Newsletter of the Environment Fellowship of Rotarians

1 July 2016

Dear fellow Rotarians united in acting for our environment and dedicated to advance towards the Object of Rotary,

May the new Rotary year be full of opportunities for Rotarians to serve humanity while preserving our planet earth and improving the Environment!

Yes, we've spent another year promoting good environmental projects concentrating on preserving planet earth, climate change, global warming, sustainable development, all locally and globally, creating much awareness and taking action through the exchange of quality-projects adapted and implemented worldwide by Rotarians and their Rotary Clubs, and we participated with our booth in our RI Convention's House of Friendship in Seoul/Korea. Rotarian projects from various continents were presented, including the one of District 3450, including Mongolia, Hong Kong and Macao: see a glimpse of their so well-prepared poster below.

Besides being in contact through the internet, all of us who manage to participate in the RI Conventions enjoy greatly and make the best of our annual meeting there. Although, from the environmental point of view we have always been and are particularly aware of the impact which such Conventions have on global warming and thus especially through the often long flights to and from the Conventions, we realize that nevertheless, the human encounter and exchange such events offer to each participant through the hundreds of thousands of personal interactions in favor of the Environment among dedicated Rotarians is well worth and justifies our participation, and thus we do look forward to Atlanta, Toronto, Hamburg, Honolulu, etc., hoping and trusting that someday RI Conventions will finally take place for the first time also in Africa!

Our EFR having facilitated the creation of the RAG for Water and Sanitation, we're happy about its continuing global activities, including organizing again the WorldWaterSummit, now a part of every Rotary Convention.

Our EFR is continuing to facilitate Rotarian Action Groups in the different fields of the environment, just like Rotary Int’l had asked us to, and we have been doing, with also one on waste disposal at present. RAGES is among the RAGs which the EFR supported and was admitted in RI more recently. Yes, since RAGs were created, our EFR does take very seriously RI's wish that we promote and facilitate the creation of a number of new environmental RAGs in the different areas of the Environment. You're thus welcome to suggest us your proposal for the creation of a new environmental Rotarian Action Group, and we'll be happy to respond and to support its preparation and beginnings. Let us thus know please.

We enjoy the good news each time that Rotary International is generously spoiling us with so many good news of progress and victories in the area of polio eradication, of peace building, and of unique Rotary projects made possible by our Rotary Foundation, just to name a few!

As we constantly endeavor to facilitate and promote quality Rotarian environmental projects globally, we have experienced situations which need to be improved by RI! We found that Rotary International still:

May Rotary International take seriously these missed opportunities with the appropriately correcting them!

Constantly aware of our goal, the object of Rotary, and how much Rotary projects change lives for the better, throughout this Rotary year we've kept in contact with our global membership, also promoting rotarian projects and Rotary Clubs towards areas where Rotary is not yet present despite the fact that the situation warrants, justifies and calls for Rotary's stronger presence. We thus call on RI to dare to continue ceaselessly expanding Rotary to all areas of the world where Rotary Clubs do not exist as yet, Rotary is still missing, and in particular also into Africa and South-West Asia, the predominantly moslem nations where Rotary has an immense potential of attraction for conciliation, peace and justice.

When proposing Rotarian environmental projects where the need is greatest in countries where the USA are not popular, we still note strong prejudice against Rotary as "a 'bad' US-based NGO”. In the 112 years since Paul Harris and his friends started Rotary as the best organization to do good in the world, politicians have not always facilitated its task, so creating justified prejudice, obstacles to the opportunities for Rotary to do good.

Yes, for Rotary to be able to better fulfill its service to humanity, it would be extremely desirable if RI would decentralize, drastically shrinking its too expensive and unnecessary excessive bureaucracy in Evanston, decentralizing itself to where the same can be done better and much less expensively than by RI continuing to rather stubbornly grow more than necessary its expensive administration in/from the USA!

At the annual Rotary Convention the General Assembly of Rotary International takes place: the gathering in which each Rotary Club has one vote through its designated Voting Member, but, while in normal annual general assemblies the members (some 33.000 clubs) have the right to express themselves, no such opportunity is given nor offered to the Rotary Club representatives participating in it!

Our EFR supported the creation of RAGES, the RAG protecting endangered species. Its founder, Rotarian John Glassford of NSW/Australia is here meeting at the EFR booth in Seoul Rotarian Celestin Tangamo of Kinshasa/Africa. If you are interested in RAGES, do mail John at: jacksflat@gmail.com

All the already mentioned, we find that in addition to RI's squeezing cash from Rotarians and out of Rotary and its Foundation, in some cases even away from the purpose for which it was earmarked when donated for Enabling Rotarians to do Good in the World, at all levels and in many ways wherever possible, has not only caused the elimination of good Rotary programs, including the 5% charged by RI to donations, has especially contributed a lot to much diminish the attractiveness of Rotary to new potential members, and definitely it has shrunk retention, especially since this good Rotary cash in the hundreds of millions is given/thrown to others, literally 'to spend at their discretion', away from- and without any Rotary control at all!

