Districtwide Initiatives to Combat Climate Change 

With the recent climate change summit in Glasgow, there appears to be renewed interest and energy in getting behind climate change.   Certainly the inclusion of the environment as a theme for Rotary, encourages us all to take action, to do something.
In talking to Michael Paven, co-chair of the District’s Environmental Committee, many Rotary Clubs are getting involved.  Probably one of the biggest projects, involving several Rotary Clubs both here in Canada and in the US, was the Great Lakes Water Clean Up.  More than 22 million pounds (10 million kilograms) of trash and plastic pollution ends up in the Great Lakes each year.  Several clubs came together to help clean it up.  It was a true example of Rotary working together.
With the Mississauga clubs, they have worked with the City to get parkland upon which to create a Peace Park – with benches, a peace pole and they plan to plant trees there too.
Michael shared that he’d love to see Tiny Forests created within parks.  This concept originated in Japan, where small, indigenous trees are planted to create a dense forest, attracting wildlife and growing to maturity in ten years.
In Brampton they are working on a pollinator garden and Guelph South, for example, planted twenty trees at the Sunrise Therapeutic Equestrian Centre to celebrate the club’s 20th Anniversary.
And at our Guelph Trillium Club, we successfully sold rain barrels at the beginning of the gardening season.
The Rotary Passport Club South in Oakville started a solar safe initiative, which ticked many of the Rotary boxes such as water and sanitation, maternal and child health and the environment.  In Kenya, using small solar units, families were able to pour dirty water into a container, and with UV filters, make their water drinkable and safe.
Maybe consider a project focusing on the circular economy.  Food waste is responsible for 8-10 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions.  Facilitating solutions that keep food waste out of landfill, is not only helping the environment, but supporting families that face food insecurity.
Having guest speakers who are environmental experts is one step to learning more about what your club could do, and with a cluster approach, you can achieve so much more.
The Rotary Foundation will play an important role in helping us succeed.  In the past five years TRF has allocated $18.4 Million (US) to support environment-related projects.
If you are looking for ideas, check out the Rotary Environmental Sustainability Rotary Action Group where they describe many innovative projects - https://esrag.org/projects/.
World Environment Day is June 5, 2022.  What’s your club going to do?   Let’s all work together to make change happen.
Submitted by Anne Day 
Rotary Club of Guelph Trillium