Rotarians understand that the whole world is their backyard. They can see the effects of climate change in communities they care about, and they haven’t waited to take action. They’re tackling the problem the way they always do: coming up with projects, using their connections to change policy — and planning for the future.
This April 2019 article published in The Rotarian before Rotary International declared a seventh area of focus on The Environment is worth reading. It includes discussion with then Rotary International President Barry Rassin: –
Why should Rotarians care about climate change ?
BARRY RASSIN: We’re people who care about our world. We want our world to be a better place, and it’s not just about the six specific areas of focus (note this article was before the seventh area of focus was defined). It’s broader than that. We have to look at the world as a whole and how we can make it a better place. If we’re losing countries due to sea level changes, if stronger storms are disrupting water supplies or destroying people’s livelihoods, that’s more people who are going to be disadvantaged. So caring about the environment goes toward our ultimate mission, and we should give it the importance it deserves. As a humanitarian organization, we’re obligated to talk about it. We need to have the conversation.
What kind of feedback do you get from Rotarians when you give speeches about climate change ?
RASSIN: There’s a lot of positive response. About 95 percent of the people I’ve spoken with say it’s about time that Rotary talks about the environment.
What do you say to the other 5 percent?
RASSIN: I’ve had one very negative letter telling me that I was doing a great job until I mentioned climate change. … But for me, climate change is something we have to talk about.
The article takes the reader through discussion on:
- Let’s Start the Conversation
- Losing Ground
- Friendly Persuasion – the Rotary Way
- Ground Game – the things Rotarians are doing … be part of the solution
When discussing Climate Change there is no general agreementon how to get the balance right with envoking fear of the likely outcomes if we exceed 2C global warming to inspire urgent action versus the negative impacts.
The following article outlines some of the issues with this complex aspect of motivating and empowering people to take action.