in the various age groups.  Whilst the competition is a lot of fun it aims to encourage young people to think and hopefully learn about the environment and how we can sustain and protect it, helping to make the world a better place to live.

To give you some ideas, here is a summary of the winning entries in the national Junior Category (7-10 years old).  1st Place was awarded to Cragside Primary School in Newcastle where Year 4 pupils created a ‘Climate Club’.  They started a campaign called “Ditch the car, it’s not far” encouraging people to walk or get public transport to school.  This ran for a week and resulted in less students arriving at school in a car than before.  With the success of this campaign the ‘Climate Club’ rebranded as the ‘Eco-Club’ with Year 5 pupils joining them to help the environment.  After noticing a lot of rubbish, pupils gained a £150 grant to purchase equipment to litter pick in their area.  They plan to expand the club, get other pupils and schools to help them and make an even bigger difference.

2nd Place, nearer to home, was awarded to Delapre Primary School, Northampton.  Here a group of students were inspired to collect crisp packets after discovering that this waste frequently ends up in the world’s oceans.  Crisp packets don’t decompose in landfill.  Packets are sent to Terracycle (which recycles items some recycling centres cannot) where the materials are used to make new items. This allows the group to earn money for their school and helps fund more play equipment.

3rd Place went to Holy Trinity Primary School in Derbyshire where four pupils set up a scheme to help recycle batteries.  They have been in contact with their council suggesting more recycling bins are needed for card, paper and other materials.  The students have also come up with an innovative idea which everyone in their community could get involved with called ‘Fish Fridays’. Fish Fridays occur on the last Friday of every month encouraging people to fish for plastic to help keep beaches and communities clean.

Contact Clive Doubleday, Rotary Club of Peterborough Ortons for details of how to enter both local and national competitions.

Environment Priorities 2020/21 (many carried forward for continuation from last year)

  • Lead change by example wherever and whenever we can adopting and adapting to, sustainable lifestyles with the long term in mind.
  • 2021 square metres of rewilding by June 30th 2021, in District 1070
  • Plant at least one tree in a public space per club
  • Infuse consideration of the Environment across all Rotary projects, activities and committees.
  • Use a Green Spot in meetings/newsletters and ‘How Green is my Tally’ activity to educate and gently berate.
  • Appoint an Environment Officer and/or Committee and decide on a plan.
  • Build on our enhanced awareness of the natural world to improve mental health, encourage interest in our environment, visits, debates, poetry.
  • Focus on the whole Ecosystem. Long term plan DARWIN (District Acre Re-Wilding Initiative.

How can this be done?

  • Continue with the District Project – Return a rewilding figure per club updated periodically. Rewild – 2021 square metres by the end of June 2021.
  • Plant trees, one per club minimum in a public space. Figures to Chris
  • Stop mowing lawns, or if you have to, use a 4” cut for large swathes.
  • Build on our enhanced awareness of the Natural world to encourage interest in our environment, visits to farms, open gardens, wildflower meadows, WhatsApp Environment Group etc
  • Change behaviours, individually, collectively and as leaders in our community, that damage our environment.
  • Add a Green Spot to your Rotary meetings and/or Newsletters/Facebook. Include what members have done since the last meeting and ideas to try. Trickle feed ideas through Chris for the District magazine.
  • Coalesce litter picking initiatives into the same date across population centres to coincide with the National Great British Spring Clean week.
  • Poetry – Each opportunity you get
  • Reduce significantly or preferably eliminate single use plastics
  • Advocate: Reduce, Repair, Reuse, Recycle
  • Work with schools to encourage ponds/trees/wildflower gardens. Chair or contribute to,  school ‘Sustainability Boards’ – listen to ideas and help make them happen.
  • Reduce unnecessary and polluting travel
  • Participate in Rotary initiatives
  • Support the Young Environmentalist competition
  • Purple for Polio – Plant crocuses
  • Plastic Oceans – UK – Support Joel Weaver and Karl Flowers in this ground breaking project. Next batch of clubs targeted to join in March 2021
  • Rewilding project – David George
  • Ensure some of your club funds go towards green charities
  • Invite Environmental speakers to club meetings:
  • Sustainable Living I & II – Presentations by Chris Davies & Eric Moore, David George, also, is happy to deliver his Environmental talks
  • How Green is my Tally? Chris will have ready by October
  • Post COVID, retain a number of Zoom or equivalent meetings
  • Reduce our meat intake
  • Finally: Stop and Think, Compare & Decide & Act Now

Chris Davies

District Environment Officer 2020

Rotary Club of Kimbolton Castle

email: Environment@rotary1070.org

 

Read David George’s discussion document
Open District 1070 Environmental policy