Programme for week commencing 9th May, 2013

As the newly appointed Environmental Officer, I have been finding out about RIBI’s Environmental policies and how environment and sustainability issues are being tackled locally and across District 1100. I started by attending the Environment Group meeting at the District Assembly on 27th April, where we received a lively presentation from Roger Perrin who is District Environment Officer.

The remit for the RIBI Environment group is to raise the profile of environmental issues within RIBI at District, Club and individual Rotarian level.

There is now overwhelming scientific evidence that mankind is exploiting the natural resources of planet Earth at an unsustainable rate. Carbon emissions from the fossil fuels are the primary cause of current global warming and ocean acidification. The poorest people on the planet will be least able to cope with the consequences which include sea level change and extreme climate events such as flood and drought which impact on people’s homes, livelihoods and farming systems.

It can sometimes be difficult to accept that we as individuals can have any impact on climate change at the global level. But the maxim “Think Globally; Act Locally” still holds true and we as individuals, and collectively as a club, can be involved in many small acts to demonstrate our commitment to a more sustainable lifestyle.

Nationally, the RIBI Environment Group is urging Clubs to:

  • Submit a project for the Rodney Huggins Environmental Awards
  • Plant trees in their district. Free Trees are available from the Woodland Trust.
  • Encourage  a 20% reduction of carbon emissions of club and district travel activities, including conferences.
  • Organise an event under the Spring Clean project, ideally during Climate Week (March each year), but otherwise at any time of the year.

At District level, the Environment and Sustainability committee are working to raise awareness and understanding of a range of environmental issues and to encourage clubs to be involved in environmental projects. District 1100 is working with a charity called Global Village Energy Partnership (GVEP) providing grants to fund small businesses in Kenya which manufacture fuel briquettes from green waste products. This project provides local employment, provides rural communities with low cost fuel and is helping combat deforestation.

What does this mean for the

As individuals:

  • We are already doing our own small bit for the environment by NOT expecting people to get into their cars and travel to weekly meetings! If you do travel by car, always consider if your journey is necessary and car share wherever possible
  • But don’t forget, after all your Facetime/spacetime and e.chats to save energy by switching off your laptop or other electronic device, and unplug your charger!
  • Re-use and recycle. Use your local authority facilities. Use Freecycle or donate unwanted clothes and household items to local charities.  Don’t forget the charity shop at Uplands special needs school in Swindon will welcome your donations of clothes, toys and household items.
  • Compost your food and garden waste wherever possible.

As a club:

  • We should be involved in at least one practical environmental project each year. This could involve tree or hedge planting, pond restoration or clearing invasive plant species such as Himalayan Balsam. For the past two years we have helped Stroud Valleys Project with their work to restore neglected hedgerows and improve wildlife habitats for Bats in the Severn Vale. Would you like to do something like this again? Shall we ask one of the county wildlife Trusts if they have a project we can help with? Suggestions for projects and organisations we can work with are most welcome.
  • We should try to identify a local, community based environmental project which we can support and apply for an Environmental Award in 2014.  There are awards for Rotary Club projects and Schools and Youth projects and the criteria are very wide. Do you know of a school who would like to create a bee or butterfly garden? Can we help a youth club with a recycling project? IDEAS PLEASE!

Do you agree? Should we be doing more? Comments on this website please or drop me an email to

Katharine McNealey.

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0 thoughts on “E is for Environment!

  1. Rachel Davis says:

    Katharine, we (BHF) are working with Gloucestershire Wildlife on a 5 mile sponsored walk, as you should be aware – do you want me to ask them if there are any projects that the Eclub could get involed in?

  2. Katharine says:

    Thanks if you could get me the name and email for their volunteer coordinator that would be helpful. We will be looking to do something in the Autumn or Winter, and we dont want anything too strenuous!

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