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August 2020 Volume 5 Issue 2

Freon Pilot Opens Path to $1 Million for RI Grants!

plus: Clubs Catalyzing Solutions

This issue is all about leverage!  Heeding the data and acting NOW, Rotary Clubs are mobilizing regional and international action to sustain the environment.


Here's news from Rotarians worldwide:

• Americans seek to power RI grants by

    collecting a few cylinders of Freon by Oct. 31

• Canadians model how to restore the Great Lakes

Australians' Climate and Peace Forum spotlights international solutions including trade, finance, and changes in consumption


Also: help us empower Rotary:  

ESRAG seeks a GDPR Czar and an Archivist


Turn Feral Freon into funds for grants

If you live in one of these American cities  and can volunteer a few hours before the end of October, you can help ESRAG permanently prevent the escape of an incredibly potent greenhouse gas, with an impact equivalent to taking 9,463 gas-powered cars off the road for an entire year.   


Not only that: if our Feral Freon pilot succeeds, and we can move into the next phase – ESRAG will have the chance to earn as much as $1 million by the end of 2021 to fund projects that slow global warming, such as wind and solar projects, reforestation, reducing food waste, and educating girls. 


Here’s how: ESRAG has signed an agreement with Tradewater, a mission-based environmental project firm, to receive and document cylinders of CFC refrigerants from sellers before Oct. 31 under a pilot project. In most cities, the quantity will just be a few hundred pounds in a handful of cylinders. 


If the pilot succeeds, ESRAG and Tradewater will launch Phase II. In this second phase, as milestones for collection and offset sales are met, Tradewater will give the dollars that would have gone into their marketing budget to ESRAG for environmental grants. 


For the pilot project to succeed, we need 3-4 volunteers from a Rotary Club within 50 miles of each city. This link explains the minimal time and storage space required, and the tasks that the Rotarians will carry out to document and prepare the cylinders for collection and destruction. Can your club help ESRAG to convert feral FreonTM to funds for environmental grants?

Seeding small acts to save a Great Lake

A huge algal bloom on Lake Erie in 2014 shut down the water supply for over 400,000 people around the American city of Toledo, but it opened an opportunity for a small Canadian Rotary Club, Chatham Sunrise in Ontario, to empower its community to reduce Great Lakes pollution.    


The Club started by inviting a series of speakers to brief them on the interdependence of the people and ecology of the Great Lakes, then to focus on what they could do locally to protect the essential, vulnerable resource of clean water. From this research, the club built their Clean Water for Living initiative.  


The work took another quantum leap when the Club organized the regional Clean Water for Living Summit  in November 2019, drawing participants from both Canada and the U.S.  The inspiring talks, given by regional experts in a variety of fields, were filmed and are now posted on the website for anyone in the world to see.   


Through this project, Chatham Sunrise’s trademark work has progressed from decorating the river to defending it.  In their new mission as water conservationists, the Club mobilized volunteers of all ages (see picture) to help install a rain garden to naturally filter toxic runoff from a downtown parking lot laid over a brownfield site.


The Club now raises awareness by selling rain barrels and reusable water bottles with the Rotary logo. Chatham Sunrise is raising international interest through the professionally-produced Water Champions” videos on the Clean Water for Living website.  Each shows how ordinary Chatham residents are applying good water stewardship in a specific setting.  The hometown heroes are the heart of the project’s persuasive impact.  

Climate and Peace Forum draws audience from six continents


On Aug 6, Australians planted the Rotary flag in the vanguard of international action to save humanity from catastrophic climate change.   


Over 400 people – an estimated half of them non-Rotarians - registered from six continents.   


That night the Rotary Clubs of Sydney Cove, Sydney, and Darling Harbour launched the first of their quarterly Climate and Peace Forums, presenting three passionate speakers preeminent in their fields: Dr. Michael Pulch, European Union Ambassador to Australia, Lesley Hughes, Distinguished Professor of Biological Science at Macquarie University, and Richie Merzian, Director of Climate and Energy at The Australia Institute, one of the country’s leading think tanks.   


We've posted an overview of their talks on ESRAG's website.


The recorded talks are posted online as a free resource that Rotarians anywhere can use to launch discussions.  The next program in the quarterly forum series is scheduled for Nov. 10.


Sponsored by business, philanthropic, and academic sponsors and ESRAG’s ANZPI* Regional Chapter, the online Climate and Peace Forum series is free to any participant. 


ANZPI members encourage fellow Rotarians to follow the Sydney clubs’ example in convening their own regional stakeholders to collectively build the understanding and will to forge effective climate actions in their specific context.   


*ANZPI = ESRAG Regional Chapter for Australia, New Zealand, and the Pacific Islands  

Help! ESRAG Needs a GDPR Czar and an Archivist

ESRAG seeks two volunteers with specific expertise to help us succeed in connecting and equipping our rapidly-growing membership: 


GDPR Czar: As our regional chapters grow and new task forces take shape, it’s vital for members to be able to connect with each other through ESRAG.  We can’t do this without consents that meet the standard of Europe’s General Data Protection Regulation  (GDPR). If you’re experienced with GDPR compliance, please contact us if you can help us set up the right language and protocols. 


Archivist: Our collection of documents, technical and media resources are multiplying like rabbits. We desperately need a gifted archivist or librarian to build a coherent structure and train ESRAG leaders how to use it so people can store and retrieve materials as needed.   


Please write ESRAG Project Director Karen Kendrick-Hands if you can serve in one of these roles. Your expertise will significantly enhance ESRAG’s ability to equip Rotarians to play a pivotal role in supporting the environment!

ESRAG Growing: 

Invite Your Friends!

ESRAG has been growing fast in size and capacity since Rotary announced "Sustaining the Environment" as a new Area of Focus June 26.  You don't have to be a Rotarian to join! The cost is only US $30 a year for adults, US$15 for Rotaracters, and free for people under 18.


ESRAG Membership Director Steve Solbrack (shown here) is connecting new members to ESRAG Regional Chapters: watch for news from your Regional Chairs. 


ESRAG Chair Chris Puttock has launched a new Biodiversity Task Force and the Renewable Energy Task Force is already providing technical assistance to Clubs and projects. 


Chaired by Pat Armstrong in Australia, ESRAG's multinational Communications Team is redesigning the website and ramping up social media so we can good news and lore to encourage Rotarians to take action for the planet.  If you have news to share - written, video, or photographic - please send it to ESRAG reporter Ariel Miller.

The Environmental Sustainability Rotary Action Group operates in accordance with Rotary International policy, but is not an agency of, or controlled by, Rotary International.

 
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