In the past years the situation of climate change, species loss, land-use change, and fertilizer pollution was increasingly recognized, and today the environmental situation is worse than a year ago! It's not yet too late to rescue Planet Earth. Let’s remember that the entire world is just like one country and all humanity are its citizens!!!

It cannot be stressed sufficiently that one direct cause of this tragedy is the fact that despite Rotary being one of the best Non Governmental Organizations (NGOs) accredited to the UNO, RI misses constantly wonderful opportunities! Rotary could achieve so much more there at the UN by using very much its possibilities as NGO with consultative status at the United Nations!

Today RI's representatives are much too few! They are busy Rotarians only expected to enhance Rotary's visibility and monitor their UN organizations so to keep RI informed. By using properly and proactively its consultative status at the UN, RI could achieve by not spending more than 1% of what RI spends on 'Polio eradication' today, RI could achieve through our Consultative Status with the UNO so very much more, including more than Rotary achieves now for polio-eradication, and e.g. also contributing towards improving all 3: the climate change degradation, the species loss, land use and stopping misusing fertilizers, besides so much more as RI helps attract world Justice and Peace!

In the EFR we continue ceaselessly wholeheartedly endeavoring to enhance the Rotarians’ experience in Rotary, developing the Rotarians' satisfaction in Rotary, expanding Rotary's service to humankind, strengthening the Rotarians we're in contact with and their Rotary Clubs, increasing the enthusiasm and the dedication of Rotarians' humanitarian service, constantly working towards contributing best possible towards retaining membership and attracting new Rotarians, as well as strengthening Rotary's positive image, reputation and service globally!

At our EFR we do keep alive RI President Paulo V.C. Costa's call "Preserve Planet Earth"! We're dedicated to his words: "God has made us Guardians of the Earth. This planet is our heritage as well as our legacy. Let’s keep it in Peace, fill it with Love, Honor, and Service. Let's preserve it!”

"We must take the first steps in the colossal undertaking of mobilizing our fellow Rotarians and their clubs in this vital mission to preserve our planet from the aggressions it has suffered in the name of 'progress and development'."

Our EFR unites all Rotarians and their spouses, as well as Rotaractors, who wish to participate in our building together an Environment of Peace and Sustainable Development. For any information kindly contact kappenberger@gmail.com

Rotary Fellowships are indeed of the best Rotary offers to Rotarians, just like Rotary's Youth Exchange Program is probably the best RI has been doing for international understanding and peace since over half a century!

For humankind to enjoy the best-possible environment, we need to serve humanity by developing new patterns of action and interaction that can help humanity collectively towards taking a more balanced attitude toward the environment; indeed, humanity can take steps to prevent the negative effects of climate change and improve its relationship with the planet if it makes sure to act with vision & volition.

Indeed, the sustainable patterns of individual and collective life will reacquire not only new technologies, but also a new consciousness in human beings, including a new conception of ourselves and our place in the world. Yes, a values-based social transformation is necessary: values-based learning to motivate sustainable lifestyles and mechanisms of accountability in international governance are needed.

We're ready to starting the new Rotary year with our Rotary International President John Germ: may it become a good new Rotary year for Rotary Serving Humanity! We had the opportunity to exchange some of these news and thoughts with him and we trust him to become a good President of RI who'll guide RI in the coming year.

Yes, as we start this new Rotary year serving humanity, we agree that the human family is one in unity in diversity, sharing a common heritage received from those who have come before, as well as a joint legacy to bequeath to those who will follow. Indeed, the peoples of the world are connected in ways that can no longer be denied or ignored.

As we endeavor to realize environmental projects through our membership globally, we find that the great masses of humanity which Rotary serves wherever the need is greatest also represent a vast reservoir of capacity for the advancement of civilization - not merely in the abstract but in countless cities, town, and villages where society unfolds and daily life is lived. Increasingly the local people themselves are the central agents of their lives and are the first and last responders to any crisis.

Natural or men-made disasters do much to drive the attention of the international community, ...but for local populations, such events, however destructive in their immediate effects, represent just one period in a vast sweep of collective life that stretches long into the past and will continue indefinitely into the future. An area’s ability to respond therefore has much to do with the capacities, attitudes, and qualities of community that characterized it long before the rivers rose or the cyclone made landfall! Especially then patterns of community life and qualities of culture are of particular importance. Communities that have been especially effective in responding have – prior to the disaster – been consciously working to create distinctive and beneficial patterns of collective life. Building consensus and unity of vision over time, they make intentional and purposeful choices about the kinds of interaction found in the community, about how people relate to one another in various spaces, and about the kinds of relationships found between community members, between different groups or sub-populations, and between institutions of governance.

