April 2022 Volume 6 Issue 10

This Earth Day: How Rotarians Embrace Circular Economy

Monday, April 18, 2022

The latest IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) report on Climate Change Mitigation, released by the UN on April 4, combines hope and urgency. “The decisions we make now can secure a livable future,” said IPCC Chair Hoesung Lee. “We have the tools and know-how required to limit warming.” “It’s now or never, if we want to limit global warming to 1.5 C,” added IPCC Working Group III Co-Chair Jim Skea.

Circular economy -- “using materials more efficiently, reusing and recycling products and minimizing waste” -- is one of the solutions highlighted in the IPCC’s April 4 press release. Rotarians have huge potential to catalyze circular economy by teaching our networks how its strategies save money and reduce emissions. This issue highlights how Rotarians are advancing circular economy in Turkey, Australia, the United States, and Canada.

Also in this issue: exciting events at the Rotary International Convention in Houston, the huge success of ESRAG's April World Environment conference organized by the ESRAG chapters from Eastern Europe to South Asia, and other opportunities this spring. Watch for an email from ESRAG Chair Richard Randolph, MD, about the Zones 28 and 32 environmental conferences in Bermuda and Alaska.

May this Earth Day be the start of breakthroughs!

Photo by ESRAG Plastics Solutions Chair Lori Cloutier: Gary Nakamura and Kimi Kinoshito are part of the Rotary Club of Poulsbo's Trash Talk Task Force, in the US State of Washington. The Task Force has collected 40,000 pounds of polyethelene to be made into decking and park benches instead of going into landfills.

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Join PRIP Ian Risley at ESRAG's June 3 Conference!

Thursday, April 14, 2022

Invite everyone you know who’s going to Houston to sign up for ESRAG’s “Green Road to RICON” conference. Headlined by Past Rotary President Ian Riseley, this June 3 conference offers an array of inspiring speakers illustrating the many ways Rotarians are working to protect the conditions essential to life on our planet. It’s a perfect introduction to Rotary’s newest Area of Focus, the Environment. Show your friends this delightful video invitation in English or Spanish, by ESRAG’s Communications Chair-Elect Laurie Zuckerman.This June 3 ESRAG conference will be especially valuable for District Governors-Elect, District and Club Foundation Chairs, and Rotarians working on international and local environmental projects.

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RAGTIME June 2 at Houston Aquarium!

By Patricia Armstrong on Wednesday, April 20, 2022

Join ESRAG at RAGTIME on Thursday, 2 June from 6 to 9 pm, for a fabulous evening of networking, music, hors d’oeuvres, and drinks for all of the Rotary Action Groups at the Houston Downtown Aquarium. RAGTIME is a great opportunity to find out what other Rotarians are doing and to build new collaborations for your projects. Guests are welcome! Get your tickets at this link. The cost is only $50.

While at RAGTIME, enjoy the amazing Aquarium which has over 300 species of aquatic life from around the world, including a Louisiana Swamp exhibit with fish, reptiles, and amphibians from the marshes and bayous of the Gulf Coast. Not only does it feature biodiversity, but the Aquarium exemplifies recycling: its design repurposed a historic fire station and the city’s former Central Waterworks plant.


Principles and Promise of Circular Economy

By Ariel Miller on Monday, April 18, 2022

Watch Dr. Yasar Atacik's March 30th presentation to ESRAG’s Projects Webinar for an empowering introduction to the principles of circular economy. He shares research, solutions, and encouraging news on public policy and industrial trends. He also describes a number of projects Rotary clubs can implement to foster circularity.

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Repair Café

By Ariel Miller on Wednesday, April 13, 2022

How do you keep clothes, coffee makers, and damaged furniture out of landfills? Recruit a few handy friends, and start a local Repair Café! Started in Holland by Martine Postma in 2007, Repair Cafés are now popping up worldwide, with over 2,200 in operation. The website, readable in Dutch, English, French, German, and Spanish, is packed with practical advice and creative solutions. By empowering their communities to fix stuff instead of throwing it away, Rotarians will reduce emissions from mining, manufacturing, and transportation.

“It’s a lot of fun to get together on a Saturday morning,” says John Adams, the environmental chair of the Rotary Club of Wellesley, Massachusetts, which holds Repair Cafés quarterly “Basically you call your friends who know how to fix stuff.” Next: invite the public, borrow a community space, and get ready to tackle anything from gluing the ear back on a beloved toy rabbit to actually fixing a toaster.

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Filling Wish Lists, Not Landfills:
Smart Logistics Leverage Successful Foreign Aid

By Ariel Miller on Wednesday, April 13, 2022

Too often, quality goods from hospital beds to school desks end up in landfills across Australia when institutions buy new equipment or businesses discard unsold inventory. Rotarians have developed smart logistics to match these goods to the wish-lists from developing countries. Now they’re asking for modest contributions from Clubs to overcome a major barrier: sharply-rising shipping costs. District 9800’s new Multi-Club Container Project offers Clubs an affordable way to share in overseas success and rebuild enthusiasm battered by the pandemic. Even better: by joining forces Rotarians can achieve a bigger and more durable humanitarian impact than Clubs can working alone.

