Rotary International Embraces Protecting The Environment

When you think about the word “Rotary”, images of folks in Rotary-emblazoned shirts picking up trash, helping to construct a handicap ramp for a neighbor in need, working with a student to complete a local service project through Interact, or fundraising for a clean water project overseas may come to mind.  These are all still pertinent since the Areas of Focus for Rotarians have been peace and conflict prevention/resolution, disease prevention and treatment, water and sanitation, maternal and child health, basic education and literacy, and economic and community development.

Rotarians planting trees!

Rotary International, however, has just taken on an additional Area of Focus called “Protecting The Environment”!  This is a huge step for Rotary,  since it opens up funding for many projects that may not have qualified in the past to now qualify for financial assistance.  In addition, Rotary will attract a broader number and diversity of members who have expertise in the rapidly-growing field of environmental science, especially including climate change.

Rotary’s motto is “Service Above Self” and more than 35,000 clubs equalling 1.2 million members are involved in Rotary throughout the world – Frederick County is in District 7620 and we have six groups across the county.  The “greater good” of this number of people is amazing – harnessing this power, knowledge, access to money/equipment/services, the spirit of hard-work and dedication, and philanthropy allows Rotary to accomplish so much more than government, business, or many organizations can do.

Environmental Sustainability Rotary Action Group (ESRAG) is the group that has been developed to guide work in environmental projects.  With monthly Zoom meetings, you can connect with a growing number of people who are committed to working on solutions that involve our planet, ranging from butterfly/pollinator gardens, regenerative agriculture, composting, biodiversity, alternative forms of energy production/capture, and many more.  I encourage you to check out their website and see where the good environmental work that you’re currently doing may be able to benefit from this newly developed Rotary Area of Focus.

Karin Tome is a semi-retired individual who is proud to be a Rotarian in the Smoketown Rotary Club. Her former work includes elected office, ice-cream shop owner, library associate in the Children’s Department of the Frederick County Public Libraries, and community volunteer. She currently resides alternatively in Brunswick, MD and Hesston, PA. She and her husband, Mike, are proud parents of two grown young men.