Rotary's serving humanity can facilitate so much such positive, healthy developments! The development of capacities in a range of areas is needed. Some will pertain primarily to intellectual, technical, and scientific pursuits. Others will be more social in nature, focused on strengthening and refining patterns of interaction, association, and relationship among inhabitants. Still others will focus on the moral and normative aspects of collective life, drawing on the religious heritage of humankind to address foundational issues of meaning, higher motivation, and moral purpose. Sufficient due attention must be given to the development of all these capacities, if progress is to continue apace and pitfalls such as narrow materialism, social fragmentation, selfishness, and passivity are to be avoided.

Organizational skills such as the ability to maintain basic statistics, to plan based on resources, and to operate in a mode of learning – characterized by regular and ongoing reflection on efforts undertaken, results seen, and adjustments needed – similarly allow efforts to expand as needed in scale and scope. And experience collaborating with institutions of government – which arises naturally as community-building efforts exert growing influence in an area – can be invaluable in deploying external resources efficiently and effectively.

Yes, as mentioned, good activities in order to Preserve Planet Earth (PPE) are also reported from the unique area of District of Hong Kong, Macao, and Mongolia. They were present at our EFR booth with their poster presenting briefly their main projects for PPE.

Indeed, starting with the example of ourselves, Rotary has the potential to optimally serving humanity, and our Environment Fellowship of Rotarians is doing its very best towards improving all aspects of humankind's environment.

We are making our very best with the great opportunities Rotary offers us to change lives for the better! Besides inviting potential Rotarians to join us in Rotary, we enjoy doing good service work with our fellow Rotarians. We enjoy serving humankind’s environment through Rotary, locally and globally!

Rotary is indeed unique and has the best potential to be and remain among the world's most useful humanitarian organizations, best equipped to remain relevant in this role, especially also in all areas of the environment and sustainable development, including climate change, global warming, etc., so changing lives for the better.

Our Rotary Environment Fellowship of Rotarians, just like each of our Rotary Clubs, especially locally, serves humankind. Indeed, our environmental activities do reach all parts of the world, especially e.g. helping improving lives where the need is greatest. Besides through this our RI Fellowship, we serve especially also through our own Rotary Clubs, all part of the about 33.000 Rotary Clubs globally form Rotary International. All Rotary Clubs had created Rotary International for the main purpose to serve them as we endeavor to serve humanity locally and globally!!!

Our Environment Fellowship's members' Rotarian efforts to serve humanity has also contributed to the success of Rotary’s efforts to eradicate polio by helping improving the environment and so drastically reducing the danger that children be in conditions conducive to them being paralyzed by polio. The world being declared polio-free by the World Health Organization will take at least 3 more years and around 2 billion USD, money that the world's governments can contribute without effort, those governments that with impunity continually print billions without caring if the buying power of the currency shrinks.

The qualities and competence as exemplary world citizens of the well over one million quality Rotarians are Rotary's greatest strength! Among them are the members of our Environment Fellowship. Their competence and readiness in serving humankind where the need is greatest is RI's greatest asset! We're noticing an encouraging number of younger Rotarians in our fellowship's growing membership.

Also in our Environment Fellowship of Rotarians, our membership respects and lives practicing the Four-Way Test, our unity in diversity, our high ethical standards, and it promoted the creation of the 'Ethics Fellowship of Rotarians’ which has just been accepted by Rotary Internationall. If you’re interested to join it, kindly let PDG Sergio Levy know your rotarian details, emailing to: consulsergiolevy@gmail.com

Last but not at all least, we invite you to the website of Hon. Rotarian Dario Schwoerer, so you may enjoy: https://toptotop.org/2016/05/10/voyage-update/ Welcome to learning about this decade of passionate serving humankind, informing on global warming, and using only renewable energy! Global warming causes grave unforeseen consequences of which I share with you just the acute threat to seasonal integrity through the text attached below.

Our membership is gradually increasing in the large areas of the world where Rotary does not exist as yet and where the need for Rotary is most needed & important! We thus hope very much that Rotary International will soonest facilitate new Rotary Clubs and their growth there. There we can contribute to improve the environmental conditions and so, with willing hands and caring hearts, serve humanity.

Wishing us a great Rotary year, we're united in Rotarian service!

This is our Newsletter respectfully submitted to you for our EFR by

Marco Kappenberger
Founder & PP, Rotary E-Club of Latinoamerica, District 4195
PP, Rotary Club of Apia, Samoa/Polynesia, District 9920
President of the Environment Fellowship of Rotarians