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2022 World Environment Conference Inspires Huge Youth Turnout

By Ariel Miller on Monday, April 18, 2022

748 people registered for ESRAG’s second annual World Environment Area of Focus Conference April 9-10. Youth participation was incredibly strong: 509 Rotaractors, 14 youth exchange students, and five Interact members. Organized by the two ESRAG Chapters supporting Eastern Europe, Central Asia, the Middle East, and South Asia, the conference drew people from six continents and a total of 8 ESRAG Regional Chapters. Participating organizations included the UN Environment Programme, World Wildlife Fund Turkey, Global Forest Watch (an initiative of the World Resources Institute), and World Beyond War.

21 speakers from different disciplines gave talks illustrating the six ESRAG themes. In addition, workshops showcased projects including solar energy, eco-entrepreneurship, eliminating e-waste, the I Fix the Planet video contest, and the iRoTree app for measuring project impact. Video recordings of the conference have already been uploaded! You can watch the April 9th discussions here and April 10th here. Follow ongoing conversations and news from the conference on Instagram.
Shown above: Conference Co-Chairs Deniz Vural of Turkey and MH Ridheesh of India. Deniz serves on the ESRAG Board.

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Banff Marathon World-Class in Sustainability

Wednesday, April 13, 2022

Imagine a giant sports event drawing 10,000 people over three days – and not one piece of trash going into the landfill in its wake. That’s just one of the sustainability achievements of the Banff Marathon, now known as the “World’s Greenest Marathon,” with the honor of becoming Canada’s first member of the UN Sports for Climate Change initiative in 2019. This is thanks to Canadian environmental consulting firm SustainDriven, led by ESRAG Director Joey O’Brien.

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Turkish Rotarians Catalyze Circular Design

By Ariel Miller on Monday, April 18, 2022

Rotarians and Rotaractors in Turkey are sponsoring a series of four annual Circular Economy design competitions in partnership with universities, nonprofits, and corporations. The competition emphasizes interdisciplinary work and raising awareness of the importance of transitioning from a linear to circular economy. This contest offers design teams the opportunity to win a significant cash award and recognition. 2022’s theme is “Design for Reuse,” with awards scheduled to be announced in May.

Contest sponsors see innovative design as essential to overcoming “planned obsolescence, black box designs, [and] disposable products… leading to problems such as climate change, environmental pollution, and inequality of opportunity worldwide…. At this point, the importance of alternative design approaches and solutions that help bring products back to the economy has been understood again.”

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RCAT's Climate Conversations Start April 28, Plus Other Resources

By John Mathers on Monday, April 18, 2022


The Rotary Climate Action Team Network (RCAT) invites you to the April 28 launch of a Zoom series called Climate Conversations, at 4 pm Pacific Time (UTC – 7). The first session will feature RCAT Network leaders and Global Climate Change Ambassadors. Register here.

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Getting a Global Grant for Plastics Solutions: May 9 on Zoom

By Lori Cloutier on Wednesday, April 20, 2022

ESRAG’s Plastic Solutions Task Force invites you to learn about global grant development from a master, Rotarian Prakasam (Prakash) Tata, PhD, BCES QRP (Emeritus) at its meeting on May 9th, broadcast via Zoom at 9 am and 6pm PST (UTC – 7). Dr. Tata will talk about his recently-approved grant on Plastic Waste Collection, Processing, and Recycling and Reuse, which will be implemented in the coastal city of Viskhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh, India. The grant is already fully funded, and Prakash will share advice, challenges faced, and lessons learned. The morning session will be live, and the recording will be shown again that evening. Here's how to register for either session. Click here for May 9, 9 am PDT (UTC - 7). Click here for May 9 at 6 pm (UTC - 7)

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Build Hope and Courage Through I Fix the Planet!

By Ariel Miller on Saturday, March 12, 2022

ESRAG invites you to rally hope and inspire effective action by sharing your sustainable project in the 2022 I Fix the Planet video contest. Entries will be accepted starting March 20, with the contest closing Oct. 31. “The latest IPCC report: not good. War in Europe: not good,” said ESRAG Director Dr. Ludwig Kalthoff, who’s leading this year’s contest. “We can produce something positive with this video challenge to inspire not only the Rotarian family and other Rotary Action Groups, but also people beyond Rotary. We can be an example, showing that with the right spirit, the right values, we can offer another way.”

The challenge is to describe your project in a 70-100 second video, and upload it to the contest site. The 2nd round is now interactive! You can meet other teams easily in the contest’s virtual room in EXPO, ESRAG's Online Social and Resource Center. No extra device needed: just upload your video to the contest website from your phone/ keyboard. You can see last year's winning videos on that site or enjoy them on the big screens in our 3-D EXPO gallery.
Picture: screen shot from the Rotary Club of Shanghai's 2021 video about cleaning up the Quingpu wetlands.

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The Environmental Sustainability Rotary Action Group

operates in accordance with Rotary International policy, but is not an agency of, or controlled by,
Rotary International.